BMW M3 vs M4: Performance and Features Showdown

Author: Patrick Oziegbe
Updated On:

Choosing between the BMW M3 and M4 can be a tricky decision, as both models offer top-notch performance and luxury.

In essence, the primary difference between these two German powerhouses lies in their body style; the M3 is a sedan, while the M4 is a coupe.

Consequently, this distinction brings forth a handful of subtle variations to consider in terms of driving experience, size, handling, and so on.

As you delve into the options, it’s essential to evaluate your personal preferences and needs. Are you a fan of sporty coupes or spacious sedans?

Regardless of your decision, rest assured that BMW delivers the ultimate driving experience with both the M3 and M4 models.

Now, let’s take a closer look at how these performance cars stack up against each other. Also, read this related guide about BMW M4 vs M5 differences in performances!

BMW M4 vs M3

BMW M3 vs M4 Overview

History of BMW M Models

In the world of high-performance cars, the BMW M Series has always been a standout choice.

Known for their attention to detail, exceptional driving dynamics, and impressive performance statistics, the BMW M3 and M4 models share a heritage of excellence.

The M3, a sedan, and M4, a coupe, have evolved from the same basic platform to offer drivers a unique experience tailored to their preferences.

As you delve into the rich history of BMW M models, you’ll discover how these cars became synonymous with high-performance motoring.

The M Division

The BMW M division was first established in the 1970s to improve BMW’s racing efforts.

With time, BMW M models like the M1, M3, and M5 became hallmarks of performance and luxury for street use, ushering in an era of performance-focused sports sedans and coupes.

As the series evolved, both the M3 and M4 have worked to uphold the tradition of combining practicality with top-notch performance. Grab some fresh insights BMW M5 vs M5 Competition sedans showdown!

Popularity and Market Position

As a BMW enthusiast, you probably know how popular and well-regarded the BMW M3 and M4 are in today’s market.

These vehicles have carved out a special niche among performance driving enthusiasts, offering a mix of agility, power, and luxury that makes them hard to ignore.

The M3 and M4 are both seen as top contenders in their respective segments, consistently receiving praise for their performance characteristics, such as their acceleration, handling, and braking capabilities.

This, coupled with a detailed eye for design, has helped maintain their strong market position.

Design and body type

In comparing the M3 to the M4, it becomes apparent that their differences mainly lie in design and body type. The M3 is a sedan, while the M4 is a coupe, offering varying levels of practicality.

Yet, they both share a high-performance focus, ensuring that regardless of the model you choose, you’ll enjoy a driving experience that’s true to the BMW M legacy.

Although there are other strong competitors in the market, the BMW M3 and M4 continue to hold their ground, attracting a dedicated following of enthusiasts who appreciate the symbiotic relationship between performance and luxury that these vehicles provide.

So, as you explore the fascinating world of BMW M models, keep in mind the legacy, performance, and dedication to design that these vehicles represent.

Whether you prefer the practicality of the M3 or the sleek lines of the M4, you’ll find that the BMW M brand truly lives up to its high-performance reputation.

Design and Dimensions

Exterior Style

Upon first glance, you’ll notice that the BMW M3 and M4 share similar styling elements with a distinct, aggressive front end.

The notable difference lies in their silhouettes, where the M3 is a sporty sedan while the M4 is a sleek coupe.

Interior Comfort and Space

Step inside, and you will appreciate the luxurious and high-quality interiors of both models.

However, the M3 offers slightly more shoulder room and headroom, which may be crucial if you plan to wear a helmet during track events.

On the other hand, the rear seat in the M4 tends to be slightly more cramped, with less legroom than in the M3.

Size and Weight Comparison

Size-wise, both the M3 and M4 feature similar dimensions, but the M3 is slightly longer due to its sedan design.

The M4 is a bit shorter in height, which contributes to its sleeker profile. In terms of their weight, they are almost identical, allowing both to deliver the same performance, with 0-60 times of 4.1 seconds for manual models and 3.8 seconds for Competition versions.

Power and Performance

Engine Specifications

Under the hood, both the BMW M3 and M4 are powered by a turbocharged 3.0-liter straight-six engine. This mighty unit delivers 503 horsepower and up to 406 lb-ft of torque.

This means you’ll enjoy remarkable acceleration and thrilling performance when driving either of these high-performance vehicles.

Transmission Options

When it comes to shifting gears, you’re free to pick your preference. The M3 and M4 offer a 6-speed manual transmission as standard, or an optional eight-speed automatic transmission if you want quicker, smoother gear changes.

