Editors Picks - Where Competition Is A M-agical Word - BMW M3, M4 And M5
If you think of a high-powered performance car, there is no doubt that an M-badged BMW would cross your mind. And you are not alone, because we do too.
With race-proven expertise spanning decades, BMW has brought us the ultimate joy in driving, with each M car generation leaving an indelible mark in the German brand’s storied history.
Away from BMW’s HQ, known affectionately as the 4-cylinder in Munich, and the many different proving grounds where BMW M is present, the letter ‘M’ is far-reaching, with fans young and old alike having a fervent following of the BMW M brand. A brand to many of us that symbolises cars that are more than ready to dominate the competition on the track, yet serve as excellent daily drivers. BMW M have proven time and again that they truly know how to build… The Ultimate Driving Machine.
The new M3 Competition, M4 Competition and M5 Competition are just some of the cars that represent a continuation of this brand story, writing a new chapter in the history of BMW M.
A boldly-styled sedan and coupé should come with a selection of bold colours to match! How about a palette of seven hues that includes Sao Paulo Yellow and Isle of Man Green? The M3 Competition Sedan differentiates itself from the 3 Series, with its extroverted styling; while the M4 Competition Coupé’s powerful-yet-proportionate body design, carries with it muscular bulges and a low-sporty stance. Both cars are equipped with staggered 19”/20” M forged lightweight double spoke wheels in a unique Orbit Grey featuring a gloss-lathe rim flange, cleverly included to highlight where the rims end and where grippy Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres, with a composition specially developed for the BMW, meets the road.
Both cars make equally strong statements. Statements which are backed with BMW’s signature M TwinPower Turbo inline-6 engine, producing 510hp and 650Nm. Many of the drive and chassis technologies seen in both cars have been adapted from BMW’s storied history in motorsport; and you can even experience the joy of setting some of it up yourself, through the BMW M Setup embedded in the infotainment system. Change your driving dynamics parameters, damper settings and even Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) intensity, all but with a few flicks of the virtual sliders. The 8-speed M Steptronic transmission even allows you to adjust how aggressively-quick you wish your gear changes to be, through the Drivelogic programming, with adjustments that can be made on the fly via a rocker switch as you drive. All this, to deliver a class-leading driving experience.
Looking to push the limits with your vehicle (when we can get back to the track again)? The M Dynamic mode allows for even more wheel slip, for a naturally-progressive drive. Why? How about this… simply to put a smile on your face.
Even with their sporty intentions, the interiors of both the M3 Competition and M4 Competition cars, fitted with luxuriously supple ‘Merino’ leather (with four colour themes for you to choose from) that lets your fingers run smoothly over. The unique M Multifunctional seats with their illuminated badges on the headrests, are specially reserved for cars that carry the M badge… a reminder to you that you are truly in something special. If you are someone who tracks your car, you can even opt for M carbon bucket seats, which feature removable headrest cushions to accommodate the rear bulge of your helmet… some clever designing here for you.
Both the high performance sedan and coupé are fitted with BMW’s Operating System 7, fronted by a fully digital 10.25” Control Display. If you are no stranger to BMW’s current operating system, you will know that the iDrive is intuitive, and arguably the best in the industry. The Intelligent Personal Assistant, which comes alive with the activation phrase “Hey BMW’, makes easy work of requesting for your next favourite song, looking for your destination, or even rolling down the window on the other side of the car to let in some fresh air… why not just use the window switches? Just simply tell the car to do so! Because you can.
By the way… are you one of those who names their car? Well how about this, you can customise the Intelligent Personal Assistant with the activation phrase of choice. The system on the M4 I drove, woke up to ‘Hey Sao Paulo Baby!’
In the driver’s seat, a digital 12.3” instrument display features their M Specific instrument cluster for clarity of the most important bits of drive information, and is complemented by a heads-up display; the latter, helping you to keep your focus on the road. Being a high-performing road car, there are days you may want to take things easy, only to find the road, with its tight-twisty bends simply too tempting. The M1 and M2 tabs on the steering allow you to create your very own drive presets, and are intuitively placed; allowing you to switch up to a customised aggressive drive setting with just a push.
While both the sedan and coupé are built to perform, they also make excellent everyday cars. The M3 Competition has the very same seating capacity as its milder siblings, and the M4 Competition boasts leg space at the rear, which is identical to its sedan sibling. Both cars feature a generous boot, with 480 litres for the sedan and 440 litres for the coupé.
