Grilling Me Softly - The All-New BMW M3 Competition

clifford chow
31 Mar 2021

The characteristic smoothness of that inline-six is one of the best things that BMW has brought to the table

BMW’s new grille design has been polarising, with most people I have spoken to hating it, and quite a few who have seen it first-hand actually liking it.

Whatever the case is, BMW here has launched both their high-performance BMW M3 and M4 cars, and for Singapore, we will only get the higher-spec Competition modes for both sedan and coupe. Sadly, BMW will also not bring in the ‘Touring’ (Estate) variant of the M3, as they deem that demand will be too low… pfft.

We spent a whole day getting ourselves acquainted with both the Sedan and Coupe and truly liked the experience that both cars delivered. While the vertical grille design might be a controversial design, it actually has its roots in the 328 built back in the 1930s. 

The M3 Competition shares very much the same front end as its coupe sibling, but that is where the similarities end. Compared to the bread-and-butter 3 Series, you get heaps of banged-out wheel arches to enjoy. And this includes my favourite design quirk, where the rear wheel arches step out abruptly from behind the rear doors. 

Diving through denser areas where plenty of gawking eyes, coupled with pointing fingers tells me that BMW has gotten the design right, with its extroverted styling. The Isle of Man Green exterior actually works well when paired with Kyalami Orange and Black Merino leather interior. The M Sports seats deliver you the best of both worlds, with all the support that you need, while their supple Merino leather surfaces, with a texture as smooth as a baby’s bottom are just ideal for longer journeys. As an option, you could shell out more for a couple of M carbon bucket seats, which feature removable headrests to accommodate your helmet; just ideal for that track day up North. Being the more practical option of the two cars, the M3 Competition also sports a larger boot, with 480 litres available, versus the 440 litres the M4 Competition sister car has to offer.

The characteristic smoothness of that inline-six is one of the best things that BMW has brought to the table. Some numbers here… the 3.0 delivers 510hp, with the engine maxing out at 7,200rpm, while peak torque of 650Nm, steps in from between 2,750 to 5,500rpm. And sure, 0-100km/h in 3.9 seconds if you are curious.

Since we did slip in and out of both the M3 and M4 within the same day, we can tell you that the sedan is a little more pliant on the road, just a little… Stab onto the throttle that inline-6 will deliver a kick to the rear, with a near supercar-like urgency. The variable-ratio steering feels natural and accurate, as you sling the M3 Competition into corners, with surgical precision; and where somehow the BMW seems to egg you on. 

If you are one for a more enthusiastic drive, activating M Dynamic mode allows for even more wheel slip, allowing you to step that rear end out of a corner, just ideal for those Sepang track days in the near future (we hope).

I suddenly stopped, and realised that I really missed those track days... 

When not flexing your driving skills, the new M3 Competition does a fine job of being a boulevard cruiser; perhaps not as silky-smooth as the M5 (which we also got the opportunity to drive, and we will have a story out later) with its muscular 4.4 litre V8. Like the rest of their new BMW range, the M3 Competition is also equipped with their Operating System 7, and boasts a comprehensive suite of features, including their Reversing Assistant, which is great for getting you out of tight spots.

In the case where many of us would like a car that does everything, the BMW M3 Competition is simply one of those… racetrack-capable machine included. The M3 Competition is available now from $446,888.

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