Green and yellow are bold, and not by accident.

Color options are significant for BMW, especially when launching new M cars. The previous-generation M3 and M4 debuted with Austin Yellow and Yas Marina Blue, and two generations before that, the E46 M3 launched with Phoenix Yellow and Laguna Seca Blue. As an homage to those models, the new 2021 BMW M3 sedan and M4 coupe made their debut wearing two signature launch colors, both of which are incredibly distinctive.

Isle of Man Green appeared as the M3’s launch color while the M4 received Sao Paulo Yellow, though both colors are available interchangeably. Much like the massive kidney grilles, the colors will likely be polarizing, with some loving their boldness and others choosing to opt for boring hues like white or grey. Speaking with the M Division’s head designer, CarBuzz learned that choosing green and yellow was no accident.

“We came up with a yellow for the E36 M3 (second generation). This was the year I started as a young designer, and we called it Dakar Yellow,” said Marcus Syring, Head of Design at BMW M. “Yellow was always a very interesting color for us. We turned it later into a gold metallic direction but always kept a yellow because it’s a bold and active color. Yellow is also very full of life and expresses the character of an M car, especially a smaller car like an M3.”

As for Isle of Man Green, that hue also boasts an interesting history. “We started with the E36 four-door M3,” Syring recollected. “On the one hand, green is a conservative color. But on the other hand, green stands for Great Britain due to motorsports. Isle of Man Green is also full of life; it’s not a conservative green like what we call Huntsman Green in Germany. Especially when you see it in the sunshine, it’s an active color. If you see both, the green and the yellow, as a pair, they match quite nicely.”

Much like the exterior colors, Syring went on to explain how BMW didn’t play it safe with the interior either. The M3 and M4 each offer some wild interior color options, including Silverstone, Kyalami Orange, and an outrageous Yas Marina Blue with yellow accents. “There we are quite bold,” he said in reference to the interior options. “It’s quite a contrast.”

“When you look at the detail of the car, this generation is much bolder. We are reducing the number of lines with simpler, bolder surfaces,” he explained. “The overall message is to be quite expressive.” Should none of the standard exterior or interior colors be to your liking, BMW will also offer a wide Individual color palette that includes some truly unique hues.