Tag: BMW M4

Defining ludicrous in the BMW M4 Competition

The polarizing BMW G80 M3 and G82 M4 have been in the market for quite some time now. Originally stirring up the automotive world at their initial unveiling with what BMW considers a bold choice in design, their imposing aesthetics have become subordinate to an overwhelmingly positive reception for their ability on the road. We spent a few days with the impressively quick M4 Competition model so we could understand just how ludicrous the new range really is. 

Since the exterior of the car seems to have been covered in more depth this year than the entire Covid pandemic was reported on last year, I thought it would be a good idea to first dabble on the overall driving experience. I spent two fleeting days with the M4 before being whisked away to Cape Town.

The entire flight to the Mother City consisted of reliving experiences behind the wheel, either bringing the S58 motor alive or simply trundling along in an attempt to keep the fuel consumption at a reasonable number. In both scenarios, onlookers simply can’t get enough and encouragingly spur the pig-nosed beast along. It remains a staple of Mzansi car culture despite its looks.

The most ludicrous portion of the driving experience is how easily it can pick up speed, which means any innocent jaunts on the highway or open road can very quickly turn into a run-in with law enforcement.

It may not be the segments most confident off the line with a 3.9 second sprint time but the strong 3.0-litre, twin turbocharged straight six very easily and effortlessly pushes the speedometer over and beyond the designated speed limit on any stretch of road you happen to traverse.

Power and torque is rated similarly amongst its chief rivals, an identical 375kW to the Mercedes Benz C63s while the Bavarian is equipped with 650Nm of torque, 50 more than the RS5 but also 50 less than the V8 powered Mercedes. Despite all of the power from the traditionally sonorous motor, I can only help but feel that it should sound better for the performance it produces. 

Where the new M4 Competition feels vastly superior is with its free-revving motor which has lightweight motorsport inspired components installed. The turbochargers provide peak torque from as low as 2650rpm while maximum power arrives at 6250rpm, ultimately rendering the experience identical to that of a naturally aspirated motor. This encourages the use of the full rev range and makes driving predictable and surprisingly easy to do considering the power on tap underneath the right foot. 

Helping the S58 motor shift into warp speed and into the clutches of the periled speeding cameras is done with the help of an automatic 8-speed ZF gearbox. This choice is the only disappointment in this unrivalled driving experience so far.

Not only is it a step backwards from the violent, but engaging dual-clutch transmissions (DCT) from the generation before but also a far more numb and docile experience of what drivers expect. BMW have incorporated a drive logic selector button on the shifting knob which adjusts the level of aggression accordingly but even the harshest setting provides no match for the bygone DCTs.

The one advantage this provides however, is the ability to use this car comfortably on a daily basis. In fact, the time spent shifting in slow moving traffic or mindlessly accelerating and decelerating from robot to robot on urban commutes is where the smooth transmission selection shines brightest.

The same can be said for the suspension, the three available driving modes dial it into the desired setting but in its most plush, it is unfazed by mild road imperfections. 

The good character balance continues when more exciting settings are selected. More lively steering, throttle input and suspension presents a car that is impressively capable of handling the twisties as much as it is for straight stretches of tarred surface. The firm suspension mitigates body roll around corners while the lightweight and lively rear-end characteristically tend to swing around, requiring a touch of counter steer to keep things in check. Its many capable personalities make it a highly usable performance car that is inherently fun to drive, even on a day-to-day basis.

As enjoyable as its on road experience is, this wouldn’t be an article about the new M3 and M4 if there wasn’t an insert about the exterior aesthetics. While the worst of the memes and jokes are behind us, the ludicrous statement that BMW intended to make was achieved. It doesn’t look like anything else on the road and has potentially forged a future design direction that the Bavarian brand is yet to perfect. 

That being said, the black on Sapphire Black Metallic finish seemed to conceal many of the niggles with the design choices. The imposing, air inhaling front kidney grilles are more concealed while the over-emphasised masculine linework stretching from the grille onto the bonnet is slightly more subtle. BMW purists who embrace tradition would also despair to know that the iconic Hoffmeister kink which is prevalent on the side glass on the C pillar of all that have come before this M4 has been inverted and looks generic rather than traditional.

