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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Hot Wheels BMW M4 vs. M3 coupe vs. 2014 Corvette Stingray

One of the first signs of BMW finally breaking the mold and letting Mattel do BMW models was the E90 M3 Coupe in 2011.  Since then there's been a plethora of BMW models, mostly M-based, that have come out from Hot Wheels and Matchbox, the latter even including BMW motorcycles.  Now the M3 has evolved to the new M4 Coupe so lets see how this new M4 compares to the M3, and then a head to head against the 2014 Corvette Stingray coupe

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Different name, same car

With BMW shifting names to lessen (or add) confusion to their model line, even numbers will be the coupes, convertibles, and coupe-like sedans, while the odd numbers represent sedans, wagons, and SUV's.  So it was fitting to separate the 3-series sedan from the 4-series coupe and convertible even though both share some styling amd mechanical bits.  The 4-series coupe goes for a sleeker look with an aggressive front aided by larger lower grille ducts and squinting quad headlights that connect to the kidney grilles. while the rear adjoins the return of the L-shaped taillights.  The M4, also sharing bits with the M3 sedan, enhances the look with flared fenders, larger front scoops in the bumper with added aerodynamics, smaller hood bulge to clear the intercooler, carbon fiber roof standard on all M3 and M4 models, and quad exhausts below a reshaped bumper and a trunklid with integrated spoiler.  The interior still has the typical BMW controls and layout, but finally the iDrive screen is a separate unit that can hide below the dash, if needed, and the 3-spoke steering wheel has thinner spokes and looks better than the previous M3.  Compare that to the old M3 coupe, which has a softer, more contemporary look than the M4 with a less-aggressive front-end, a larger hood bulge with vents, and a more softer rear with the quad exhaust, and no carbon fiber roof (unless you get a special-edition model).  The new M4's interior is better than the old M3's interior, especially the steering wheel.

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Engine's are vastly different between the two:  After years of playing with the previous M3 coupe's 4.0L DOHC V8 that produces 414 hp and 295 Ib-ft. of torque through a 6-speed manual, the M4 finally returns to the original I-6, this time a twin-turbocharged 3.0L with intercooler on top of the valve cover, that produces 430 hp and an even more impressive 410 Ib-ft. or torque through a 6-speed manual or a 7-speed DCT automated manual.  The new M4 uses lots of carbon-fiber parts from the roof to the body panels, to even the creative curved front strut brace.  With more torque on hand, you now don't have to rev the engine to get the most power out of it like the V8 M3.

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M3 vs. M4

Now to the Hot Wheels casting, and how nice is it to have a light blue M4 than to bring out the M3 recolor in 2013 with the same color!  The one gripe on the M3 was the flat-faced front-end (an apparent problem with a lot of E90 M3 coupe models from what i've seen).  The M4 gets it right with a more hunkered-down look with aggressive headlights, smoother grille, and more enhanced lower bumper work.  Only the M3 can upstage the M4 at the front is the more stylized hood scoop and vents.  On the sides the M4 wins with a more shaplier look thanks to the flared fenders that also gives this car a narrower look that the slab-sided M3.  The rear looks better with the L-shaped taillights and with a dramatic shape from the angled trunk lid and rear bumper that matches the wide rear fenders.  This M4 definately has more attitude!  Add to that the cool carbon fiber roof with the carbon fiber pattern and roof-mounted antenna; last time I saw this much detail was on the Matchbox 2009 Corvette ZR-1!  Both cars have interiors that are nicely done, but the M4 goes a step further with the actual car's more refined interior with the smaller steering wheel and relocated iDrive screen.  The back seat now gets detailed center console.  The bases for both the M3 and M4 are identical save for a few slight enhancements, and oh did I mention the M4 has exterior mirrors that the M3 lacks?  The other colors shown include the white (not shown) and red of 2011, and the black recolor of the 2013's blue variant.

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What about against a Corvette Stingray?

Now this M4 is so good, how does it do against the competition?  Well for starters there isn't really that much competition to offer, so the closest new-age competitor to the M4 is the 2014 Corvette Stingray coupe with the Z51 package.  Yes, drag it on with the blue again, more Grabber Blue than Laguna Blue, with blacked-out 5-spoke wheels look killer on ths car, and it still carries the detailed headlights and taillights of previous variations.  The Corvette, like the M4, has an enhanced exterior with more lines and curves than the C6 that gives this car plenty of eye appeal.  Also it has an improved interior with a wrap-around dashboard and seats that are far and away way better than the plasticky interior of the C6.  The engine is a 6.2L V8 that has direct fuel injection and cylinder cut-off at cruising speeds to produce about 450 horsepower, more than the BMW, with one more extra gear than the M4 in the manual (7) and the new for 2015 automatic (8).  Suspension is independent but still uses the transverse leaf springs.  Acceleration, Braking, and Handling results are close as well, both offering excellent performance feedback, with the M4 getting higher marks over the M3 with sharper handling grip thanks to the narrow body flanked by flared wheels. In the end it came down to a more practical level to see who is the winner of this head-to-head, and by the slimmest margin its the BMW M4.

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Overall I like this M4 better than the M3 and I can't wait to see what other colors are offered in the future.

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