RE: BMW M4 Competition Pack: Review

RE: BMW M4 Competition Pack: Review

Saturday 12th March 2016

BMW M4 Competition Pack: Review

Like an M4 but just a little bit more ... is that necessarily a good thing though?



Visually speaking the BMW M4 Competition Package's defining feature is its 'forged, machine-polished, weight- and rigidity optimised' 20-inch wheels, complete with 10mm extra width in the tyres. Reduced unsprung weight (you'd hope), more rubber on the road and some ... eye-catching visual bling, inspired by but thankfully not entirely copied from the new GTS, they certainly mark the Competition Package out from normal M4s. 

Well, they would if they'd been fitted to our test car.  

So that's one feature we can't actually comment on. The plain silver five-spokes that make this white M4 look more like an M-Sported 420d are here because this car is on winter tyres for the drive back from the Geneva show. Probably not a bad idea given the conditions but rather taking some wind out of the sails, both visually and in terms of assessing the apparently sharpened dynamic edge. 

Because the Competition Package isn't just about big wheels and some black 'Shadow Line' trim. There's also a 19hp power increase from 431hp to a round 450hp, a 'modified bedplate' for the crankcase to reinforce the engine for the additional power, revised settings for springs, dampers and anti-roll bars and new settings for the DSC and Active M Differential 'to match the upgraded dynamics'. 

Winter tyres take some aggression out...
Winter tyres take some aggression out...
More, more, more!
As a result it'll hit 62mph from rest a tenth faster in four seconds dead if you've got the optional M Double Clutch automated gearbox, the manual recording a similar advantage over the standard car. All in all a pretty convincing range of upgrades for £3,000 on top of the price of your M3 or M4, or just £2,200 for the M4 Convertible

As sensible as winter tyres might be for the drive back from a wintry Geneva it does rather make comparisons with the regular M4 - a car we know very well here on PH - somewhat difficult. Likewise BMW's reluctance to provide any hard information as to what it's actually done to the suspension settings, which is a pity because this was one of the major areas in need of improvement. 

You would assume, given the whole 'Competition Package' branding and additional power it's gone harder, stiffer and faster. Which initially sounds a little worrying, given wayward damping on bumpy roads and a fierce, spiky power delivery are some of the major criticisms levelled at the standard car. 

So with the pen still hovering over that box on the spec, should you really tick it? 

In the driving rain and on busy Swiss motorways there's an acclimatisation period dialling back into the M4's various quirks, settings and configurations. Eight hours for a nine-hour journey leaves little time for pleasantries though. 

... so here it is fully Packed out
... so here it is fully Packed out
Heavyweight 
Immediate observations are that the steering feels a little different. One of the issues with the standard M3 and M4 is a confidence robbing mush in the first few degrees of movement off-centre and little sense of how much you have to lean against on the front axle. Plenty, given previous experience. Just no feel for it. The mechanically variable rack hasn't been changed but there's definitely been some fiddling with the calibration and more weight in the initial turn of the wheel, which is welcome. No more feel and the same gearing but just a little more to work with. This is promising. 

And then you rumble across some poor quality tarmac. Oof! There's a secondary brittleness there that seems harsher than the standard car, that suspicion the 'recalibration' of springs and dampers does indeed mean stiffening things up. Oh good. 

As the speeds increase you get a suggestion a tad more NVH might actually be worth it. Because a lack of damping in relation to the springs in Comfort mode on the standard car could actually be worrying at times. Get caught in the wrong mode on the wrong bump and the lack of body control - especially in rebound - could make things rather alarming, especially in terms of traction given the sudden variance in contact pressure. 

With a little more damping the body control seems improved, even in Comfort, taming that bucking bronco feeling that could get so scary on damp roads before. In a car this potent a small trade-off in comfort seems worth making. 

Twin-turbo straight six tickled to 450hp
Twin-turbo straight six tickled to 450hp
Hidden talents
It would be nice to see how this combines with the extra rubber on the road and the tweaks to the DSC system and diff too. But conditions don't really allow, the comedy value of making winter tyres squeal on hairpin bends covered in slush and running water making up for it a little. On this showing the MDM mode seems to have a slightly shorter leash than before, pulling you back into line earlier but still smooth and tactful in its interventions and letting you play with the car without your palms getting too sweaty. 

