REVIEW | BMW's M4 Competition has driving characteristics to set it apart from the M3

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• We review the BMW M3 Competition's coupé singling, the M4 Competition.

• The car is powered by the same powertrain as its sedan counterpart.

• The M4 Competition offers a different drive to the M3 Competition.

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When a new car comes to market, it will divide opinion. Some might love the living daylight out of it, while others may walk away feeling less… inspired. I recently came away a bit underwhelmed after driving the all-new (G80) BMW M3 Competition. For every reason known to man, I should have probably sung its praises, but it just didn't stir the emotions as anticipated. Whether down to personal driving style or perhaps mentally overhyping the experience, it was not what I thought it would be.

The M3 Competition is undoubtedly fast, but it felt like you are just a passenger to the driving experience. The previous M3, the F80 generation, had plenty of shove and involved the driver from the moment the engine barked to life. It was a wild car, but oh so fun!

Alongside the G80 M3 Competition, BMW also launched the car's coupé sibling - the G82 M4 Competition. In essence, it is the same car as its sedan version - the chassis, engine, gearbox, interior - yet there was something different about it. Whether it was the 'dropping the expectation' posture once behind the wheel, or the fact that there are subtle differences between it and the M3, the all-new BMW M4 Competition left a positive impression.

2021 BMW M4 Competition

Subtle differences, notable change?

Alongside the M3 Competition, one might not say that there is much of a difference between the two cars. The cars' length is unchanged at 4 794mm, while the 2 857mm wheelbase is also unaltered. The M4 Competition's width of 1 887mm is also 16mm narrower than the M3. On size, though, there is not much to choose between the two. However, because the M4 Competition's height is a tad lower than the sedan's (1 393mm vs 1 433mm) and the roof has a sloping effect as it meets the rear window, boot space in the M4 Competition is 40L less than the sedan's (480L) and space for rear passengers are also slightly compromised. Weight-wise, the coupé's kerb weight of 1 800kg bests the sedan's by 5kg.

So, if it is essentially the same vehicle, how can there be a difference in the way it drives?

READ: REVIEW | New gearbox, more clinical... Has BMW done its new M3 Competition justice?

The M4 Competition's weight advantage comes into play when pushing through some corners. Add the lower height to the equation, and the car feels more planted thanks to the lower centre of gravity. It has to the effect that the coupé reacts differently to steering inputs, and its reaction to throttle inputs feels marginally better than the M3's. It might not be noticeable from the off, but BMW managed to gift each car with its own personality and characteristics. It's not uncommon that both cars will speak to a driver, but the automaker knows that each variant brings something unique to the market.

While there have been murmurs that modern cars are similar to the next, BMW's M3 and M4 Competition is the perfect case study that it's not the case. They're the same, but couldn't be more different. And I like that.

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bmw m3,bmw m4
2021 BMW M3 (green) and M4 - both in Competition trim
Quick stats: 2021 BMW M4 Competition

Price: R1 959 182 (before options)

Engine: 3.0-litre, turbo petrol

Power: 375kW @ 6 250rpm

Torque: 650Nm @ 2 750 - 5 500rpm

Gears: Eight-speed automatic

Drive: Rear-wheel

0-100km/h: 3.9 seconds

Top speed: 250km/h (limited)

Front tyres: 275/40 R18 (optional: 275/35 R19)

Rear tyres: 285/35 R19 (optional: 285/30 R20)

Maintenance Plan: 5-years or 100 000km

Warranty: 2-years or unlimited km

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