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Old 16th December 2014, 17:15   #1
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Default Driven: BMW M3, M4 and M6 @ Buddh!

BMW has launched the M3 & M4 at a price of Rs. 1.19 & Rs. 1.21 crore respectively.

M3
Driven: BMW M3, M4 and M6 @ Buddh!-dsc_8581.jpg

What you will like
  • Great Low end torque
  • Brilliant balance
  • Stunning performance
  • Practical package
  • Looks more dramatic than its lower powered siblings
What you will not like
  • M Seats rob rear seats of some room
  • Lacks the tactility of older muscle cars
  • Does not sound as dramatic from the outside
M4
Driven: BMW M3, M4 and M6 @ Buddh!-dsc_8622.jpg

What you will like

As for the M3 PLUS
  • Lower centre of gravity means later turn-ins on the limit
  • Attractive styling
What you will not like

As for M3 PLUS
  • Dark interiors
  • Back seats good for short distances only
  • Steering feedback not as tactile as the M3
  • Styling not as dramatic, compared to its lower powered siblings
M6
Driven: BMW M3, M4 and M6 @ Buddh!-dsc_8600.jpg

What you will like
  • Awesome engine note
  • Stunning straight line acceleration
  • Extremely attractive exterior
What you won't like
  • Understeers at the limit on track
  • Underwhelming interiors
  • Bit too compromised to be an ultimate sports car
Note - the event was more focused on the M3 and M4, so not much will be described about the M6 until the driving experience.

As a prequel to BMW’s launch of the M3 and M4, Team-BHP was invited to drive the cars at the Buddh International Circuit.

Traditionally the M3 has been released in its 3 door coupe avatar. With the F30, BMW has changed convention and created the 4 Series line as the successor to the 3 Series Coupe. Hence confusingly, the traditional successor to the M3 is now the M4. The M3 lives on as a four door saloon. This was always offered as an option, but was very rare as most offerings were in the coupe form.

As you know, BMW's M Sport is an internal homegrown division spawned in the early 1970s. It brought us the M1 which was built by Lamborghini, then the discreet E28 M5 which was very unassuming. The first, dare I say, “mainstream” M car was the E30 M3, which was a 2.5L 4-cylinder monster.

In an aside to AMG, BMW's director of marketing, Frank Schlöder was at pains to state that the BMW's M Division represents their own DNA and not an acquired one. It is not a mere case of putting big engines in a normal production car (personally, I think AMG has moved on a lot since then!). Although the M cars bear the visage of a normal BMW, they have been totally engineered to be at ease both on track and on normal roads.

The BMW M3 has evolved since it first appeared in 1985. In its initial guise, it came with a 2.3L 4 cylinder engine with 200 BHP. It progressed till the E92 version which came with a 4L V8 churning out 430 BHP. 85% of the torque was developed at around 6500 rpm. It came with a carbon fibre reinforced polymer (CFRP) roof and aluminium panels - a first for a production BMW.

Enter the new M3/M4 - this time around, the power increase is barely 30 BHP, so what makes it more special than the previous version?

1: The new six cylinder engine makes 425 BHP @ 5500-7300 rpm - High revving and twin turbochargers make the engine perform like the previous V8 with a 40% increase in torque - 550 Nm from 1850 rpm onwards. The bottom line is that fuel consumption has reduced by 25% - A car made for India !
Driven: BMW M3, M4 and M6 @ Buddh!-dsc_8618.jpg

2: It has shed around 50 kgs. The M3 saloon gets a CFRP roof for the first time on a saloon. The M4 also gets a CFRP boot-lid.
Driven: BMW M3, M4 and M6 @ Buddh!-dsc_8637.jpg

The propshaft is made of CFRP. The bonnet and wings are made of aluminium. Various chassis components are made of aluminium.
Driven: BMW M3, M4 and M6 @ Buddh!-dsc_8682.jpg

Note the strut CFRP strut brace in the engine compartment. Its weighs barely 2 kgs.

3: More sophisticated cooling. One can theoretically track it to eternity. A lot of work has gone in aerodynamics and cooling systems. There are two cooling systems. In addition to the traditional radiator, there are additional side radiators to cater to track demands. The turbocharger is water cooled by an electric motor. Additional aerodynamic aids assist in this.
Driven: BMW M3, M4 and M6 @ Buddh!-dsc_8760.jpg

4: Revised M-DCT box including a stability clutch control which acts when the car is understeering. An active M differential takes account of the accelerator pedal, rotational speed of the wheels and the yaw angles to optimize traction.