A faster M4 that also feels a little more confidence inspiring to drive? This could be a proper win-win. 

The noise from the now black-tipped exhaust also claims to have been increased, with modifications to the flap-controlled bypass and changes to the rear silencer too. BMW says it gives "a more powerful, stronger character engine sound" and, certainly, it'd seem there's more of this than the stuff over the speakers. Which, again, has to be a good thing. 

Oh, and a diversion via Germany reveals the 155mph limiter has a fairly relaxed view of matters. Probably not entirely sensible on winter tyres rated to 149mph but we do these things so you don't have to. 

We'll get it in the UK properly soon!
We'll get it in the UK properly soon!
Bringing to light another characteristic that may be Competition Package related or possibly down to the weather. But on first application the M Carbon ceramic brakes feel scarily wooden, almost unservoed in fact. Whether BMW has tried to tame the slightly edginess to the initial bite our long termer suffered from or it was simply down to prolonged running in cold temperatures it pays to skim the discs periodically. Especially to avoid squeaky cheeks if you need to rapidly reduce Autobahn speeds to more realistic ones. Not something you'll likely encounter much at home but worth remembering. 

Until we drive the car on its 'proper' wheels and bigger tyres - and on a dry road - there remain some unanswered questions about the Competition Package. But given the apparent improvements in body control, a little extra grunt and the relatively modest additional cost, it would seem to err on the side of no-brainer. Looking a few years down the line to a potential browse of used F80 M3s and F82 M4s in the classifieds it'd certainly be on our spec wish list. And for that reason alone we'd encourage as many buyers as possible to take up the option! 


BMW M4 COMPETITION PACKAGE
Engine
: 2,979cc 6-cyl twin-turbo
Transmission: 6-speed manual/7-speed dual-clutch auto (M DCT), rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 450@5,500rpm
Torque (lb ft): 406@1,850-5,500rpm
0-62mph: 4.2 sec/4.0 sec M DCT
Top speed: 155mph (limited, or perhaps not, as it turns out)
Weight: 1,572kg/1,612kg M DCT (EU, with driver)
MPG: 32.1/34.0 M DCT (NEDC combined)
CO2: 204g/km/194g/km M DCT
Price: £60,055/£62,550 M DCT



 


 


 

 

 

 

Author
Discussion

The JM

Original Poster:

120 posts

161 months

Monday 7th March 2016
quotequote all
Those wheels though . . . .

jamespink

1,029 posts

140 months

Monday 7th March 2016
quotequote all
"it pays to skim the discs periodically" so who does that? I have run M cars for years and just changed the disks when they need it...

GroundEffect

11,049 posts

92 months

Monday 7th March 2016
quotequote all
jamespink said:
"it pays to skim the discs periodically" so who does that? I have run M cars for years and just changed the disks when they need it...
Changing ceramic disks might be slightly punishing to your wallet...

Dan Trent

1,815 posts

104 months

Monday 7th March 2016
quotequote all
Sorry, should have been more specific - skim them of snow/water/whatever every now and then with a light brush of the brake pedal BEFORE you really need them. The weather was pretty atrocious so I'm guessing the initial deadness was due to them being cold or something like that because after a second prod you got the full 'bite' again. But there were a couple of times after running for a while without touching the brakes where the first press of the pedal was a bit 'oh gawd....' I guess that's probably a major difference with driving on quiet French motorways - you could easily drive for 20-30min without any need to brake so by the time you do need to things have cooled right down.

Cheers,

Dan

Krikkit

13,521 posts

117 months

Monday 7th March 2016
quotequote all
Didn't BMW implement a feature in damp weather where it automatically does that? I'm sure I saw a TV ad with that in once upon a time...
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kambites

55,407 posts

157 months

Monday 7th March 2016
quotequote all
Krikkit said:
Didn't BMW implement a feature in damp weather where it automatically does that? I'm sure I saw a TV ad with that in once upon a time...
I thought most mainstream cars subtly pulsed the brakes to keep them dry these days.

Dan Trent

1,815 posts

104 months

Monday 7th March 2016
quotequote all
Pretty commonplace I think; Mercedes certainly had it with its 'brake by wire' SBC system.