The BMW M3 Competition and M4 Competition are similar in many ways, yet built differently to suit your individual needs.
If you are looking for a car that is all ‘business suit’, but you are still keen on one that delivers outright performance when you need it, the new BMW M5 Competition delivers all this and more.
The BMW M5 Competition, which has just gotten a mid-life model refresh, or in BMW talk - Life Cycle Impulse (LCI) takes driving dynamics beyond the 5 Series. The high-performance executive sedan now boasts sharper styling that includes a larger blacked out grilled and equally darkened wing mirrors and reworked tail lamps. Five paint finishes are available to choose from, while polished Orbit Grey 20” M double-spoke light alloys first seen on the BMW M8 have now been made available.
At the heart of the BMW M5 Competition, is a high-revving 4.4 litre M TwinPower Turbo V8 that delivers a whopping 625hp and 750Nm, resulting in explosive acceleration, matched by a throaty soundtrack. The eight-speed M Steptronic transmission sends drive almost always to the rear wheels. Where added grip from the front is required, the M xDrive AWD system sends power to the front wheels, and also controls the car’s Active M Differential. Those who are keen on a pure driving experience will appreciate the system’s ability to alter the M5 Competition’s drive characteristics, and even have it send power solely to the rear wheels for the purest driving experience without driver helping aids to interfere.
Enhanced stopping power is courtesy of standard M Compound brakes, which feature six-piston callipers at the front. The calipers are decorated with a choice of either High-red or High-gloss black, with the M logo proudly sitting on the front units. Those who desire even more braking ability, can rely on the optional M Carbon ceramic brakes. With added resistance to brake fade, they are also 23 kilograms lighter than the standard unit, further reducing unsprung weight.
New shock absorbers, originally seen on the BMW M8 Gran Coupé, are now fitted into the BMW M5 Competition. The new adaptive suspension setup, which can be set in COMFORT, SPORT and SPORT+ modes, adds even better day-to-day driving comfort, without compromising on the car’s precision, especially at high speeds. In ensuring razor-sharp response, the M5 Competition is fitted with bespoke engine mounts that are stiffer than the standard M5, significantly reducing the engine’s movement, making for a car that turns with greater directness and precision.
The driver-centric cabin of the BMW M5 Competition features M functional front seats, upholstered in Merino leather, which have tall side bolsters for excellent lateral support. Sitting in the middle of the dash is a new enlarged 12.3” touchscreen that is powered by BMW’s Operating System 7, includes voice support via the Intelligent Personal Assistant; where activating it by saying ‘Hey BMW’, sets it off to perform various functions… a personal favourite function of mine is using the Intelligent Personal Assistant to change drive modes. This is simply done by saying ‘Hey BMW! I’m bored!’, where the car switches over to ‘Sport’ mode.
Performance aside, the M5 Competition does an excellent job delivering the driving conveniences, like how an executive sedan should. The Driving Assistant Professional not only allows you to enjoy the benefits of adaptive cruise control on the highway, it also makes sure that your vehicle is kept within its lane, intervening when needed. Lane changes are now even easier, with the Lane Change Assistant. When switched on, takes the job of switching lanes just by indicating in the intended direction, and the M5 will perform the manoeuvre, once it is safe to do so.
The BMW M5 Competition is built with the intention to perform as a serious track car. By selecting TRACK mode, which is designed exclusively for race circuits, the system deactivates all the car’s safety and comfort features, while the central display is turned off. The digital instrument cluster then switches to M View, with the Head-Up Display dispensing readouts from the driver assistance systems. Since braking naturally becomes more aggressive on the track, the automatic activation of the hazard warning lights, in response to emergency braking is shut off, and so is the car’s collision warning system.
On most days, where you would need a companion to take you places, you will find that the BMW M5 Competition is an easy to live with everyday car that ticks all the boxes with ease, and even boasts a generous 530 litre boot. Driving it in COMFORT mode, the engine and transmission take you around in a relaxed manner, only with a muted burble of the exhaust occasionally hinting to you that you are driving something really quite extraordinary.
Find out more about the BMW M5 Competition and book a test drive by clicking on the link!
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Credits: Words: Clifford Chow. Photos: Penoramic