UK pricing and specifications for the new all-wheel-drive BMW M3 and M4 xDrive, which will join the range later this year alongside the new Cabriolet, have now been revealed. Priced at a £2200 premium compared to the rear-drive Competition, the new M3 Competition xDrive will hit the road with a £77,015 sticker price, with the M4 taking that up to £78,315. For those waiting patiently for the M3 Touring, best get comfortable as we still have a little longer to wait when it arrives later next year.
The xDrive variants both share identical powertrains to the rear-drive Competition models, pairing a 503bhp version of the M division’s new S58 turbocharged in-line six-cylinder engine with an eight-speed ZF-sourced automatic transmission. From here, though, things start looking a little different as the power is then split using a bespoke version of BMW’s all-wheel-drive system.
Drive is predominantly sent to the rear wheels in normal driving, with the front wheels only receiving power when the rears begin to slip via an electronically controlled clutch within the transfer case. This process is then handled by an individual control unit, bypassing the main ECU system to ensure the process is both as fast and seamless as possible. As in the M5, there is also a 4WD Sport mode which alters the algorithms to allow more rear-wheel slip before power is fed to the front wheels, and a 2WD mode that physically disconnects the front driveshafts entirely.
Unlike the M5 Competition, when rear-wheel-drive mode is selected in the M3 and M4, BMW’s trick variable traction control and stability programs will still be functional, sharing their calibration with the rear-wheel-drive models.
To account for the new front driveshafts, BMW has also fitted new suspension struts up front with bespoke geometry, and a revised steering ratio. Power between the axles is completely variable front to rear, and works in conjunction with BMW’s electronically controlled limited-slip rear differential which will both lock and torque vector power between the rear wheels as needed.
While this new generation of M3 and M4 is no stranger to controversy, it was BMW’s announcement upon the model’s reveal that it will also offer all-wheel drive that was perhaps the biggest shockwave of all. But with the plan to also make the new M3 and M4 more capable than before, rather than just more exciting, it will be interesting to see how many buyers make the move to all-wheel drive.