• BMW's new M3 and M4 will arrive locally in 2021.
• The sports saloons will go up against several reckoned rivals in South Africa.
• The new M3/4 will offer 375kW and 650Nm.
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South African petrol heads are looking forward to the arrival of two particular vehicles in 2021, BMW's new M3 and M4. The M3 has always been a yardstick when measuring performance cars as it blended everyday comfort with brutal performance. Even when BMW brought in the M4 to differentiate the convertible and coupé variants from the M3 sedan, it took nothing away from the sports saloon's brilliance.
When it comes to market in 2021, the M3 and M4 will have to stave off challenges from three of BMW's biggest rivals. The car does seem to have things under control, though, seeing that its 3.0-litre six-cylinder petrol has been tuned to deliver 375kW and 650Nm - the same as the BMW X3 M Competition. For the M3/4, though, a choice of two gearboxes will be on offer, with the manual transmission said to be coupled to a detuned version of this S58 engine. BMW South Africa will only offer the more powerful engine mated to an automatic gearbox.
Purists will perhaps not rejoice at the next bit of news, but the M3 and M4 will be fitted with BMW's all-wheel-drive setup, called xDrive. BMW rates both the M3 Competition and M4 Competition's 0-100km/h times at 3.9 seconds. The 'standard' M3 and M4, which we won't be getting, will clear that run in 4.2sec.
The M3/4's biggest and most common rival has to be the Mercedes-AMG C63 S. Powered by a bi-turbo 4.0-litre V8 engine, 375kW and 700Nm are sent to the rear wheels, but the car will clear 0-100km/h in 3.9 seconds, with a top speed rated at 290km/h. Also available in sedan, coupé and cabriolet variants, the car is priced from R1.8-million.
The next car is Alfa Romeo's Giulia Quadrifoglio, or QV for ease of pronunciation. Available in sedan only, the Giulia QV is powered by a Ferrari-derived 2.9-litre turbocharged petrol engine that produces 375kW and 600Nm - similar to the upcoming M3/4. According to Alfa Romeo, the car has a top speed of 307km/h and will complete the 0-100km/h sprint in 3.9sec. Numerous publications gave this car their nod of approval over the outgoing M3 sedan, and it will be interesting to see if Alfa did enough to topple the Bavarian newcomer. The Giulia QV retails for R1.43-million.
Had it not been for Covid-19, Audi's facelifted RS4 would have been launched in South Africa in the latter stages of 2020. Sadly, as it stands, the S4 is the most potent version of the A4 family you can purchase in South Africa today. Expect things to change in the new year as Audi will launch a barrage of new vehicles, including the RS4 in Q1 (bar any change in plans). The revised RS4 will be available in Avant (station wagon) guise only, with power rated at 331kW/600Nm from its 2.9-litre twin-turbo petrol engine. Thanks to Audi's famed Quattro system, 0-100km/h can be cleared in 4.1sec.