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Garage review: BMW M4 Competition Package is love at first slide

The arrival of the M4 CS threatened to give TopGearSA a big case of the envies since up until this point we remain resolute in our opinion that there is no better M4 than the M4 Competition Package we’re driving right now. Fact. It’s got the extra kilowatts, the lightened body, better seats, better traction. Less scary yet faster. This is flawless product evolution you might expect from a tech company who offer over-the-air updates.

This is the car I had the pleasure of driving, finished in lovely Sakhir Orange paintwork. Torque remains the same at 550Nm, which settle some 50Nm below that in the GTS. But anyone who has driven it will know very well that this car possesses enough torque to overwhelm the rear tyres on a zealous stomp of the throttle. The M4 Competition Package develops a hot temper from the way it hands out that torque; at 2000 rpm you have everything at your disposal which makes the ESC drip-feed power if you’re used to burying your right foot willy-nilly.

Did I mention that this was a facelift M4 Compeition Package? Which means new full LEDs at the rear and darker LEDs at the front with an intricate hexagonal design that leaves little animations when locking or unlocking. BMW’s also standardised the 20-inch wheel from the M4 GTS, except not in Oros orange but rather a less distracting anthracite colour. In short, the facelift conveys purpose while juggling the middle-child syndrome. To top it off, the cabin is the latest to have the digital display in the dashboard, exuding a more modern look and feel and before I forget, the seats have large holes either side of your spine. Why? Nobody knows. Kids like to stick their feet through them.

The 2018 BMW M4 Competition Package has not changed the persona of the M4, if anything the added power means it’s ready to hurl insults at you through the exhausts, even faster than the old car did. The only way you can get the most out of this car without any systems reigning you in is if you drive the car in MDM mode, which loosens the ESC’s grip but leaves the big rescue measures in place. This setting, to be saved on either M1 or M2 mode on the steering wheel, is the sweet spot as the car becomes livelier without the vices but still in a fun sort of way.

If you swallow a brave pill and switch everything off, you’ll be met with a car that leaves you to your own devices. Ask yourself though, are you Chris Harris? Do you live sideways? Is it relevant or does it make for good pictures and hourly-rated tyre life? If the answer is Yes to those questions, it will be love at first slide. If you answer No, this M4 Competition Package is still our default M model on sale and while the facelifted versions are mostly cosmetic versus the predecessor it has everything one could wish for from a driver’s toolbox.


  • Price: R1 453 036 (as tested)
  • 2979cc 6-cyl, twin turbo petrol, RWD, 331kW, 550Nm
  • 8.3l/100km, 194g/km
  • 0-100km/h 4.0secs, 280km/h
  • 1537kg
  • Tester’s notes: Extremely rewarding but requires skill to fully exploit its capabilities.



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