BMW M4 Competition xDrive Coupe — Loaded with driving thrills

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

(April 3, 2022) During the time we were experiencing the thrilling performance of a 2022 BMW M4 Competition xDrive Coupe we saw the list of finalists for World Car of the Year honors and among the final three World Performance Cars of the Year was the M4. No surprise here. We had our hands on the ultimate version with 503 horsepower and all-wheel drive. But it seems, the “grand prize” World Car of the Year award is out of the range of any vehicle with an internal combustion engine (ICE) — all three 2022 finalists are motivated by electric motors.

But before the pendulum swings too far green, we were blessed with the opportunity to rediscover the excitement brought on by a massive sweet-sounding twin-turbocharged inline 6 in an "Ultimate Driving Machine" — something that cannot be exactly duplicated by an EV no matter how massive the electric motors and battery packs may be.

We think no matter what the future holds, the internal combustion engine will never leave the hearts and minds of drivers around the world. It's cars like the 2022 BMW M4 that will keep the ICE flame flickering through the ages.

The compact-sized M4 is the sibling of the M3 sedan and has been only available as a coupe until now. For the 2022 model year a convertible variant has been added. The M4 is a head turner and comes with the new "big" kidney grille that has been panned in some circles, but a styling statement that we have come to like.

The 2022 M4 is available is four versions — Coupe, Competition, Competition xDrive Coupe and Competition xDrive convertible. Every M4 is powered by a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine, making 473 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque in the Coupe and 503 hp and 479 lb-ft in the Competition. A six-speed manual transmission comes standard on the Coupe, and an eight-speed automatic is optional. The eight-speed auto is standard on Competition models.

And this is the first time either the M3 or M4 has been offered with all-wheel drive, called xDrive in BMW parlance. The system is rear-biased, meaning it only sends power to the front wheels when the car senses it needs additional grip.

Driving the M4 Competition was nothing short of a thrill-fest. We found the acceleration exhilarating and it took great restraint to keep our foot out of the gas. The need for speed is certainly satisfied with a published 0-to-60 time of 3.4 seconds in the Competition. And when the road starts curving, the M4 is more than capable of cornering well beyond the posted limits.

Our test car with the automatic transmission shifted crisply and reacted quickly when a downshift during aggressive driving was demanded, but it also worked great for sedately cruising around town. The M4 Competition's steering is sharp, which gives the coupe a lively feel. The standard adaptive suspension did a good job of keeping the car planted when blazing through the turns.

The interior is a great place to live with ample adjustment for front-seat leg room. It was easy to find a near-perfect driving position. The back seat is more spacious than you might think, but it is difficult to enter and exit for older, expanding bodies.

A caution — the optional $3,800 M carbon bucket seats can be extremely uncomfortable. The bolstering is aggressive, especially on the bottom cushion, which makes them a challenge to get into and out of. These optional seats are not for the old or young at heart, and avoiding this option is an excellent way to save nearly four grand on the price of the car.

The M4 comes with a mix of standard and optional driver aids, including adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring and parking sensors. A $1,700 Driving Assistance Professional package is only available on the M4 Competition and it adds traffic jam assist, lane-keeping assistant, evasion aid, and emergency stop assistant. BMW also offers some noteworthy individual options for the M4. One of the well-known options is the $8,150 M carbon-ceramic brakes that were not included on our tester.

Despite its high level of driving prowess, the coupe had a relatively comfortable ride if a bit on the firm side. The adaptive suspension absorbed road imperfections without rattling our teeth. Interior noise is at an acceptable level at interstate speeds, with a more refined interior ambiance than its performance persona would suggest.

The base M4 coupe starts at $72,795. If you want the extra horses and extreme driving bits and pieces that the Competition brings, the starting price is $75,695. Move up to AWD in the Competition and the base price climbs to $79,795. Be aware that there are numerous expensive — but desirable — options that can run the price into the stratosphere. For instance, our test coupe included a nice assortment of options raising the bottom line to $95,245.

2022 BMW M4 Competition


Base price: $72,795; as driven, $95,245
Engine: 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged inline 6
Horsepower: 503 @ 6,250 rpm
Torque: 479 pound-feet @ 2,750 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Drive: all-wheel
Seating: 2/2
Wheelbase: 112.5 inches
Length: 189.1 inches
Curb weight: 3,979 pounds
Turning circle: 40 feet
Luggage capacity: 12 cubic feet
Fuel capacity: 15.6 gallons (premium)
EPA rating: 16 city, 22 Highway, 18 combined
0-60:  3.4 seconds (Car and Driver)
Also consider: Chevy Corvette, Lexus RC, Ford Shelby GT500

The Good
• Breath-taking acceleration
• Grippy handling
• Useable rear-seat space
• Available all-wheel drive

The Bad
• Some drive settings needlessly complex

The Ugly

• Polarizing grille design