BMW M3 Competition and M4 Competition

Eat Sleep Drive Repeat

23 September 2020

Big on performance, big on nostrils

Let the arguing commence! BMW has unveiled the next M3 and M4 models, complete with opinion-dividing grille.

While most people are finding other adjectives, BMW describes the standout front end feature as “distinctive”. The frameless black kidney grille has expanded in size, and features Shadowline LED headlights on either side. Other exterior highlights include flared wheel arches, extended side sills, aerodynamic side mirrors and the traditional M gills. In a change from tradition, the grille slats now run horizontally.

Customers who want to draw attention away from the oversize grille have can enhance other parts of their car. There’s a choice of 2 wheel designs in four different colours, and a range of new paint colours: Sao Paulo Yellow non-metallic, Toronto Red metallic and Isle of Man Green metallic.

The roof for both the M3 Competition and M4 Competition are carbon reinforced plastic.

The argument about whether or not the new face of BMW is something to admire will carry on for a long time, but there’s not much to disagree on when it comes to the purpose of both the M3 and M4. These models are showcases of BMW’s skill in making performance-focused drivers cars, and there’s no denying that, on paper at least, they deliver on that.

Powering both new M cars is a 3.0 straight-six twin turbo, pushing out 353kW and and 550Nm. Purists will love the fact that the standard gearbox is a 6-speed manual, complete with “shift assistant” that blips the throttle on downshifts for smoother operation. The bad news? It's not slated for release in SA.

Instead, local customers will have a choice between the M3 Competition and M4 Competition, with an uprated version of the same motor: 375kW and and 650Nm, with the maximum torque available from 2 700 - 5 500rpm. Both models get from 0-100km/h in 3,9 seconds, with top speed limited to 250km/h. The M Pro package raises that figure to 290km/h.

The gearbox for the Competition models is a tuned 8-speed M Steptronic, with carbon fibre paddle shifters as standard. Drivelogic allows the driver select differing shift characteristics, from comfort to track-focused. From 2021, customers will be able to opt for 2- or all-wheel drive for the first time in the M3 Competition and M4 Competition. The all-wheel drive version has a rear-biased setup by default, but can be operated in varying stages of 4 wheel grip. M Dynamic mode also offers a greater degree of wheel slip i.e. a drift mode.

The standard adaptive M suspension is an infinitely variable system, adjusting damping force for each wheel on a continuous basis, depending on conditions and driving style. New M Compound brakes with 380mm discs in front and 370mm discs at the rear provide the stopping power. Callipers are available in the traditional blue, with the addition of red and black options. The braking system also offers the driver two levels of pedal feel: comfort and sport. Both M3 Competition and M4 Competition run on 19” wheels at the front, and 20” wheels at the rear.

The interior of the new M models has been designed to be as sporty and as technologically advanced as the rest of the package. Highlights include red accents for the M buttons on the M leather steering wheel, as well as electrically adjustable and heated M sport seats, with bigger side bolsters, integrated head rest and an illuminated model badge. On the tech side, the cockpit features fully digital instrumentation, with cloud-based navigation and the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant.

The BMW M3 Competition Sedan and M4 Competition Coupé are set to arrive in SA in the first half 2021, with pricing to be confirmed.