In the era of turbocharging and direct fuel injection, performance has become democratized, and the line has been blurred between cars that are fast, and those that are actually capable. What was once considered fast is now merely acceptable, but in the world of BMW, it was never all about speed to begin with. This is the realm in which cars like the first M3 proved themselves as exceptionally engaging vehicles that shine when driven at their limit, as opposed to winning the white paper-based bench race and cooking their brakes in the real world.
In the world of BMW, the change from F82 M4 to G82 M4 hasn’t been nearly as momentous as the transition from E30 to E36, or E46 to E90. Like the E36 and E46 M3 generations, however, the F82 and G82 mark the first time in twenty years that BMW’s mainstay M car has retained its underlying engine configuration. Putting the visuals aside for a moment, the mechanical advancement has been more evolutionary than revolutionary, with the twin-turbocharged S55 engine giving way to the twin-turbocharged S58, which comes with the advantage of using a more robust modular design.
The question of just how capable the new M3 and M4 are in comparison with the F80 and F82 they are replacing remains though. On paper, setting aside the addition of M xDrive to the formula—which could prove to be a game changer on its own—there isn’t much that sticks out between the generations of M4. Yes, the new cars are more powerful, torquey, and weigh more, but how do the two actually stack up when scrutinized side-by-side?
In a recent video by Road & Track, Senior Editor Kyle Kinard takes a look at both generations of the M4 parked next to each other with BMW Product and Technology Spokesman Jay Hanson answering the questions and providing context. You’ll have to watch the video in its entirety to catch all of the details, but beyond being even more capable in a track environment with greater all-around performance, the new M4 has also become more refined, both in its application and behavior, and in the everyday driving experience. Visuals and the exterior design play a role here as well, and if one had to choose a single word to describe the new G82, whether discussing its performance or its presence, visceral seems like the most apt descriptor.—Alex Tock
[Photo courtesy BMW AG. Video courtesy Road & Track.]