For those drivers who feel that lots of performance isn’t quite enough BMW Australia is now importing the BMW M3 Competition sedan, and M4 Competition coupe and convertible. Our test week in the hottest BMW M3 sedan was an extremely enjoyable one.
M3 Competition has even stronger engine performance, recalibrated steering, suspension and stability settings than the standard M3. Its springs are 15 per cent stiffer and the Adaptive M suspension has firmer damper settings across Comfort, Sport and Sport+ modes. Anti-roll bars and bushings are also changed to suit. The Active M Differential can lock the rear axle between a range of zero and 100 per cent.
Forged, machine-polished star-spoke 20-inch M light alloy wheels follow the design of the BMW M4 GTS competition car and carry Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres (265/30 R20 front, 285/30 R20 rear).
Sourced from BMW Individual, the M3 Competition package has Shadow Line exterior trim. A black high-gloss finish highlights the BMW kidney grille, side gills, window trims and rear model badge. The quad tailpipes of the M sports exhaust system are also in black high-gloss.
The wheels sit inside bulging wheel arches and the long bonnet features a power dome in its centre. The bulge is there to make space for the large intercooler.
Inside are exclusive M leather trimmed seats with cut-outs to reduce weight. Woven BMW M stripes stitched into the seat belts add further allure to the interior.
ENGINE / TRANSMISSIONS
Powering the M3 Competition sedan is a highly tuned version of the M TwinPower Turbo 3.0-litre straight-six engine. It has an enhanced sports exhaust system and now produces 331kW, up 14 kW from the standard unit, peak torque remains as before at 550 Nm.
With the seven-speed M Double Clutch transmission it gets to 100 km/h from rest in 4.0 seconds, you can’t help but think the engineers would have loved to get it down into the three-second bracket.
As with the standard M3 and M4 variants the Competition models have Extended smartphone connectivity; Navigation System Professional; Park Distance Control, front and rear; a16-speaker harman/kardon sound system with DAB+ digital radio tuner; BMW ConnectedDrive with Intelligent Emergency Call, TeleServices, ConnectedDrive Services, Remote Services, Real-Time Traffic Information, Concierge Services and Internet access.
As well has having superb active safety, the ability to avoid a crash, the BMW M3 Competition also has the company’s Active Crash Protection system. This activates a series of protective measures if it senses a crash is imminent, including closing the windows and sunroof (if fitted), tightening the seat belts, and post-collision.
There are IsoFix attachment points in the rear for child safety seats.
We are all aware that today’s best automatic transmissions are better than humans at maximising acceleration with ultra-fast changes. But if you want to add your driving pleasure you can get, for no extra charge, a six-speed manual. Okay so it takes 0.2 seconds longer to get to 100, but who cares? Our review car had the automatic transmission, perhaps we will try for a manual next time.
At low revs and speeds you do feel some turbo lag, but once that’s passed the M3 Competition is a stunner, with fast response.
What BMW likes to call ‘track-honed acoustics’ give the M3 all the right crackles and spits when driving in anything other than a very tame manner. We love it!
The dual-clutch gearbox can be a bit cranky at times at very low speeds in parking situations and the wide tyres can also add to the difficulty. If you can’t drive around problems like this you should not be buying a high-performance car…
Handling is limpet-like thanks to the basic standard balance of the car and further aided by the excellent Competition features built into the suspension, steering and tyres. The feel through the steering is spot on, with just the right amount of power assistance.
Comfort does suffer at times, which is hardly unexpected given the stiffer suspension items. Tyre noise is also a factor, but we’ve heard worse in other high-performance machines.
Official fuel consumption of the BMW M3 is 8.3 litres per 100 kilometres. In real life we found ours using 10 to 12 litres per hundred kilometres under sensible daily driving, getting up into the high teens if you get properly stuck into it.
Open road and motoring driving can bring it down to eight to nine litres range.
BMW’s latest M3, the Competition variant will bring a smile to the faces of any keen driver, all the more so if they do decide to take it on track days and really put ‘competition’ into their lives in the true sense of the word.
AT A GLANCE
BMW M3 Competition 3.0-litre turbo-petrol four-door sedan: $144,615 (automatic)
Note: This price does not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local BMW dealer for drive-away prices.
SPECIFICATIONS (BMW M3 Competition 3.0-litre turbo-petrol four-door sedan)
Capacity: 2.979 litres
Configuration: Six cylinders in line
Maximum Power: 317 kW @ 5500 rpm
Maximum Torque: 550 Nm @ 1850 rpm
Fuel Type: Premium unleaded
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 8.3 L/100km
CO2 Emissions: 194 g/km
DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Length: 4671 mm
Wheelbase: 2812 mm
Width: 1877 mm
Height: 1424 mm
Turning Circle: 12.2 metres
Kerb Mass: 1560 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 60 litres
Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Ventilated disc
Three years / unlimited km