In other words, they have nearly fool-proofed the car.

As in every M car, you can tailor your settings:
Driven: BMW M3, M4 and M6 @ Buddh!-dsc_8643.jpg

Note how the driving dynamic settings for the steering, suspension and engine are discreetly grouped together. There are a couple of M buttons on the steering to store your two favourite settings.

Last edited by GTO : 16th December 2014 at 17:32.
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Old 16th December 2014, 17:16   #2
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The F80 BMW M3

Driven: BMW M3, M4 and M6 @ Buddh!-dsc_8656.jpg

Haunches – rear track is extended unlike the M4, and similar to its normal sibling. Hence it makes the car look more dramatic
Driven: BMW M3, M4 and M6 @ Buddh!-dsc_8659.jpg

Rear air diffuser
Driven: BMW M3, M4 and M6 @ Buddh!-dsc_8666.jpg

Subtle boot spoiler
Driven: BMW M3, M4 and M6 @ Buddh!-dsc_8706.jpg

Of course, the badge!
Driven: BMW M3, M4 and M6 @ Buddh!-dsc_8667.jpg

Carbon-fiber roof
Driven: BMW M3, M4 and M6 @ Buddh!-dsc_8684.jpg

Cockpit. Lucky Americans get a 6-speed manual gearbox
Driven: BMW M3, M4 and M6 @ Buddh!-dsc_8738.jpg

Seats in off-white leather. Though they might turn brown with the inexperienced
Driven: BMW M3, M4 and M6 @ Buddh!-dsc_8713.jpg

Michelin Pilot shod Wheels - 255/40 R18 on the front and 275/40 R18 on the rear. Those sidewalls must be made of concrete, judging by the grip. Carbon-ceramic discs are an option, but worth it if you actually race/track every weekend.
Driven: BMW M3, M4 and M6 @ Buddh!-dsc_8698.jpg

Last edited by ajmat : 18th December 2014 at 14:31.
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Old 16th December 2014, 17:16   #3
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M4

Menacing headlamps
Driven: BMW M3, M4 and M6 @ Buddh!-dsc_8623.jpg

Coal black interior
Driven: BMW M3, M4 and M6 @ Buddh!-dsc_8634.jpg

Frame-less door panel
Driven: BMW M3, M4 and M6 @ Buddh!-dsc_8732.jpg

Side cooling fins
Driven: BMW M3, M4 and M6 @ Buddh!-dsc_8649.jpg

Scalloped roof & boot
Driven: BMW M3, M4 and M6 @ Buddh!-dsc_8765.jpg

To get into the rear, one uses this flap to move the driver's seat-back forward. Then comes the agonizing wait for the electric motor to move the entire seat forward. A mechanical system is much faster
Driven: BMW M3, M4 and M6 @ Buddh!-dsc_8730.jpg

Space in the rear - all of my 6 ft frame found it tricky getting in there. It's snug once seated. My head was touching the roof
Driven: BMW M3, M4 and M6 @ Buddh!-dsc_8731.jpg

Last edited by GTO : 16th December 2014 at 17:31.
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Old 16th December 2014, 17:16   #4
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Now for the track experience!

Here's a track diagram for your reference
Driven: BMW M3, M4 and M6 @ Buddh!-circuitoverviewl.jpg

We had Instructor Wong from BMW Malaysia to supervise our session
Driven: BMW M3, M4 and M6 @ Buddh!-img_8769.jpeg

Wong gave us a briefing on driving technique, setting your driving position etc, and told us that he will drive as fast as he can! There were rules on no overtaking. Basically, we would run in formation and the lead car needed to keep up with him....the rest keep up with each other.

We would get to do 2-3 laps in each car, then driver / car swaps. We had the choice of an M5 or M6, but driving the M3/M4 was mandatory.

So we headed down to the pits where the cars awaited us
Driven: BMW M3, M4 and M6 @ Buddh!-img_0036.jpeg

Note, except for the matt black M5 and M6 GC, all the other cars were brand new with less than 300 kms on the clock - what a way to run them in! Since I had arrived earlier, I had observed the drill, knew where the helmets were and quickly grabbed mine. So it was the choice to be made. Decisions, decisions!!!

