Much has been made of the significance of the two-door M3's name change to M4. But both M3 and M4 will live on in the 2014 model year, despite the nomenclatural bifurcation.
The real test, of course, will be how the new M4 drives. If it's lighting lap times on fire and stunning stoplight racers, the name will be a technicality.
Fortunately, we may not have long to wait now. In an interview with Motor Trend, BMW M Performance Automobiles's managing director Friedrich Nitschke has confirmed both the M3 sedan and M4 coupe will be at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show.
So what can we expect next January? The 2014 BMW M4 is expected to focus on performance through lightness, shaving weight from the standard 4-Series wherever possible. Add to that a turbocharged in-line six-cylinder engine cranking out something north of 310kW and you have the start of a good recipe.
The same engine is expected in the 2014 M3 sedan, and most of the rest of the performance equipment should be shared between the two, though adjustments to account for tuning differences will be made. Among the other performance-enhancers expected for the M3/M4 duo is an electronically controlled limited-slip rear differential, lower and stiffer suspension, wider wheels and tires, upgraded brakes, and a range of aerodynamic changes to the exterior. For more details, see our 2014 BMW M3 spy shots.