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BMW M3 to hammer Chevrolet Corvette, Ford Mustang, Mercedes CLA45

BMW M3 to hammer Chevrolet Corvette, Ford Mustang, Mercedes CLA45

LONDON: After the launch of about a dozen new models, including the Chevrolet Corvette, Ford Mustang and Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG, it’s BMW’s turn to give them a true challenge.

The M3 is the vaunted high-performance version of the 3 Series, which BMW recently split into two separate lines. The sedan continues to be called the 3 Series, while the coupe is now called the 4 Series, under a new naming convention that uses odd numbers for cars with four doors and even numbers for those with two doors.

So starting with the 2015 model year, there will be an M3 Sedan and an M4 Coupe. Both had previously been called the M3.

The two new vehicles make their debut at the Detroit auto show in January and go on sale in early summer.

At 3,300 pounds, the 2015 BMW M4 Coupe is 176 pounds lighter than the previous version. But even more impressive, the M4 Coupe weighs 100 pounds less than the model from two generations ago.

Downsizing the engine to a turbocharged inline six-cylinder—another big change—saved 22 pounds. BMW says this new engine is 25 percent more efficient than the outgoing V8, which delivered 14/20 miles per gallon in city/highway driving.

Yet the six-cylinder also boasts more oomph by comparison. It produces 425 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque, making the 2015 coupe and sedan the most powerful versions of the car ever. Top speed is limited to 155 miles per hour.

BMW says the 2015 coupe and sedan go from 0 to 60 mph in 4.1 seconds with the manual transmission, down from 4.6 for the outgoing M3.

Not to be left out, BMW is offering a seven-speed paddle-shift transmission as an option. This makes for a slightly faster sprint to 60 mph of 3.9 seconds.

The new manual transmission is 26.4 pounds lighter and considerably more compact than the one it replaces. It also includes a feature that automatically blips the throttle on downshifts, mimicking a technique used by race car drivers.