More I think about it the more I'm assuming it was likely temperature than actual build up of material on the discs; prolonged running at speed at sub-zero temps the likely culprit. Certainly I never experienced anything like it - or that weather - in the 14K miles I did in the PH Fleet M4 with the same brakes on it.

Cheers,

Dan

Rumblestripe

951 posts

98 months

Monday 7th March 2016
quotequote all
Probably the most agreeably shaped car that BMW have produced in some years. Looks good from most angles and in different colours (not just re-sale silver). And I'm no lover of the cult of the double kidney grille! It seems odd then that people who like them are critical of its dynamics.

Not for me but a handsome motor.

sixspeed

2,006 posts

208 months

Monday 7th March 2016
quotequote all
Krikkit said:
Didn't BMW implement a feature in damp weather where it automatically does that? I'm sure I saw a TV ad with that in once upon a time...
Yes, it's been a feature of DSC for some time now. My 2006 Z4MC has it, so I'd be surprised if it wasn't a feature on a 2016 M4!

RossP

2,213 posts

219 months

Monday 7th March 2016
quotequote all
I would also say that you need to compare a comp pack to a current standard car. Many claim that there were revisions from Sept last year (when the M3 LCI was released) to the suspension over your long termer.

M1C

1,132 posts

47 months

Monday 7th March 2016
quotequote all
I er....


Well...i erm....


eeerrrmm...what i mean to say is errr....

I err...



I like the wheels!

jakesmith

2,772 posts

107 months

Monday 7th March 2016
quotequote all
Working in Marketing myself I already know the answer to this question but why do you have to pay extra for a performance model of a performance car?

GTEYE

1,208 posts

146 months

Monday 7th March 2016
quotequote all
Rumblestripe said:
Looks good from most angles and in different colours (not just re-sale silver).
If you do want a good resale, silver might not be a good choice, its actually quite a niche choice these days...

HighwayStar

2,028 posts

80 months

Monday 7th March 2016
quotequote all
jakesmith said:
Working in Marketing myself I already know the answer to this question but why do you have to pay extra for a performance model of a performance car?
It not just BMW playing that game... And of course no one is putting a gun to their head, it's up to the buyer if they feel the performance on offer is enough or whether they want extra chilli sauce. wink

tali1

5,142 posts

137 months

Monday 7th March 2016
quotequote all
HighwayStar said:
jakesmith said:
Working in Marketing myself I already know the answer to this question but why do you have to pay extra for a performance model of a performance car?
It not just BMW playing that game... And of course no one is putting a gun to their head, it's up to the buyer if they feel the performance on offer is enough or whether they want extra chilli sauce. wink
And no doubt that soon they'll be offering a top up to the chilli sauce biggrin

Wills2

15,132 posts

111 months

Monday 7th March 2016
quotequote all
It would be interesting to know if you've driven an LCI M3/4 Dan? As the car has been changed including the rear dampers to CP spec (even though they haven't told anyone)


RossP

2,213 posts

219 months

Monday 7th March 2016
quotequote all
I already said that wink Don't think Dan has.

Wills2

15,132 posts

111 months

Monday 7th March 2016
quotequote all
RossP said:
I already said that wink Don't think Dan has.
Forgive me but it's such a long thread, I didn't have time to read all the posts....boxedin

D200

514 posts

83 months

Monday 7th March 2016
quotequote all
I wonder could you order the competition package but keep the standard wheels - as the standard 19 inch wheels look much better. Those competition wheels look completely wrong - far too blingly. Would be OK on a Cadillac or something but not an M3.

Even CSL type wheels don't really suit the current M3/M4 - standard ones all the way in my opinion


MWM3

1,352 posts

58 months

Monday 7th March 2016
quotequote all
D200 said:
I wonder could you order the competition package but keep the standard wheels - as the standard 19 inch wheels look much better. Those competition wheels look completely wrong - far too blingly. Would be OK on a Cadillac or something but not an M3.

Even CSL type wheels don't really suit the current M3/M4 - standard ones all the way in my opinion
The standard wheels are excellent especially in the two tone black. If I had ordered a CP I would have wanted to keep these.