Sedans & Coupes

The 2021 BMW M3’s Obnoxious Grille Actually Serves a Purpose

BMW is an automaker built on performance and quality. Its loyal fans are some of the biggest car enthusiasts in the world, reveling in the iconic design and power that typically comes from a BMW car. But the automaker has made some recent design changes to some of its cars’ front ends, that are less BMW-like than ever before, and even referred to as “obnoxious.” And as the 2021 BMW M3 comes closer to hitting the road, this design choice appears to be a permanent one. But what’s with BMW’s new grille?

An odd grille is starting to plague the BMW lineup

The 2021 BMW 4 Series premiered and cries of dismay quickly erupted over its newly designed grille. BMW chose to forgo its traditional BMW grille for a new design that completely changed the way its front end looked. The 4 Series’ grille is taller but less wide than what you come to expect from the styling of BMW front-end. According to MotorTrend, these “tall and narrow kidney grilles” seemed to resemble “large nostrils,” completely changing the brand’s iconic, sleek, front-end. 

And no one was happy about the redesign. But BMW soon proved that this “obnoxious” grille wasn’t just a styling choice to redesign the 4 Series and the cries of its fans were to be ignored, as the 2021 BMW M3 quickly followed with its own debut and the same grille.

What the 2021 BMW M3’s obnoxious grille actually does

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The 2021 BMW M3’s tall grille, which seems to a style BMW is sticking with, isn’t just a styling choice. Although the grille certainly gives the M3 and its siblings a completely different look, the large grille was redesigned with purpose. According to the BMW Blog, the M3’s new grille now features horizontal grille slats instead of the typical vertical ones. The taller, longer, narrow front grille and horizontal slats are “designed to feed the massive amount of air needed for fulfilling the cooling requirements under the most rigorous conditions.”

According to The Fast Lane Car, the automaker chose “a larger frameless grille design to improve cooling” of the 2021 BMW M3, but also added larger intakes on its flanks to aide even more. The gaping grille is accompanied by various openings along the lower fascia to continuously feed air to the M3’s front-mounted rotors and six-piston calipers. Although the grille may not be the exterior design choice of most BMW fans, it is designed to bring the highest level of performance to the 2021 BMW M3 and is a “resoundingly function-driven” choice. 

The 2021 BMW M3: how it performs

The 2021 BMW M3 comes with a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine that makes 473 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque, in its base form. The M3 also comes standard with a manual transmission, a pleasant feature for driving enthusiasts, paired to a rear-wheel drivetrain. This base model M3 can hit 60 miles per hour in just 4.1 seconds, with a top speed of 155 miles per hour (or 180 miles per hour with M Driver’s package).

Buyers can upgrade to the Competition model M3 to increase power to 503 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque, paired with all-wheel-drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission. This upgrade in power helps the M3 get to 60 miles per hour in just 3.8 seconds.

Even though the all-wheel-drive M3 Competition model adds a front differential, BMW “promises all-wheel-drive M3 Competitions ought to offer all the thrills of its rear-drive kin.” The automaker designed it with a rear-drive bias and the same torque-vectoring capabilities. Drivers can make use of three drive modes: default (4WD), 4WD Sport, and 2WD.