Should I go for this first?
Driven: BMW M3, M4 and M6 @ Buddh!-dsc_8593.jpg

Naaaah, we've been there and done that, although not on the track
Driven: BMW M3, M4 and M6 @ Buddh!-img_6096.jpeg

Looks like people are making a beeline for it like there's no tomorrow
Driven: BMW M3, M4 and M6 @ Buddh!-dsc_8597.jpg

They are running after this. I had been speaking to fellow hacks who had a drive and they advised me on what to expect. Being new to the BIC, I decided to leave the best till later, with a view of going all out. So, I chose the M6 GC (considering the M5 has already been reviewed and I am a sucker for the M6 GC’s look) to orient myself.
Driven: BMW M3, M4 and M6 @ Buddh!-img_1279.jpeg

Climbed in and it was pretty beige BMW all around. Except for a few extra buttons, it looked like a standard BMW interior. Strapped in and checked my driving posture. Selected the extreme 'sport plus' setting (except for 'ASR off'). I left the gearshift speed as normal. Pressed the start button and heard that wonderful burble (although it is partially piped in via the speakers).

We were connected to Wong by walkie talkies. He leads us in the matt black M5
Driven: BMW M3, M4 and M6 @ Buddh!-img_0891.jpeg

We gently eased out of the pits and were taken around the turns slowly.
Driven: BMW M3, M4 and M6 @ Buddh!-img_6231.jpeg

Driven: BMW M3, M4 and M6 @ Buddh!-img_6237.jpeg

The M6 responded well on T1 & T2 and was easy to drive.
Driven: BMW M3, M4 and M6 @ Buddh!-img_0760.jpeg

After Turn 3, Wong pressed the pedal to the metal.

“Experience the power of the M”

The M6 bellowed and took off. I was being conservative and kept my distance from the M5 in front since I did not know the brake capacity. This was the longest straight.
Driven: BMW M3, M4 and M6 @ Buddh!-img_0946.jpeg

Wong then hollered, “M6! Catch up"! Before I knew it, the M5 braked hard from 180 km/h and the stop lamps started flashing. I instinctively braked early, but there was still a yawning gap.
Driven: BMW M3, M4 and M6 @ Buddh!-img_1007.jpeg

At mild speeds, the M6's cornering was controllable, if not accurate. We then slowed down at the starting grid for the second lap.
Driven: BMW M3, M4 and M6 @ Buddh!-img_0910.jpeg

The M3 behind Wong’s M5 was instructed to pull to the right and go to the back of the queue. Therefore, each driver would get a chance to keep up with Wong. Cue, the second lap, and Wong pushed hard, then the M6's shortcomings cropped up. After T1, it just could not take the tight turns due to its bulk. Even milder turns like T6 challenged it at speed. I could feel the rear swinging violently on T8 and T9 while correcting steering inputs. The guys in the M4 behind me had mounted a GoPro on my tail to film themselves. I bet they must be dizzy watching!! Although the body control was there, the steering was not quick enough for its bulk.
Driven: BMW M3, M4 and M6 @ Buddh!-img_0903.jpeg

However, during the second run on the straights, I really floored it and glimpsed 220 km/h on the head-up display. On this straight section, the M6 was wonderful with a lovely burble (it sounds great from the outside too). The M6 kept shifting up to 7th gear and still had not run out of breath. The brakes were impressive to say the least. I could perform late braking manoeuvres, but all was lost when going into corners. I was understeering and it was a disaster when I tried late turn-ins. I nearly ended way off the kerb.

See the pic below, look at the roll and downforce on the front wheel during cornering. Compare that to an M3 in a similar corner.
Driven: BMW M3, M4 and M6 @ Buddh!-img_1110.jpeg

Driven: BMW M3, M4 and M6 @ Buddh!-img_1116.jpeg

On my final lap, I braked really hard on T14 and then took the corner slowly to avoid further self humiliation. That might have frustrated the M4 behind me.

After this lap, we pitted for a driver change. My co-driver retained the same settings, except for the gearbox in 'Drive' and increasing the gearshift speed. We accelerated, the gearbox shifted violently, the steering inputs were coarse & as the box was in D, the car kept deciding to change gear mid curves, hampering any smoothness. From the passenger seat, I felt the torque nearly wrenching my neck off.

After a couple of laps, it was time to change cars.

M6 Verdict – A great autobahn buster, but leave it at home when driving on the Stelvio pass. Quite possible that a 640D might ultimately be more satisfying. It is a nice car, but not for the track. Interiors are mundane, but have been addressed by latest upgrades, I am to understand.

Last edited by GTO : 16th December 2014 at 17:30.
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Old 16th December 2014, 17:17   #5
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The morning batch had a 530d as a rear sweeper car. It would be an interesting comparison to see the difference between the 530d and M5 in terms of suspension setup under heavy cornering.