In the time since its launch, many have become unperturbed with the imposing grilles. While this will always remain a subjective topic, a car that costs as much as R2 million should have you falling in love from the very first time and every subsequent occasion thereafter. Speaking of the price tag and remaining with the ludicrous theme, an entry level M4 Competition will come in at R1 957 388. It’s hard to believe that the once affordable performance vehicle, which stemmed from the humble roots of the original M3 E30 is now a smidge under R2 million without options. 

Keep in mind that add ons can push the number as high as R2.5 million, which is more or less where our press unit was priced at. With the M Carbon Exterior Package valued at R100 800 and the M carbon bucket seats coming in at R82 500, it is easy to understand why. Just like the styling on the exterior, the interior has been turned up to 11 and is a continuation of the ludicrous design theme.

Wild colour combinations, sunk-in seats and carbon fiber dominate the cabin but it simply doesn’t feel as plush and luxurious as something that is R2.5 million should. This is a number that quickly encroaches on the likes of a well specced BMW M5 Competition which for that price feels like better value for money.

That being said though, the experience in the cabin is completely immersive, especially in those carbon bucket seats which are tightly slung to the floor. The firm seat bolsters keep the front occupants secure albeit with limited comfort while anyone with the misfortune of sitting in the second row of seats will develop scoliosis during any journey from bending their neck to fit into the low slung C pillar.

There are other questionable choices with the M4 Competition that make me feel like it is neither here nor there. Obsessive amounts of lightweight carbon fiber have been used throughout the construction of the car while counter intuitive add-ons defeat its intended function.

For example; the racing inspired carbon bucket seats which allude to pure, lightweight racing interiors make use of heavy electric motors for adjustment. The same can be said with the electric tailgate while carbon fiber features in the form of a spoiler and rear diffuser are perched above and below it. 

The nonsensical thinking does not end at the comfort orientated features while we are on the topic of the rear diffuser. The intricately shaped, bumper mounted carbon fiber rear diffuser doesn’t really serve a functional purpose since a peak beneath the rear end will expose all the mechanical components and a bare underside which is incapable of producing aerodynamic advantage.

As good as this car may be, you can only begin to feel that it could be much better if it wasn’t trying to appease buyers who wanted comfort as well as buyers who wanted an experience.

While this is a car that can be used daily, real world fuel economy may inhibit this. Particularly with the price of petrol surpassing the R20 mark. I mentioned earlier in the article that sedate driving can keep the efficiency of the motor at a reasonable number but that is all relative. A claimed combined driving cycle can yield 8.8l/100km but any momentary spurts of excitement will position the optimistic claimed number out of reach. Even though automotive journalists commute more enthusiastically than most, our experience yielded double the claimed economy. Besides, if you wanted to drive sedately you would have made a sensible decision and bought a compact SUV.

This is still in essence as much a performance car as all of its predecessors were but it has priced itself further out of the range of a younger person who would purchase it purely for the experience. With the development of the M4 Competition, BMW has gone all out and chased numbers which are only truly attainable on track from its competition. With the aesthetics aside, there really isn’t much wrong with the car until you start going through the pricing. I think better value for money can be had elsewhere with enough leftover to buy a fun-to-drive hot hatch. Speaking exclusively coupes, I would rather spend my money on an Audi RS5 which may not have the all out performance of the M4, but can still provide as much fun for the majority of the driving you will do in it. The leftover cash as a bonus can complete the two car garage with the engaging BMW 128ti as a daily driver.

The BMW M3 & M4 Competition

Say what you want about the looks, this is still a proper M car! Shaun Korsten reports from launch in the Western Cape

It’s been the butt of the joke and the subject of enormous social media ridicule ever since BMW unveiled the concept version of the new M4 in late 2019. Some went as far as saying this is the end of the BMW – a bit over the top, I know, but BMW loyalists are apparently a tough crowd to please.

Yes, the styling isn’t BMW’s finest work and their riposte to all of you calling for the designer’s head to be on the chopping block will be ‘you’ll get used to it’. And admittedly, I think I have…it’s purposeful and aggressive – it doesn’t look like anything on the road. I think that was their main objective and they got it spot on. But my opinion on something that I’m sure you all have your own isn’t the point of this review. So, let’s get into the meat of things.

Under the bonnet, there’s still a six-cylinder twin turbo sending power to the rear. The all-wheel drive (xDrive) model should make landfall by the end of the year. Outputs of 375kW and 650Nm are significantly higher than the F80 generation – 44kW and 100Nm to be exact. Our market is of course only getting the Competition version which means it is paired exclusively to eight-speed ZF automatic transmission. Which rules out the possibility of getting your hands on the manual version, but how many of you were actually going to buy the manual?