Handling and Suspension

BMW has given the M3 and M4 outstanding handling capabilities. The advanced steering and suspension systems ensure your driving experience is both agile and responsive.

With precise cornering and excellent traction, these cars provide the stability and control you need when pushing their limits on the road or track.

Competition Comparison

M3 vs M4 Competition Models

When comparing the BMW M3 and M4 Competition models, you’ll notice a few key differences.

Both vehicles share the same twin-turbocharged, 3.0-liter inline six engine, producing a whopping 503 horsepower.

They also come with an eight-speed automatic transmission, allowing for quicker acceleration.

In the competition trim, you’ll find that both models shave off 0.3 seconds from their 0-60mph time, bringing them below the four-second mark.

The M3 Competition starts at $69,900 and the M4 Competition at $71,800, making for a relatively small price difference.

In conclusion, the primary differences between the M3 and M4 Competition models lie in their body design and pricing, with performance specs remaining largely similar between them.

All-Wheel Drive vs Rear-Wheel Drive

Benefits of xDrive

BMW’s xDrive in the M3 Competition and M4 Competition delivers impressive acceleration and traction.

By sending power to all four wheels, you get better grip in various road conditions, and it can even help you hit 0-60 mph in just 2.8 seconds!

Advantages of Rear-Wheel Drive

In contrast, traditional RWD setup offers a more engaging driving experience. With RWD, weight distribution is more balanced, and it can encourage smoother cornering.

Note that RWD M3 and M4 models launch in second gear during launch control to reduce excessive wheel spin.

Technology and Convenience

Infotainment Features

Both the BMW M3 and M4 come with the latest iDrive infotainment system, featuring a high-resolution display. You’ll enjoy features like built-in navigation, satellite radio, and smartphone integration.

Safety and Driving Assistance

Your BMW M3 or M4 is equipped with cutting-edge safety technology, such as automatic emergency braking and curtain airbags.

Adaptive cruise control keeps you at a safe distance from other vehicles on highways.

Comfort and Convenience

Experience luxury with a heated steering wheel, remote engine start, and a moonroof in your BMW M3 or M4. Power windows and other creature comforts make your drive seamless and enjoyable.

Fuel Efficiency and Economy

Fuel Type

Both the BMW M3 and M4 run on Premium Gasoline fuel.


When it comes to fuel economy, the 2021 BMW M4 Coupe with a manual transmission yields an EPA estimated MPG of TBD mpg.

The BMW M3 shares a relatively similar fuel consumption pattern due to its comparable specifications. Keep in mind that the actual MPG may vary depending on factors like driving habits and road conditions.

Your driving style and routine will play a significant role in determining your fuel efficiency.

Comparison to Competitors

Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio

When comparing the M3 and M4 to their competitors, one strong contender is the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio.

While both BMW models offer impressive performance, the Giulia Quadrifoglio stands out in this segment.

Its 503-hp engine competes with the XDrive version of both the M3 and M4, which also feature an all-wheel-drive system.

As a performance car enthusiast, you may appreciate Alfa Romeo Giulia driving dynamics and agile handling offered by the Italian automaker.

However, remember that the final decision depends on your personal preferences and priorities.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which one has better handling: M3 or M4?

Both the M3 and M4 offer excellent handling, but the M4 is generally considered to have a slightly better balance due to its lower center of gravity.

However, you may prefer the M3’s handling if you’re looking for a more comfortable daily driver.

What are the differences in performance between M3 and M4?

In terms of performance, the M3 and M4 are quite similar. They both feature a 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine with 473 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque.

The M4 might be a bit quicker in acceleration due to its sleeker body and lower weight.

How do the interiors of the M3 and M4 compare?

The interiors of the M3 and M4 are quite similar, with both models offering luxurious materials and a range of high-tech features.

Some differences include the M3 offering more rear legroom and a larger trunk, while the M4 features a more aggressive, sporty design on the inside.

Are there significant differences in fuel consumption?

Both the M3 and M4 offer similar fuel consumption figures. Exact numbers may vary depending on additional options and driving conditions, but generally, you can expect similar efficiency from both models.

What are the main features of the M3 and M4 competition packages?

The competition packages for the M3 and M4 add a variety of performance upgrades, such as lighter alloy wheels, a sport exhaust, and adjusted suspension settings.

These packages also include aesthetic enhancements like unique badging and interiors with more supportive sport seats.

How do the M3 and M4 resale values compare?

Resale values for the M3 and M4 tend to be quite similar, as both models are known for their excellent performance, luxury, and desirability. However, factors such as options, color, and overall condition will impact resale values on an individual basis.



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