530d - on the limit
Driven: BMW M3, M4 and M6 @ Buddh!-img_1669.jpeg

M5 on the same corner
Driven: BMW M3, M4 and M6 @ Buddh!-img_1646.jpeg

So now, it was the turn of the M4
Driven: BMW M3, M4 and M6 @ Buddh!-dsc_8748.jpg

It feels a lot smaller, but is like jumping into a coal pit. The environment is very driver focused. The seats are awesome and really envelope you, holding you in.

Since we were now 3 lap veterans, Wong went faster. The twin turbos provided some decent bottom end torque. One didn't need to rev the nuts off the engine as in the earlier peaky motors. The M4 took off like a bat out of hell. The exhaust note was bassy, but not thrummy. It didn't sound like an F1 washing machine, yet not a patch on the M5/M6 V8s in terms of noise...but engaging it was!
Driven: BMW M3, M4 and M6 @ Buddh!-img_0907.jpeg

The first corner approached, it was clear how accurate the steering was. This was going to be fun; we then came to the straight, I floored it and could feel the power going to the wheels…and not your neck. There was no excessive weight, it felt just right and inspired a lot of confidence.
Driven: BMW M3, M4 and M6 @ Buddh!-img_0955.jpeg

I braked hard. Alas, the first lap was a little slower since the M6 was in front of me. I kept slowing down and playing catch up. On the second lap, the M6 moved back and then I could speed up more. The low centre of gravity meant you could fling it into a corner and it would grip hard. It's actually very forgiving when you become more ambitious. This is also its undoing, since there is some thrill in hoping the car would bite back mid corner. It just was not there.
Driven: BMW M3, M4 and M6 @ Buddh!-img_0952.jpeg

The steering - though electric - gives some pretty good feel and is very precise. You know it is artificial when you waggle the wheel, tweak the settings and feel the weight changing.
Driven: BMW M3, M4 and M6 @ Buddh!-img_0975.jpeg

Going through the complex series of turns from T6-T9, it was a mere case of flick left-right-left. All one virtually needed to do, is to focus on the corner, the apex and let your muscles do the rest.
Driven: BMW M3, M4 and M6 @ Buddh!-img_6096.jpeg

The M4 is probably the best compromise in terms of Sports car cum track car. It lacks the raw feeling of say an AMG or the earlier Ms, yet one gets an extremely capable machine. Of course, one could switch the ASR off, I didn't have the guts!

When dragging on the straights, going up to 7th gear was futile. Change up to 5th and stay there, I lost time in downshifting. Oh, when one downshifts, there is a delightful bark on the overrun. I was downshifting just to listen to it

It was time for the driver swap, the box was in 'D'. This time around, the car was less vicious, smoothness was lost in the gears hunting mid-corner, but the seats and the M-diff helped keep the car on course.

Summary: A brilliant, cozy & capable coupe. The levels of grip are amazing and the boost in torque makes this extremely drivable...both on or off the track.

Last edited by GTO : 16th December 2014 at 17:29.
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Old 16th December 2014, 17:18   #6
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Time for a car change and drive the M3!
Driven: BMW M3, M4 and M6 @ Buddh!-img_1012.jpeg

Yes, the M3 might seem just a little duller than the M4 since it has a higher centre of gravity, 4 doors and a steel boot-lid. It has its own charm though. Did I tell you both have similar lengths & wheelbases?

The 'Yas Marina Blue' example is quite striking in my humble opinion. Climbed in and headroom was appreciable for 6 foot me. The off-white seats brightened up the cabin. I configured my settings and we were off. Was apprehensive as the fuel warning light came on with only 30 km left. Wong shrugged it off.

Yes, in ultimate situations, the M4’s lower centre of gravity makes it faster around corners. The M3’s steel boot-lid enables the 50/50 balance and it made a big difference. The steering responses were sharper and turn-in was a joy. I found what I wanted. I really could not find too much difference in terms of grip around corners, but the whole experience was fun.
Driven: BMW M3, M4 and M6 @ Buddh!-img_0895.jpeg

On the second lap, it was my turn to follow Wong. He put his foot down and I was on his tail. I was pushing hard, although I did mess up the odd corner by turning in too early. I was really in heaven with this car. Yes, it ain’t as zazzy as the M4, yet the muscular haunches and delightful steering made this mine.
Driven: BMW M3, M4 and M6 @ Buddh!-img_1571.jpeg

Driven: BMW M3, M4 and M6 @ Buddh!-img_1607.jpeg

From a passenger's perspective, I noticed that it didn't corner as flat. The second lap had to be slowed down as the M6 broke down on track

One interesting thing I did was activate the sports setting on the console screen
Driven: BMW M3, M4 and M6 @ Buddh!-dsc_8805.jpg

Concluding, these new Ms represent a higher level of capability, even if performance hasn't been significantly boosted. They have become more practical and a little less tactile than before. This does not belie the fact that the cars are brilliant and not too compromised for fun on or off the track.

