A contentious update of an old favourite. The BMW M3 has always been the benchmark by which all junior super saloons are judges, loved not just for its handling and driver appeal, but also its dazzling naturally aspirated engine. We’ve had four, six and eight cylinder versions across the three model generations since the M3 first showed its face in 1988, but now we have something different. Turbos. A pair of turbos, in fact, mated to a 3.0-litre straight six.

And we also have a new name. In line with BMW’s naming policy, the coupe is now known as the M4 while the saloon retains the M3 moniker.

DRIVING

If you’re thinking of buy BMW’s fastest 3-Series, this is going to be pretty much all that matters to you. You used to buy the M3 solely on the basis of its fabulous engine – the noise, response and spine-tingling top end were worth the entry price alone. But impressively responsive though the new turbos are, there’s still a delay before you get the wallop, while the noise… it’s just too artificial to genuinely prick your ears up.

Same goes for the power deliver. The old car created a real sense of anticipation as the clever valve timing did its stuff and the rev needle whipped round the dial; now you no longer have to work with that car – you just press the throttle, wait a spot for the turbos to catch fire and away you go. Because you don’t have to put much into it, you get less out of it. Still, there’s no denying it’s a very fast thing indeed, and covers the ground exceptionally well. It soaks up distances, is far more efficient and we’ve got to admit that when you do lean on it, it’s still a pretty special thing to drive and easily has the measure of the Audi RS 4. But pure magic? No, that’s now been diluted.