Ever since Ransom Eli Olds curved the dashboards of his earliest automobiles, manufacturers like himself have wanted their cars to make an up-front statement when they get on the scene. The radiator shell, grille, front valance and everything related to them have been part of that pursuit ever since. Whether it was a Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost, a Loewy-penned Studebaker Commander or, heaven help us, the Pontiac Trans Sport “dustbuster” minivan, the prow of a vehicle has always been a statement of arrival in the most literal sense, At BMW, that’s involved the vertical twin grille, known affectionately as the double kidney, which dates to the BMW Model 303 of 1933, the car that also introduced BMW’s straight-six engine. It’s very difficult to envision any BMW being designed without this grille, in some form. Then we learn this.
What we’ve got here is the first frontal visuals just released of the new-generation, 2021 edition of the wild M3 sport sedan, continuing to ride on the G80 platform, its dedicated version of the current 3-Series’ G20 underpinnings. Look at the front end. Those look more like chasms than kidneys, right? And then there’s the twin oversized grilles on either side of the vertical kidneys. BMW calls this most aggressive M3 – and its coupe stablemate, the M4, shares the same treatment – in history. We don’t disagree. The look still loudly proclaims “Bavaria,” and it’s considerably more tasteful than the kind of frontal arrogance Lexus has been projecting lately, to name just one example. The M3 is loaded: Standard power is the S58 twin-turbocharged 2,993cc straight-six, which produces a based output of 473 horsepower, nearly 60 better than the previous M3. Up to 503 horsepower can be had with Competition variants, and all-wheel xDrive’s available, too.