BMW fans are well aware of the giant, polarizing grille design on the 4 Series. Though many observers dislike the style, you’ll find it on the 2021 BMW M3 too. But fortunately, a small change makes the M3 slightly more appealing. Let’s take a look at how the new M3 differs from the 4 Series.
The controversial grille issue
BMW is known for its distinctive kidney grilles, but many fans think designers pushed the look too far in the 4 Series. The grille is enormous, and with its vivid silver coloring, it’s hard to miss. In fact, just 20 percent of people polled said they liked the grilles’ look — meaning it doesn’t impress 80 percent of BMW’s customer base.
These grilles are controversial enough that some companies are stepping in to offer aftermarket alternatives. For example, Germany’s Prior Design has several ideas in the works for new front ends, all of which include a grille that’s smaller and sleeker than the factory original. Unfortunately, this adds yet more expense to an already pricey vehicle. However, for those who want one of these cars but can’t stand the grille, it’s an option.
How is the 2021 BMW M3 different?
Yes, the 2021 BMW M3 features the same front-end design as the 4 Series. BMW says that classic BMW sports cars inspired the grilles’ design and that it “takes center stage” on the new M3 — something you probably won’t appreciate if you aren’t a fan of the design.
However, though the 4 Series’ grille is all silver and very noticeable, the M3 blacks out the design. According to Car and Driver, this results in a grille that, while still large, is much less obtrusive than the silver alternative.
For drivers who want the new BMW M3 but despise the grille on the 4 Series, this blacked-out option might be more appealing. Car and Driver also notes that anyone who detests the grille has another option to minimize its appearance: Opt for a black paint job instead of green or blue. Although the large front end is still there, a black body plus a blacked-out grille make it much less noticeable.
What to expect from the new BMW M3
Starting at $70,895, the 2021 BMW M3 packs a 3.0-liter twin-turbo inline-six engine that makes 473 hp. It gets 16 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway for a combined 19 mpg.
A six-speed manual transmission comes standard — excellent news for drivers who prefer to keep it old-school. In fact, Car and Driver makes a point of suggesting we “rejoice that there’s a new manual-transmission BMW M3” because this might not happen many more times in the future.
The M3’s ride quality is also excellent, offering impressive power yet everyday practicality. Car and Driver calls the S58 engine “smooth and flexible, happily crushing your shoulders into the seat at nearly any rpm.” The base model can reach 60 mph in 4.1 seconds, and the M3 Competition model gets there in 3.8 seconds.
Although the 2021 BMW M3 doesn’t eliminate the polarizing grille, it makes the design slightly less obtrusive. And, of course, regardless of its front end, it still offers immense power and an exciting ride. Once you get behind the wheel, you might even forget about the grille.