Much has been said, written and ridiculed about BMW's latest kidney grille that we often forget there's a whole high-performance car waiting to be noticed. And the vehicle in question isn't your run-off-mill high-performance sedan but something genuinely legendary, the BMW M3/M4.
Where once upon a time you had to wait a while longer before the more powerful 'Competition' spec car is released, BMW has decided to launch the 'regular' M3/M4 and M3/M4 Competition at the same time. Do note that their differences extend to more than just one being more powerful than the other.
The M3/M4 and M3/M4 Competition is singing with the same engine, albeit in different tunes. The M3/M4's turbocharged inline-six produces 480hp and 550Nm while the M3/M4 Competition's generates 510hp and 650Nm. The transmission in each car further splits them apart. The M3/M4 comes only with a six-speed manual with Gear Shift Assistance to delight the enthusiasts. On the flip side, the eight-speed M Steptronic transmission with DriveLogic and three shift programs are exclusively found in the M3/M4 Competition.
All in all, the performance figures show what each car is capable of. The M3/M4 will complete its 0-100kph sprint in 4.2 seconds and 80-120kph in 4.1 seconds. On the other hand, the M3?M4 Competition accomplishes its 0-100kph in 3.9 seconds and 80-120kph in 2.6 seconds. Both cars have a top speed of 250kph or 290kph when optioned with the M Driver's Package.
Also, buyers of the Competition models can spec their cars with M xDrive starting mid-2021. Unlike the regular xDrive, the M xDrive is complete with Active M Differential, rear-wheel-biased setup and deactivated stability control. It also has three modes — 4WD, 4WD Sport and 2WD pure rear-wheel drive.
Because power is nothing without control, both versions of the M3/M4 comes fitted with Adaptive M suspension with electronically controlled shock absorbers and M Servotronic steering with variable ratio. The front and the rear axle has also been modified to M's specification. Stopping power comes courtesy of M Compound brakes with M Carbon ceramics brakes are available as an option.
M Dynamic Mode with integrated wheel slip limitation is now part of the Dynamic Stability Control. The M Traction Control now has 10 degrees of adjustment to suit your current courage level.
The standard M3/M4's forged M light-alloy wheel sizes are staggered; 18-inch in the front and 19-inch in the rear. The same can be said with the Competition models with M xDrive, which sport larger wheel sizes of 19 inches in the front and 20 inches in the rear. Performance tyres are available as a cost option.
The M3/M4's stiff body structure and chassis mounting should help with its power delivery and handling. The performance sedan features model-specific bracing elements for the engine compartment, a front axle subframe with an aluminium shear panel, underfloor bracing elements and a rear axle subframe with a rigid connection to the body.
If you don't understand any of that, then perhaps the M3/M4 isn't the car for you. Even if the new car does feature a myriad of driving tech, one cannot simply dismiss its pedigree. This is, after all, an M car, right?