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The 2022 BMW M4 Competition xDrive is both the priciest and more importantly, the most performant model in the M4 range. The addition of all-wheel drive allows this Bavarian cruise missile to put its prodigious power to the pavement more effectively, enabling it to blast from 0 to 60 mph in a curt 3.4 seconds, not bad for a machine that's just 21 pounds shy of two tons.
As in other BMW models, a pumped-up 3.0-liter turbocharged I6 enables that rapid acceleration. This liquid-smooth engine delivers a stout 503 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque along with a wailing, though somewhat synthesized sound. An active exhaust system allows you to enjoy aural theatrics or a quiet cruise at the push of a button.
A standard eight-speed automatic transmission works in tandem with that engine, shifting smoothly and easily dropping gears when you open the throttle. Sadly, the M4's six-speed stick is only available in non-Competition versions. Independent of other vehicle settings, you can adjust how the transmission shifts by pushing a button on the backside of the gear selector. The least-aggressive of the three available options is my favorite, which still delivers more than enough performance along with silky gearchanges.
You may not believe this based on the M4 Competition's predatory styling, but its acceleration doesn't hit like a hammer forge, with a gut-punch of low-end torque. Instead, this car's power delivery feels decidedly natural -- naturally aspirated, that is. Unlike other turbocharged engines, this one is incredibly linear, with speed building in lockstep with the tachometer needle. The performance here is undeniably impressive, yet somehow, it's still unsatisfying. The acceleration is so effortless and so seamless that it's no longer an occasion -- there's no sense of accomplishment. Just extend your right foot and you're doing triple digits in a few short seconds. On the street, it's all too easy.
Running on premium-grade fuel, expect 16 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on highway drives. Combined, this super-sporty coupe should return 18 mpg, though in mixed, not overly aggressive driving, I'm averaging 21 and change.
While still a bit synthetic, the M4 Competition's steering is super-sharp, which gives this coupe a lively feel. xDrive models benefit from new front axle geometry and a retuned 14.6:1 steering ratio that's designed to better complement the all-wheel-drive system, which is fully defeatable, meaning you can enjoy this as a pure rear-drive vehicle, perfect for open track days, parking-lot shenanigans or leaving cars and coffee sideways. In testing, all this traction-enhancing hardware is totally seamless; the M4 Competition xDrive basically feels like a rear-drive car, one that should perform better on the track and in wet or freezing weather thanks to its extra grip.
This BMW rolls on staggered width and diameter wheels, with 275/35ZR19s up front and 285/30ZR20s at the rear. With a two-tone finish and a delicate, angular design, these rollers are beautiful and make it easy to drink in the massive brakes. The M4's optional carbon-ceramic binders look awesome and fill up nearly all the space between those wispy spokes. Despite their hot lap-ready thermal capacity, these brakes are as easy to modulate as a Toyota Avalon's, so if you feel like spending the $8,150 they cost, have at it since there's no discernable penalty in everyday street use.
Those wheels are wrapped in gooey Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires, which have a treadwear rating of just 300, meaning they're super soft and extra grippy -- in the right conditions. These tires are undoubtedly amazing on winding mountain roads and your favorite racing circuit, but they're less than ideal in the upper Midwest during late autumn. Even with all-wheel drive, these Michelins are dicey in cold weather and are a serious risk in snow and ice. If you're going to buy one of these BMWs and you live in a four-season region, make sure to get a proper set of winter tires.
The M4 Competition xDrive offers a dizzying array of settings. On top of the transmission's shift behavior, you can adjust the powertrain performance, steering weight and even how the brake pedal feels. This exhaustive customizability is novel, but also completely unnecessary, except for the adjustable dampers. With three selectable levels (Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus), there's a distinct difference between the softest and firmest settings. Sport Plus is bone-jarringly stiff, yet Comfort mode makes the M4 shockingly compliant on the street, extremely livable in day-to-day commuting.
Inside, BMW's iDrive 7 infotainment system is one of the most responsive multimedia arrays in the automotive business and I appreciate that it features both a touchscreen as well as a control dial and buttons on the console, but the user interface is convoluted and it feels like the system tries to do too much. Thankfully, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are supported and both smartphone-mirroring systems can connect wirelessly.
The 2022 BMW M4 Competition xDrive comes with a decent amount of equipment. You get blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and a driver-attention system. Unfortunately, adaptive cruise control with stop and go costs extra. It's bundled along with lane-keeping assist, front and rear cross-traffic alert and more in the modestly priced $1,700 Driving Assistance Professional Package, which this example is not fitted with. My tester does, however, have the $1,800 Executive Package. This options group includes amenities like a heated steering wheel, a power-activated trunk lid, an in-car Wi-Fi hotspot and gesture controls, an altogether useless way of interacting with the infotainment system.
Despite its racy roofline, the M4 is surprisingly spacious inside. The backseat offers plenty of legroom and more headroom than you'd probably expect. Adults should be quite comfortable back there, especially if you avoid the available $3,800 M carbon bucket front seats. The backrests of these chairs are covered with a carbon-fiber applique, which looks beautiful but can be tough on passengers' knees. These seats can also be hard on the driver and person riding shotgun. The bolstering is super-aggressive, especially on the bottom cushion, which makes them a challenge to get into and out of. They also have an odd carbon-fiber-trimmed bulge in the center that pushes your thighs apart. These optional seats are not for the old or old at heart.
The rest of this BMW's interior is nicely done. It's not overwhelmingly ritzy, but there are ample quantities of soft plastic, attractive stitching, Alcantara and, when you fork over an extra $950, lots of carbon-fiber trim. Using this lightweight and super-strong material for decoration is kind of silly (save it for structural applications), but at least it looks cool.
The 2022 BMW M4 Competition xDrive Coupe starts just shy of 80 grand including $995 in delivery fees -- $7,000 more than a regular M4. In addition to the options listed above, this example's price is inflated by a few more extras. The full Merino leather interior costs $2,550, the M Driver's Package, which raises the vehicle's top speed from 155 mph to 180 mph and includes a day of driver training at a BMW Performance Center, adds another $2,500 to the sticker. The M Drive Professional is $900, the Parking Assistance Package is worth $800, and this example's beautiful Skyscraper Grey Metallic paint costs an extra $550. Tally it all up and this coupe checks out for $101,795, a figure that somehow feels both outrageous and reasonable. Crossing the six-figure threshold is a big deal, but owing to its abundant performance and upscale trimmings, the M4 Competition xDrive doesn't feel like a ripoff.