Car Enthusiast - click here to access the home page


First drive: BMW M4 Competition Package 2017MY. Image by BMW.

First drive: BMW M4 Competition Package 2017MY
It's 3,000, but you simply must specify the Competition Package on BMW's M4...


<< earlier BMW review     later BMW review >>

Reviews homepage -> BMW reviews

BMW M4 Competition Package 2017MY

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5

Proving our theory that the Competition Package is the way the BMW M4 should always have been from new, this 2017MY variant is a far nicer proposition to drive than the regular - and somewhat spiky - 431hp car. It's not cheap to fit it, lumping 3,000 onto the asking price of either the Coupe or the Convertible, but it does turn the M4 into a vehicle that feels like it truly belongs in the lengthy and venerable M3 lineage. Indeed, so good is the M4 CP that we wonder how the impending 90,000 M4 CS can do things much better...

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: BMW M4 Coupe M DCT Competition Package
Pricing: M4 range from 58,635; M4 Coupe M DCT CP from 64,010; car as tested 70,045
Engine: 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged six-cylinder petrol
Transmission: rear-wheel drive, seven-speed M DCT dual-clutch automatic
Body style: two-door, four-seat coupe
CO2 emissions: 194g/km (1,200 VED first 12 months, then 450 per annum next five years, then 140 annually thereafter)
Combined economy: 34mpg
Top speed: 155mph (limited)
0-62mph: 4.0 seconds
Power: 450hp at 5,500- to 7,300rpm
Torque: 550Nm at 1,800- to 5,500rpm

What's this?

The BMW M4, updated for 2017 as part of the wider incremental improvements to the whole 4 Series family (that means the two-door Coupe, four-door Gran Coupe and the Convertible). But whereas the regular BMWs receive modest aesthetic improvements inside and out, plus several changes to the chassis set-up, the M4 makes do without the latter. Which means all that identifies the 2017MY M4 are its new full-LED headlights and taillights (the twin-hexagon daytime running lamp pattern you can see on the car in the pictures, though, is a cost option called BMW Icon Adaptive Headlights, for 1,200), illuminated M4 badges on the front seats, electroplated chrome trim for the air vents and double stitching on the instrument panel. Subtle stuff in the extreme.

However, when BMW launched the 'E46' third generation of M3 in 2000, it did bugger all to its appearance for the rest of its six-year life, save slotting in LED rear lamps around 2002, so maybe the company is playing on its heritage here by leaving the M4 well alone. We can fully understand this reluctance to change the architecture, because steroidal good looks have always been the M4's hallmark. What we've not always enjoyed is the car's unyielding chassis with its fixed rear sub-frame, which can make the M4 a right handful in damp conditions. Luckily, the excellent Competition Package, for 3,000, continues on the facelifted M4 and this brings in a 19hp increase in horsepower to a 450hp maximum, plus changes to the Active M Differential, the car's three driving modes, the DSC system and the springs, dampers and anti-roll bars of the Adaptive M Suspension.

There's another 'new thing' for the M4 and it's the Exterior Carbon Package, exhibited by the car we tested. Another 3,000 option, it trims the lower bits of the body kit, plus the rear diffuser and boot lip spoiler in the desirable, lightweight material. But the door mirrors (400) are not part of the bundle and if you want carbon finishers for the cabin as well, that's another 850 - albeit it does bring in a nice Alcantara steering wheel too. Anyway, what with 2,645 M DCT gearboxes and Competition Packages and Carbon Packages and Icon Headlights, you can quickly see how you can end up in an M4 that no longer costs less than 60,000, but instead is the far side of 70 grand, like our test car... gulp.

How does it drive?

Never have two little letters meant so much to a car. If you're in the camp of disliking the regular M4, then the addition of 'CP' to its title will wow you with its ability to metamorphose a rather angry and ragged coupe into one that feels like the rounded and resolved classic M3s of yore. Granted, you still have to treat the big Beemer with respect - it has 550Nm flowing through its back wheels alone, firm suspension and a kerb weight of around a tonne-and-a-half, so you will constantly feel the rear end of the car moving around if you're injudicious with either the throttle or brakes at inopportune moments, but now it feels like the M4 is more progressive, without losing the wealth of excitement that is a result of driving the BMW quickly.

Everything that is good about the regular car, like the steering, the brakes, the whip-crack M DCT gearbox and the phenomenal body control, is preserved, but what the Competition Pack does is calms down the driven axle, blessing the coupe with more fluid body movements and a sure-footedness that are both missing in the 431hp version. The result is that, even in wet conditions, there's a marked upsurge in driver confidence, because you feel more comfortable with how the BMW might react if it suddenly encounters a mid-corner bump when you've already got the suspension loaded up.

This makes it, like any good BMW M car of the last two decades, stonkingly quick across ground and hugely rewarding if you're brave with it. While the engine note never quite matches the spine-tingling yowl of the preceding model's 4.0-litre V8, or even the 'S54' straight-six of that aforementioned E46, there's still a nice hard-edged tone to it and it delivers thunderous acceleration across the rev range, given the broadness of the peak torque plateau. And the better news yet is that the M4 CP is as civil, refined and easy-going to simply cruise around in as the regular car is; there's no significant detriment to the ride quality as a result of the improved suspension set-up. All of which means choosing the Competition Package for the M4 is surely a no-brainer, 3,000 or not.


The verdict depends on which of two BMW M4 camps you fall into in bar-room conversation. If you love the M4 in its regular guise, then the Competition Package is going to seem like a waste of three grand, as it doesn't bring a lot to the table over and above the standard machine. If you're like this correspondent, though, and you think the M4 is an untameable animal with 431hp, then the CP is transformative. You still have to treat the BMW with respect, both in the dry and the wet, but it's a far more controllable and cohesive machine with the package fitted. That makes the 2017MY BMW M4 CP a brilliant performance car, then, which lays down a stiff marker the forthcoming and expensive M4 CS has to beat. Tough job.

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Exterior Design

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Interior Ambience

4 4 4 4 4 Passenger Space

4 4 4 4 4 Luggage Space

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Safety

4 4 4 4 4 Comfort

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Driving Dynamics

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Powertrain

Matt Robinson - 19 May 2017    - BMW road tests
- BMW news
- 4 Series images

2017 BMW M4 Coupe with Competition Package. Image by BMW.2017 BMW M4 Coupe with Competition Package. Image by BMW.2017 BMW M4 Coupe with Competition Package. Image by BMW.2017 BMW M4 Coupe with Competition Package. Image by BMW.2017 BMW M4 Coupe with Competition Package. Image by BMW.

2017 BMW M4 Coupe with Competition Package. Image by BMW.2017 BMW M4 Coupe with Competition Package. Image by BMW.2017 BMW M4 Coupe with Competition Package. Image by BMW.2017 BMW M4 Coupe with Competition Package. Image by BMW.2017 BMW M4 Coupe with Competition Package. Image by BMW.


Internal links:   | Home | Privacy | Contact us | Archives | Old motor show reports | Follow Car Enthusiast on Twitter | Copyright 1999-2024 ©