Would you pay Rs 1.8 crore on the road for a "tarted up 3?" If I took the time to track the car regularly, yes I would! Remember, this is the most practical Supercar performance and dynamic ability that you can get this side of an Audi R8.

Last edited by GTO : 16th December 2014 at 17:27.
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Old 16th December 2014, 17:35   #7
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Default Re: Driven: BMW M3, M4 and M6 @ Buddh!

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Supercars & Imports Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 16th December 2014, 17:53   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajmat View Post
Time for a car change and drive the M3!
Attachment 1317619


Would you pay Rs 1.8 crore on the road for a "tarted up 3?" If I took the time to track the car regularly, yes I would! Remember, this is the most practical Supercar performance and dynamic ability that you can get this side of an Audi R8.
So now its 1.8 crore?

Wasn't the V8 m3 introduced here at just 90 lakhs ex-showroom?

Did something happen in this country that led to this 100 % price hike?
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Old 16th December 2014, 18:54   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nakul0888 View Post
So now its 1.8 crore?

Wasn't the V8 m3 introduced here at just 90 lakhs ex-showroom?

Did something happen in this country that led to this 100 % price hike?
Actually its around Rs 1.2 Cr, I stated 1.8Cr based on the Karnataka on road price plus accounting for the desirable options

Last edited by GTO : 17th December 2014 at 14:47. Reason: typo
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Old 16th December 2014, 19:54   #10
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Default Re: Driven: BMW M3, M4 and M6 @ Buddh!

Thats a nice report!

I know for the M3/M4 the active sound sound system is different from that of the M5s.In M3/M4 its merely amplified and not synthesized.Was it apparent in anyway though?

How was the ride in like in the comfort setting in the adaptive suspension? Like an ordinary F80 sedan? And the sport seats? Comfortable if used daily in city conditions?

Sorry if i sound like a noob,but i was just wondering how much does it cost to maintain something like this.For eg,do these come with the BMW service packages too? Can they be serviced at any BMW service centre?

Is there any plans of getting the manual version here?

The only problem i see here is the cost.Its extremely capable,no doubt about that and can give cars much more expensive a run for its money on a track.But the M3 was something guys with a 3 series could aspire to upgrade to.As it is,in our country we are paying almost M3 money for a 3 series and then pay almost thrice that amount for an M3.
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Old 16th December 2014, 21:50   #11
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Fantastic report, Thank you Ajmat.

What boggles my mind is the audacity of BMW and the likes to price the car so high. At this high price (more than 3x of what it costs in California), its less about the actual cost and customs and more because 'they can'.

The new M3 no matter what the press and the world has against it is an absolute sweet car and somehow I prefer that over the M4 on the roads (on a track it could be very different)
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Old 16th December 2014, 23:33   #12
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Nice Write up. I envy your writing style and your rendezvous with the german badge at the BIC. The BMW M5 earlier model was a complete looker( The M5 badge is enough to distinguish a 5 from it).
I wonder if there are any used M5s in the market. By if given a choice and a heavy wallet ofcourse is the M series better than the AMG?
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Old 16th December 2014, 23:53   #13
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Apart the price, I also find a few other faults with the new M3/M4. First of all I just don't get why is it so fussy. The wing mirrors have that arrow like end,front end again is too busy with such a fussy air dam. I also find the rear to be over done and despite being such a huge beemer fanatic, I am feeling a bit cold about this one. Gone is the V8,clean styling and real engine noise, speaking of which,
how did you find the exhaust enhancement thing in the //M cars?
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Old 17th December 2014, 09:52   #14
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Thanks Ajmat for putting across an articulated review The previous generation M3 with it's V8 seemed like a muscle car. Had awesome natural exhaust note as well. It is a pity that manufacturers these days have to resort to Fake cabin sounds and souped up smaller engines.
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Old 17th December 2014, 10:45   #15
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Fantastic report! And the M6 broke down? Doesn't inspire too much confidence especially at the said manufacturer's driving event!
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