2016 BMW M4 Competition Package Review

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Automakers offer optional performance upgrades for their fast models in full certainty that many buyers will ante up the extra money to make sure they’re getting the faster version. Why wouldn’t the buyer who’d already selected a BMW M4 want still more power and a further-tuned chassis, the attributes that already drive the decision to go for the M model over the workaday 4-series coupe?

Hence the Competition package, a $5500 option on the BMW M4 and its M3 sedan sibling that gives a fractional boost in horsepower along with firmer chassis settings, some subtle styling tweaks, and a raspier exhaust. To be released late in the 2016 model year, it will be more widely available for 2017.

Don’t buy it for the extra performance; in ordinary driving, you won’t feel it. The Competition package brings 19 more horsepower, taking the total to 444. We’d be lying if we said that, despite this four-percent-higher peak output, it felt any faster or slower than the impressively rapid standard car. Only the peak power changes, and it arrives at 7000 rpm, 300 rpm lower than in the standard M4; torque remains rated at 406 lb-ft, starting at 1850 rpm and staying there through 5500. BMW claims that the Competition package cuts 0.1 second off the coupe’s zero-to-60-mph time. In our tests, the standard M4 with manual transmission gets to 60 mph in 4.1 seconds; make that 3.7 with the optional ($2900) seven-speed DCT automatic. Paring a tenth off those times is not a difference you’d be able to detect without accurate test equipment and a long straight.

The chassis changes offer a more compelling reason to pay the extra, and that’s despite making the ride even firmer in what was already a firmly suspended car. The Competition package includes the Adaptive M suspension (otherwise a $1000 stand-alone option) with rear-axle air springs, but with spring rates that are 15 percent stiffer, upgraded dampers, and more twist-resistant anti-roll bars. Software settings for the various switchable dynamic systems also are reconfigured, effectively moving each of them up a notch. Comfort is the equivalent of the standard M4’s sport mode, sport is in line with the regular car’s sport plus, and the Competition package’s sport plus calibration is for the hard-core driver who gargles gravel for breakfast. Complete review on www.caranddriver.com, by Manufacturer

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