If you’re anything like me than you might be a couple months late to any sort of BMW news. You’ve just noticed that BMW has come out with yet another “M” car. Maybe you didn’t even know about the 4-series. Either way, you want to know the difference between the M3 and the M4. We should briefly cover BMW’s naming system so you better understand why the 4 series even exists.
BMW’s Model Name System
Back in the day, BMW offered only 3 model series. They offered the 3 series, 5 series, and 7 series. Today in 2016 they offer the 1 series, 2 series, 3 series, 4 series, 5 series, 6 series, and 7 series. Why on earth are there so many models now? BMW changed how they name cars. Now the number identifies wether the car is a coupe or sedan. So the 5 series is a sedan, whilst the 6 series is a coupe. But the 5 series and 6 series are completely identical other than that. Unfortunately the 3 series and 4 series are the same.
The funny thing is that M3 started out a just a coupe, and then was eventually offered in a sedan form. Now the M3 is strictly a sedan, and BMW has turned it from the ultimate sports car to the ultimate family sedan. I know it sounds stupid but it’s hard to ever look at an M3 the same ever again.
They’re Nearly Identical
So, now to the part you were actually looking for: the M3 and the M4 are mechanically identical. They both come with a 3.0L turbocharged inline-6 that produces 425 horsepower. They both come with nearly identical interiors, nearly identical chassis’ and the same optional features. Interestingly enough, the M3 is actually $3,000 cheaper than the M4 for the base model. The only difference is that the M3 is a sedan, and the M4 is a coupe. Other than that, they are nearly identical in every single way.
This is both a good and bad thing. Its great because this new M3/M4 chassis is one of the best to ever come out. It’s light weight, powerful, and handles like a dream. Many journalists say that it’s without a doubt better than any M3 before it.
The bad thing is that BMW has essentially created an entire series of cars that is completely unnecessary. Seriously, why did they create the 4 series? What was wrong with a 3 series being a coupe, sedan, or a convertible? I think that the 4-series is a result of BMW getting lazy in the marketing department, but maybe there is more to it than that.
So here’s the bottom line. The F80/F82 chassis are nearly identical. Think of it like the E90/E92 chassis. The E90/E92 was basically completely identical, and that was expected since they were both a 3-series. BMW decided the call the 3-series coupe a 4 series for no reason. When it comes to cost, mechanics, interior, features, safety, and performance the M3 and the M4 are 99.9% the same.
Which One is Better for You?
I personally would rather have a coupe, but that’s because I’m 21 years old and don’t have any kids. But, if you do happen to have a family the M3 would rather obviously be a better choice. Either way you go it’ll be an excellent grocery getter, and an even better track toy.