• 430-horsepower twin-turbo 6-cylinder engines
  • Optional 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmissions
  • Lighter weight for better performance and efficiency

BMW announced technical details of the latest new models from its high-performance M division. The 2014 BMW M3 sedan and M4 coupe are both more powerful and lighter than their respective predecessors, the M3 sedan and coupe. Both models have also shed weight, improving performance and efficiency, according to BMW. Engine output is certainly improved. With twin-turbo 6-cylinder engines, the two M cars now boast 430 hp, 16 more than the models they replace.

Despite the changes, some aspects remain. A 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission is still available. It now includes launch control, so M3 and M4 drivers can achieve quick acceleration from a standstill. And purists need not fret; a 6-speed manual transmission is still standard, allowing drivers to row through the gears on their own. That may be easier now, especially on downshifts, since the manual is now equipped with a blip feature like the automatic.

BMW says the new M3 and M4 weigh about 3,300 pounds. That's significantly lighter than their predecessors, representing weight savings of about 400 pounds. The automaker leaned heavily on lightweight materials such as carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic and aluminum in engineering the M3 and M4. Aluminum suspension components keep weight down, as does a carbon fiber strut brace. BMW also used carbon fiber for the roof and even the driveshaft of both models.

Electric power steering also contributes to lighter weight. Electric systems have all but replaced hydraulic ones as the standard for both mainstream and performance automobiles. Lighter weight and higher efficiency is the reason, although some performance drivers may prefer the feedback of a traditional hydraulic unit. Still, electric power steering has other advantages, such as switchable settings for different driving types. The system in the BMW M3 and M4 includes settings called Comfort, Sport and Sport+.

BMW has not yet announced pricing or an arrival date for these latest M models. We expect the 2014 BMW M3 sedan and M4 coupe to arrive soon, though, so plan accordingly if you'd like to be among the first to get behind the wheel. A thrilling driving experience is all but a certainty.

What it means to you: For 2014, BMW introduced a new-generation M3 sedan and M4 coupe with more power and less weight than their predecessors. That's a recipe for even more blistering performance from an already capable pair of automobiles.

author photo

Nick Palermo is an automotive writer and lifelong car nut. He follows new and late-model used vehicles for AutoTrader.com, writes about vintage cars for Hemmings Classic Wheels and blogs on all things automotive at LivingVroom. He lives in Atlanta with his wife and twins.

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