Hot on the heels of the arrival of a new M3, BMW has announced the four-door M3 Sedan. While four generations of M3 have been built, this is only the second time an M3 Sedan has been offered. Thirteen years after the launch of the original E36 M3 Sedan, the new car offers the same levels of scintillating performance as the latest E92 Coupe. With the added practicality of the four-door bodyshell, the new M3 Sedan will appeal to an even broader audience.
Like the Coupe, the V8 engine in the new M3 Sedan develops 420hp at 8300rpm and 295 lb-ft of torque at 3900rpm. The 3999cc V8 redlines at 8400rpm but to highlight its real-world driving flexibility, 85% of its torque is available over an engine range of 6500rpm.
Power is transferred to the road by BMW M's six-speed manual gearbox and variable M differential. This conveys up to 100% of available power to the wheel with most grip.
The M3 Sedan completes the sprint from zero to 62mph in 4.9sec, only 0.1sec slower than the Coupe, before going onto a limited top speed of 155mph. BMW's EfficientDynamics programme, however, ensures that these supercar levels of performance do not compromise economy, with the car delivering 22.8mpg on the combined cycle.
In common with all new BMW models launched in 2007, the new M3 Sedan features lightweight technology. Although it doesn't have the carbon-fiber roof panel from the Coupe, it does use other lightweight materials, such as a light-alloy engine block manufactured alongside F1 engines in BMW's foundry at Landshut, Germany, the new V8 powerplant weighs a mere 445 lb. To put this achievement into context, this is 33 lb less than the six-cylinder engine in the E46 M3.
To further highlight the weight advantages, the crankshaft in the new engine is made from one complete forging and weighs only 44 lb. Additionally, the front axle components are built entirely from aluminium. Even the five-link rear axle, normally constructed from high-strength steel, has aluminium components to save weight. Like the M3 Coupe, the Sedan variant features an M Drive Manager that brings together numerous personalized functions of the car. The optional Electronic Damper Control (Normal, Comfort and Sport), three DSC+ traction control settings and three specific engine control maps, plus the response rate of the Servotronic power steering can be controlled with one button on the steering wheel. Once the desired settings are created in the iDrive menu, part of the standard Professional navigation system, one push of the MDrive button transforms the M3 from a car suitable to collect the kids from school, into supercar-beater.
BMW M's philosophy of redesigning the 'standard' car from the ground up is showcased in the new M3 Sedan. Although visually similar to the 3-Series Sedan, almost all the bodyshell parts are different, with the emphasis on the sporting dynamics of the car. So much so that the M3 Sedan features the same, sleek front end design of the Coupe. This includes the lowered, sportier headlamp design and striking power dome in the bonnet. Primarily, the design of the front of the car is created by the need for significant volumes of air for the induction system. As a result, the M3 does without front fog lamps, while three large air ducts in the front lower valance keep the engine breathing.
Like the Coupe, the new M3 Sedan features 18" Dark Graphite double-spoke light-alloy wheels as standard, with a forged and polished 19" wheel available as an option.
Another BMW M trait, the side gill in the front wing, has been elongated for the Sedan, mirroring the design of the M5. Also carried-over from the two-door are the aerodynamically door mirrors.
From the rear, an aerodynamic diffuser emphasizes BMW M's trademark four exhaust pipes protruding beneath the valance. The trunklid also features a discreet lip spoiler.
Details about the launch date and pricing of the M3 Sedan will be announced in the future.