Only weeks after launching the new BMW M3 Competition Saloon and BMW M4 Competition Coupé in the UK, BMW M GmbH is set to add another two variants to the model line-up by offering the M xDrive all-wheel drive system for the high-performance sports cars in the premium midsize segment for the first time.
With more driven wheels, the new BMW M3 Competition Saloon M xDrive and BMW M4 Competition Coupé M xDrive take the exclusive M feeling to an even higher level. The improvements in traction, handling stability and agility enable both models to reach 62mph from standstill in only 3.5 seconds, making them 0.4 seconds quicker on the sprint than their rear-wheel drive counterparts.
The power from the 510hp straight-six engine fitted in the new models is directed via an eight-speed M Steptronic transmission with Drivelogic. The M-specific all-wheel drive system then divides it between the front and rear wheels as required to enhance agility, directional stability, traction and track-focused dynamics. The all-wheel drive system has a rear-biased setup in classic M style. This system allows the driver to experience even more of the hallmark M performance characteristics reflected, among other things, in even quicker acceleration.
By introducing the M xDrive versions to the range, BMW M GmbH now offers an unrivalled variety of high-performance midsize models. All four versions of the latest model generation provide their own individual recipe for an exhilarating high-performance sports car that offers unrestricted everyday usability.
The production of the BMW M3 Competition Saloon M xDrive and BMW M4 Competition Coupé M xDrive will get underway in July 2021.
Customers will enjoy even more choice later in the year when these new models will be joined by the latest version of the BMW M4 Convertible.
M xDrive and Active M Differential for superior handling dynamics
The M xDrive system’s specially tuned power transmission control already provides an entertaining alternative to rear-wheel drive for a host of high-performance models from BMW M GmbH. Teaming up with the all-wheel drive system is the Active M Differential that also ensures fully variable distribution of drive torque between the rear wheels as the situation demands. This helps to transfer the torque to the road without any loss of power, especially when the car is being pushed hard or has less grip on one side. The M xDrive system and the Active M Differential – complete with its integrated M-specific traction control – link up with the Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) system to ensure precisely judged interaction for the driving situation at hand. The clear aim is to produce a supremely dynamic driving experience that blends the customary M feeling with noticeably enhanced traction and directional stability.
The M xDrive system uses an electronically controlled multi-plate clutch in the transfer case for smoothly adjustable, fully variable distribution of drive torque between the front and rear wheels. The multi-plate clutch’s oil supply has been optimised to keep the variable power splitting mechanism performing effectively even under hard driving on the track. The task of transmitting power to the front and rear differentials is handled by driveshafts engineered specifically for the BMW M3 Competition Saloon with M xDrive and BMW M4 Competition Coupé with M xDrive.
The output shafts that relay the drive torque to the wheels are likewise bespoke items. The all-wheel drive system has a rear-biased set-up in classic M style. Normally, the drive power is channelled entirely to the rear wheels, with the front wheels only being brought into play when the rears cannot feed any more power to the road.
The transfer case features a bespoke control unit and integrated wheel slip limitation. This enables it to compensate for any differences in rotational speed between the front and rear wheels exceptionally quickly without having to involve the central DSC management. This results in enhanced all-wheel drive performance and supreme handling for which M models are renowned in dynamic driving situations, such as powering through corners in a controlled drift.
Both models put their power down via standard M light-alloy wheels measuring 19 inches in diameter at the front and 20 inches at the rear. The forged wheels in twin-spoke design with a Bicolour Jet Black finish are fitted with 275/35 R19 tyres at the front and 285/30 R20s at the rear. Specially designed track tyres with the same dimensions are also available as an option.
Major technical modifications optimise performance characteristics
The all-wheel-drive technology in the new BMW M3 Competition Saloon M xDrive and BMW M4 Competition Coupé M xDrive is complemented by a double-joint spring strut front axle redesigned for these models and it features specially adapted front axle geometry and an individually tuned steering ratio. These extensive bespoke modifications for the all-wheel drive system ensure that both the existing pure rear-wheel drive variants and their new M xDrive counterparts stand out with their engineered-without-compromise, signature M steering characteristics. The all-wheel drive models additionally benefit from a specially adapted version of the engine oil supply system designed to handle extremely dynamic performance.
Three M xDrive modes enable an individualised M feeling
M xDrive also allows the driver to tailor the all-wheel-drive system’s characteristics and performance to the driving situation and their individual preferences. The desired setting can be selected directly from the Setup menu of the M-specific operating system, where there is a choice of three different power transmission modes. In the default 4WD setting, the all-wheel drive system offers maximum traction and precision handling while always maintaining a distinctly rear-biased power split. Activating 4WD Sport mode directs an even greater proportion of the engine’s torque to the rear wheels. The linear build-up of lateral forces so characteristic of M models now also makes it possible to execute controlled drifts. Drivers can also switch off the DSC system altogether and engage 2WD mode, where drive power is relayed solely to the rear wheels.
With the standard-fit M Traction Control on UK models, traction can be finely adjusted through ten stages in this setting in the same way as on the rear-wheel drive models. This form of power transmission without any intervention from the chassis control systems to stabilise the vehicle allows seasoned drivers to enjoy a pure driving experience and hone their skills with the help of the M Drift Analyser.
Drivers can set and store their preferred M xDrive mode as part of the two individual M1 and M2 configurations, together with the settings for engine characteristics, damper response, steering characteristics, braking system and other parameters. Either configuration can then be called up instantly at any time by pressing one of the two M buttons on the steering wheel.