2021 BMW M4 Competition xDrive
When it comes to high performance coupe, BMW is one of the first brands that come to mind and there is a very good reason for that. For several decades, BMW not only offered multiple high performance products in compact coupe and sedan segment, but also they always took it to extreme level in every generation.
That brings us to the 2022 BMW M4 Competition xDrive. Although M4 does not have a long history, it has to fill M3 Coupe’s shoes which dates all the way back to 1970s. As a car enthusiast, my expectation from both M3 and M4 gets higher every generation, and we will find out if this generation is better than the old one.
Exterior and Interior
Since the beginning of 2000s, BMW has always stepped out and done things that was different in design, and 2022 M4 Competition is no exception. We have seen some wild design changes from BMW in the past, and surprisingly grown to like them such as the E60 M5. I think this front end design is still one of the most controversial design decisions BMW has ever made.
Although BMW states they have to come up with a bigger front grille design to provide more airflow and better cooling to the engine, I am sure they would have found a way around if they really wanted to. BMW is no longer being the trendsetter in terms of a design language, they are simply following a trend of having a huge front grille created by other luxury brands.
I personally like the headlight design, they look very modern but still keeping traditional BMW design elements, you know it’s a BMW coming down the road by just looking the headlights. Aside from the grille size, it also has functional vents in the front bumper that makes it look even more sportier.
Moving towards the back is where you will find more traditional BMW character and they definitely maintained the BMW look. Like the rest of the 4-Series lineup, M4 has very identifiable taillight design but M4 Competition has sportier rear bumper with diffuser and quad exhaust tips. I think BMW did an excellent job with the rear-end design of the M4 Competition.
The side view looks gorgeous with nice body lines and it definitely has a clean look. M4 Competition comes with 19″ rims in the front and 20″ in the rear, and carbon fiber roof is something that you can only find in M4 and M4 Competition models for lower center of gravity.
The updated M4’s interior design may not be the flashiest, it does not have the biggest screens, but it is one of the most unified interior designs in the premium market. I love the fact that BMW designers still design driver focused interiors. The infotainment screen is easy to use, have several physical buttons for AC, driving modes and radio controls.
Everything here is well laid out and if you are familiar with any other BMW product, this is actually not that different. If you compare it with other luxury products, it definitely has less screen real estate, but at the end of the day, it is one of the most usable interiors with high quality materials and build quality.
Speaking of high quality materials, M4 seats feel very good for both daily and sporty driving. They also look gorgeous and they are highly customizable. Both driver and passenger seats are powered, but they both come with adjustable side bolster which can also be changed based on the driving mode. Only driver’s seat has memory seats and it only comes with manual steering wheel position adjustment.
Although M4 is a Coupe so it does not prioritize passenger accommodation, it still has decent amount of space if you are not a large adult. Trunk size is surprisingly good for a small sporty coupe, it has 12 cubic feet (339L) of cargo space in the trunk, and it has a nice opening to put bigger items.
Engine and Drivetrain
2022 BMW M4 Competition xDrive is the first M4 that comes with an all-wheel-drive system, but the rest of the drivetrain hasn’t changed compared to the last year. It comes with 6 cylinder twin turbo 3.0L engine that puts out 503 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque. Like many other BMW models, it comes with 8-speed torque converted automatic transmission.
For competitive purposes, BMW decided not to offer stick shift in Competition model, but if you absolutely want the manual transmission, you can still get the M4 without the Competition trim. That option sets you back at 473 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque and you lose All Wheel Drive option.
Compared to the previous generation M4, there are a lot of technical differences. The most significant change is that, it no longer has dual clutch transmission option. S58 is a totally new engine that has different forged crankshaft, 3D printed cylinder head, turbos and integrated oil sump that offers more hp and smoother torque curve compared to the previous generation M4.
Driving Impressions and Features
As expected from any M car, it is very fast in all gears. Having an All Wheel Drive system makes things even more easier on a public road, even in slippery conditions you don’t have to fine tune your throttle inputs as it pretty much never loses traction, whereas with Rear Wheel Drive M vehicles, you really have to be careful and patient.
2022 BMW M4 Competition xDrive offers a great body control, even in Comfort mode there is absolutely no body roll. That also means for daily driving, the suspension tune is pretty firm and that can be quite exhausting if you drive the M4 on a daily basis. However, if outright performance is your priority, you have three different suspension settings that can be chosen individually or by different driving modes.
Like many other sporty BMW models, M4 Competition is quite communicative when you are at the limit, though steering wheel feels very numb, chassis gives you a lot of feedback. If you are concerned about having an All Wheel Drive in an M car, there is a little bit of weight penalty (almost 100 lbs) but you can switch to Rear Wheel Drive mode to have more fun driving experience.
2022 BMW M4 Competition xDrive comes with two different brake options. The standard brakes are steel rotors with 380mm in the front with six-piston calipers and 370mm in the rear. If you want additional stopping power and heat resistance, you should choose the optional Carbon ceramic brakes that comes with 400mm rotors in the front, and 380mm in the rear.
What’s more interesting about the braking system is that it comes with brake-by-wire system. I was skeptical about this technology at first, but this is where the market goes and BMW did a great job implementing it. You do not feel a difference compared to hydraulic brake system, and it can be adjusted to comfort or sport mode.
Aside from the driving dynamics, there are few features that are worth mentioning. The most important one is probably the infotainment system, which has been developed over the course of almost two decades and they fine tuned it so well that it is one of the best infotainment systems currently available, even though the screen size is a little bit small by today’s standards.
It is not just the software aspect of having a good infotainment system, but it is easy to use and you can use both touchscreen and iDrive rotary knob while driving. The screen has great resolution and touchscreen feedback is as good as a modern smartphone. It also comes with wireless Apple CarPlay.
As mentioned above, you don’t have giant digital screens other luxury entries, but you still get fully digital gauge cluster. It may not be the most customizable, but it is super easy to read and you can change it to a different look by switching to M mode which offers cleaner look but more performance oriented information gathered in one screen.
It also comes with a great Parking Assist feature that works flawlessly almost every time. It has great camera quality and 360 view feature makes it very easy even without using the Parking Assist. Our tester did not have the Adaptive Cruise feature and for this price it should be standard. Cameras can also record the driving up to 20 seconds before and after of an incident like a dashcam
Pricing and the Verdict
There is a reason why M3/M4 is probably the most iconic BMW it sets the threshold in every generation. After almost 40 years and several different generations of M3/M4, my expectations were quite high from the latest M4 Competition. The previous generation was a great performance car, but not-so-great every day option.
2022 BMW M4 Competition xDrive is the best M4 ever, not just outright performance, but it is so much better in every aspect of a driving experience. 2022 BMW M4 Coupe starts at $90,954 CAD with the manual transmission, but if you want to have the edgier “Competition” trim, the price goes up to $95,804 and xDrive AWD system sets you back additional $2500.
Our tester had the “Isle of Man Green” ($895) optional colour as well as the Premium Package ($6300) which includes the Laserlight Headlights, Head-up Display, Driving Recorder, Parking Assistant and Automatic Trunk. If you want everything available in your M4, you can choose the Ultimate Package which costs more than $18,000. For more details – please visit www.bmw.ca