BMW M3 and M4 Competition Coupé


Episode 20: BMW M3 and M4 Explained.

M xDRIVE.Episode 20: BMW M3 and M4 Explained.

The epitome of racing feeling in everyday traffic starts a new round. 35 years after the debut of the first BMW M3, BMW M GmbH presents the latest generation of its high-performance automobiles in the premium mid-size segment. Time to introduce the two new vehicles. In the #M3M4explained series, the developers have the floor.

Peter loves maximum traction: In Episode 20, the Head of Driving Dynamics Systems BMW M3 / M4 talks about the optional BMW M xDrive all-wheel drive system in the new M vehicles. In the video, he introduces the new innovative drive system and explains elaborate technology.

BMW M3 Competition Sedan:
Fuel consumption in l/100 km (combined): 9.6-9.8 (WLTP)
CO2 emissions in g/km (combined): 219-224 (WLTP)

BMW M4 Competition Coupé:
Fuel consumption in l/100 km (combined): 9.6-9.8 (WLTP)
CO2 emissions in g/km (combined): 219-224 (WLTP)

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BMW M3 M4 Explained


What is the default torque distribution between the front and rear axle in 4WD and 4WD Sport?


Basically, there is no fixed torque split between front axle and rear axle, with torque being continuously shifted between front and rear - except for the 2WD mode obviously ;)
In general, the main distribution is rear wheel biased all the time. However, in 4WD Sport the system allows for more slip on the rear wheels before sending more power to the front axle.


What is the weight of the M3 and M4 with M xDrive?


The DIN weight for the M3 Competition with M xDrive is 1,780kg and the M4 Competition Coupé with M xDrive weighs 1,775kg.


What is the front and rear weight distribution percentage for the M4?


BMW M4 Competition Coupé with M xDrive: 53.9% front / 46.1% rear.


Why better traction must always mean more understeer?

With regards to the front wheels: Once a longitudinal power is transmitted with the front wheels there is less capacity for lateral forces. This results in understeer - under braking as well as when accelerating. So, that is typical tyre behaviour and physics.

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BMW M3 and M4 Competition Coupé

In 4WD Sport is the power fixed between both axles?

No, torque split is a fully variable distribution at all times in 4WD and 4WD Sport mode. In comparison, 4WD Sport mode allows for more rear wheel slip than 4WD mode before sending more power to the front wheels.
To improve steering behaviour and cornering power of the front axle, we especially lower the front axle torque while cornering.

Peter what do you mean "Drive to the front wheels will be switched off for efficiency"?

The M xDrive can dial in fully variable torque split between front axle and rear axle. It is possible to manually switch of the front axle --> 2WD mode. Based on the given driving conditions, e.g. constant highway cruising, the system will also automatically decouple the front axle in 4WD and 4WD Sport mode to operate more efficiently.


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Will there be an option for manual transmission in AWD cars?

No, it won't.

Does the camber of the wheels for the M3/M4 with M xDrive remain the same compared to RWD?

RWD models have a front axle camber of -1°40'. AWD models have a front axle camber of -1°30'. Rear axle camber is -1°50' for all models.

Is the front differential equipped with lock like the rear end is?

The front differential is an open differential without an integrated mechanical lock.

What type of clutch is used for the coupling of the front drivetrain?

That is a multi-clutch type coupling.

Is the clutch pack designed to slip in order to have different speeds at the front and rear?

Yes, it is.

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BMW M4 Competition Coupé

When the clutch pack is fully engaged, how does it allow for front wheels to spin at different speeds?

When the driving situation allows for equal wheel speed at all wheels, the clutch can be fully engaged. At conditions where different individual wheel speeds are required the clutch will be partially open.

What is the reaction time of the system engaging/disengaging the AWD?

Normally, just the torque transfer to the front axle is varied, its variation takes less than 150ms. Returning from efficiency mode shift time is less than 400ms.

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BMW M4 Competition Coupé

Why use a chain in the transfer case instead of pinion gears?

A chain drive produces less noise and drag.

Main difference between AWD in the M340i and in the M3 (beside the switch off option)?

Compared to the M340i and M440i xDrive models, there is more rear bias with the BMW M3 and M4 models with M xDrive. Additionally, the M3 and M4 models feature the integrated torque control system for faster adjustments and the transfer case / clutch pack is a beefed up version for more driving dynamics. Another difference are of course the three modes 4WD, 4WD Sport, 2WD.

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BMW M3 Competition Coupé

So even in 4WD, the torque is sent to the front only when needed? Or there is always some torque going?

The front axle torque split can go as low as 0% even in 4WD or 4WD Sport mode depending on the actual driving situation - think of steady highway cruising as an example.

Does the horsepower output change between 4WD and 2WD modes?

No, it is always the same power that is being sent to the wheels - no matter if 4WD, 4WD Sport or 2WD.

Does AWD set better lap times?

That completely depends on the particular track and the environmental conditions.

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What did you major in college?

I majored in mechanical engineering at TU Munich.

How many years do you work for BMW?

I joined BMW in 1995.

Which is your favorite straight six engine?

That is the one in my Z3 M roadster - the S52.

What is your favorite classic BMW?

That is a close run between my Z3 M roadster and the M3 CSL E46.

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  • The models illustrated include optional equipment.

    Due to regular software updates, screen designs in the communication may differ from the actual screen design in your car.

    Official data on power consumption and electric range were determined in accordance with the mandatory measurement procedure and comply with Regulation (EU) 715/2007 valid at the time of type approval. In case of a range, figures in the NEDC take into account differences in the selected wheel and tire size; figures in the WLTP take into account any optional equipment. WLTP values are used for assessing taxes and other vehicle-related charges that are (also) based on CO2 emissions, as well as for the purposes of vehicle-specific subsidies, if applicable. Where applicable, the NEDC values listed were calculated based on the new WLTP measurement procedure and then converted back to the NEDC measurement procedure for comparability reasons. For newly type-tested vehicles since 01.01.2021, the official data no longer exist according to NEDC, but only according to WLTP. For more information on the WLTP and NEDC measurement procedures, see

    For further information about the official fuel consumption and the specific CO2 emission of new passenger cars can be taken out of the „handbook of fuel consumption, the CO2 emission and power consumption of new passenger cars“, which is available at all selling points and at

    All vehicles, equipment, combination possibilities and varieties shown here are examples and can differ in your country. In no way do they constitute a binding offer by the BMW M GmbH. Visit your local BMW website or see your authorised BMW M Retailer for accurate details on the offers in your country.