Are the BMW M3 and M4 Competition Packages Worth It?
On January 13, BMW announced that variants of its popular M3 Sedan, M4 Coupe, and M4 Convertible will be receiving a nice little set of go-fast upgrades, even when most critics and auto enthusiasts already consider them to be damn near perfect. Designed to improve upon what’s already known as “the perfect combination of high-performance sports car engineering with unrestricted everyday utility,” this trio of track-ready German jokers are due for an upgrade in the spring of 2016, so prepare your pocketbooks.
BMW says this special Competition Package from its M GmbH division combines “added sporty personality with enhanced dynamics,” via a series of extensive handling upgrades and a boost that brings output from 425 all the way up to 444 horsepower. This bump in performance means that zero-to-60 times in the M3 Sedan and M4 Coupe can now be reached in 3.8 seconds instead of in 3.9, and that the M4 Convertible reaches in 4.1 seconds rather than in 4.2. It should be noted, however, that these numbers are for cars equipped with the optional 7-speed M Double Clutch Transmission (M-DCT). In six-speed manual versions, the sprint to 60 is 0.1 seconds quicker across the board.
So are these packages really worth it, or are they just over-inflated fluff, designed to lure buyers in with promises of performance that only deliver 0.1 seconds of additional oomph when the chips are down?
After looking over the specs, we can safely say that these upgrades are totally worth it, and for quite a few reasons. First, this is a surprisingly inexpensive upgrade for BMW’s M- cars, with Competition Packages for the M3 Sedan and Coupe retailing for around $5,500, and the M4 Convertible package going for a meager $5,000. That may sound like a lot to most people, but when you see everything that comes in these kits, the value they offer may make your pocketbook sing.
All three Competition Packages include Adaptive M Suspension, which has been extensively re-tuned in order to enhance performance and handling in any conditions. Featuring new spring rates, recalibrated dampers, and larger anti-roll bars, this kit comes complete with reconfigured driving modes to make Comfort, Sport, and Sport+ settings even more comfortable, sportier, and sport plus-ier. The “Active M Differential” on the rear axle and “Dynamic Stability Control” have also been reconfigured to match the rest of the car.
Inside the M3 and M4 Coupe, the Competition Package includes special lightweight M sports seats that combine additional bolstering for track excursions, while still being pliant enough for adventures down the open road. Another nice interior touch that comes with these kits are seat belts that have BMW M stripes woven into their folds, a visual upgrade that makes for a noticeable exclamation mark.
On the outside, you get a set of forged, machine-polished, multi-spoke 20-inch M alloy wheels with extra sticky compound tires to match the staggered 20×9, 20×10 rollers. Other subtle external styling upgrades mirror those found on the inside, like the M sports exhaust system receiving black chrome tailpipes, which will reportedly make for a far more noticeable growl under throttle. BMW states that “the starting rumble and the distinctive burble on over run never fail to get under the skin of dedicated drivers,” as this exhaust system offers “added emotional resonance to the driving experience.”
High-gloss Shadow Line exterior trim serves as the other major exterior tweak. Since both vehicles already come standard with a high-gloss black finish on side window trim, window recess finishers, and exterior mirrors, the Competition Package brings it to the BMW kidney grille, side gills, and the model badge out back. It may not be the most extreme external “upgrade” we’ve ever seen, but with these cars already wild enough, they don’t need much more.
So what if the kit only helps get you to 60 0.1 seconds faster? You’re already rocketing there in well under five seconds! Who cares if there isn’t some insane aero package or big brake kit included with this OEM upgrade? The standard M brakes are already massive, and the body sculpting is plenty wild as it is. For $5,000 you’ll be hard pressed to find a better set of upgrades for so little on a BMW because even if the re-tuned suspension, exhaust, and interior touches don’t strike your fancy, those forged wheels and performance tires alone are worth close to five grand, making this kit a must-have for true M Series enthusiasts.