The BMW M4 already has plenty of track performance credentials; but as I’m sure your dad reminded you, no matter how good you think you are, you can always get better. Thus, BMW has made available a competition package that ratchets up just about every performance aspect of the M4 to make it even more of a track weapon. So, let’s ready…aim…fire!
In our last track test of BMW’s then-new M4, we declared it one sweet, high-performing ride. But, as great as the on-track experience was, we also determined it was no longer leaps-and-bounds ahead of the competition. Well, speaking of competition; for 2017, BMW adds a Competition Package among the available upgrades for M4, as well as the M3. So, we think it is our duty to find out what it means for the M4.
Adding to what is already a stout little package, though one that’s not as tidy or responsive as our current favorite M2, our test M4’s Competition Package gets the party started under the hood with a little more power out of the 3.0-liter turbo-6. Horsepower climbs 19 to 444; torque stays the same at 406 lb-ft.
Both 6-speed manual and 7-speed DCT transmissions are available.
The package also adds Adaptive M Suspension; highly retuned with new springs, dampers, and anti-roll bars. The Active M Differential is upgraded, as is the software that manages all of the above.
Forged, multi-spoke 20-inch wheels are added with 265/30 tires up front, 285/30s in the rear.
Not much to show off styling-wise, however, as the only clues are blacked out trim around the exterior, including black chrome tailpipes.
But, its only track time that will tell how much it has actually improved. So we hustled around Roebling Road Raceway’s 9 high speed turns to look for answers.
The M4 may no longer have the cache it once did, as there are now so many similarly-priced performance cars that are truly spectacular. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a blast to drive on a race track, which it does very well.
There are a wealth of vehicle settings, which keeps it from being a jump in and go affair, unless you have your preferred setup at the ready with one of the M-buttons. And you have to have all of the traction nannies completely turned off to have any fun with it, at which point it remains predictable and balanced, easy to manhandle, with enough feedback to recover easily.
We never felt a need for more power anywhere on the track, with very linear delivery making it very fast coming out of corners, sounding very aggressive and almost nasty at full-song.
Our biggest complaint still revolves around the lack of steering feel. There, dead horse beaten.
Our test car featured the optional carbon ceramic brakes, and they were solid lap after lap with minimal fade.
Bottom line, while the suspension did feel a bit firmer; it was really hard to find too much difference with the Competition Package.
As before, launch control is not the most user friendly, and really seems to limit power when it does work. But however you get it off the line, you can hit 60 in 4.0–seconds flat. And, that is a tenth quicker than the last M4 we tested
The engine is sewing machine smooth as you progress through the ¼, with the optional 7–speed M-DCT transmission bringing new gears with precise brutality. Eventually, it all ends in 12.1–seconds at 118 miles-per-hour.
Out on public roads, the M4 remains a very civil car for going about your daily business whatever it may be; though the firmer suspension is even more noticeable here than on the track.
And the interior remains a highly functional space, though some of our staff still hate not having a tradition Park position for the shifter, not trusting the car to engage Park on its own.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 17-City, 24-Highway, and 19–Combined. Our average was 21.0 miles-per-gallon of Premium. That’s a below average Energy Impact Score of 17.3-barrels of yearly oil use with 7.6 tons of CO2 emissions.
Pricing seems reasonable for what you get, as the Competition Package tacks just $4,750 onto the M4’s lofty $67,195 base price.
We’ll stop well short of calling this the ultimate BMW, or even the ultimate M4 as there is a six-figure, track hungry GTS out there. Still, the 2017 M4 Competition Package is a smart upgrade, and a great way to get a better M4 for not a ton of extra money.
Engine: 3.0 liter
Torque: 406 lb-ft.
0-60 mph: 4.0 seconds
1/4 mile: 12.1 seconds @ 118 mph
EPA: 17 mpg city / 24 mpg highway,
Energy Impact: 17.3 barrels of oil/yr
CO2 Emissions: 7.6 tons/yr