But let’s talk about the gearbox quickly: the previous F80 M3 used a M-DCT ‘box that was very responsive and rewarding when driving spiritedly but less so in traffic and day-to-day situations where it would be cumbersome and jerky. And while you do lose out on the rather enjoyable snap-like response when changing a gear, the new eight-speed ZF is an all-round improvement. It manages the hustle and bustle with more comfort than before, and the changes on upshifts and downshifts are still dramatically quick! The whole experience has been numbed slightly but I’m sure the majority of owners will appreciate this move.

The route we followed on launch took us through picturesque towns like Tulbagh and Ceres in the Western Cape and trotting along at the indicated speed limit was a pleasant and enjoyable experience. The adaptive M suspension and electronic controlled dampers did a great job of soaking up most imperfections, but the harsher bumps will be quite jarring in the cabin. On both the M3 and M4, standard fitment is 20-inch wheels at the rear and 19-inches upfront.

The interior is what you would expect from a BMW: inch-perfect build quality, top-tier materials with tasteful finishes and a smorgasbord of tech. In my opinion, BMW has been the segment leader for years in interior ergonomics and quality. Although, the crown of tech king must be given to Mercedes-Benz as I am still disappointed at the lack of configurability on the digital drivers display. Nitpicking aside, the cabin truly is a wonderful and luxurious place to be in – but now with a splattering of carbon fibre all over the place.

Our final destination was a private racetrack in the Cape Winelands where we were able to get a short, 3-lap stint around the circuit in both models. If you’re wondering, I didn’t notice any discernible difference between the M3 and M4. The the first I noticed was how composed it felt around the corners – there was just bucket loads of traction and grip. Although the G80 is carrying an additional 150kg in weight over its predecessor, the strengthening to the chassis meant the body always felt composed and it coped with strain and pressure extremely well. You can get an M Race Track Package that sheds 25kg.

The steering is now electronically controlled and unfortunately it is another numbing aspect to the new M3 and M4 . But in saying that, it is lazar sharp and extremely accurate and gives you a sense of confidence in your ability to correctly position and react to the car.

On the straights, you will reach a 100km/h in just 3.9 seconds – although I suspect that it is slightly quicker than that. BMW have also integrated a new braking system with two settings for pedal feel and response.

All in all, the new BMW M3 and M4 Competition are truly fantastic drivers’ cars that push the yardstick even further – they remain the brand to beat in this segment. With Mercedes-AMG opting for a 2.0-litre hybrid powertrain for the next generation C63, I’m sure we can all look past the Halloween mask and appreciate these types of cars before they are all gone.

New Audi RS5 First drive: Better than the competition?

New Audi RS5 First Drive

“Let it not be a disappointment, let it not be a disappointment” was the phrase going through most of our minds when we first laid eyes on the new RS5 at the recent Audi Sport media launch. The previous one simply didn’t live up to the extremely high standards that the B7 RS4 set. Compared to the C63 coupe and M3 of that time, it didn’t capture us the same way the competition did. The likes of BMW and Mercedes AMG haven’t made it any easier for the new RS5, with their current weapons of mass destruction. The C63 is the muscle car of the segment with its boisterous V8 BiTurbo, whilst the M4 is a precise track tool. Where then does this new RS5 fit in?

Aesthetically, it’s right up there. Oddly enough, in a normal colour with non-glossy wheels you can easily mistake it for an S5. However, throw in a loud colour, the glossy bits and the extra special shiny aluminum 20 inch wheels and you’ve got a knuckle bitingly beautiful car. The interior also makes you feel like you work very hard for your money. It’s plush, luxurious yet understated. Overall, just looking at the car would make any potential M4 and C63 coupe buyer think twice.

Starting the car gives you a welcome V6 growl from its 2.9 litre bi-turbo. It’s not very loud but loud enough to make passersby look. The exhaust note of the RS5 almost sets the tone for the persona of this car. It can be likened it to a smooth-talking individual, who is more about action instead of just talk. A claimed 0 – 100 time of 3.9 seconds is a whole lot of action and you would expect it to explode your senses when you put your foot down. It doesn’t though strangely enough. We’re so used to the theatrics from the BMW and Mercedes – which scamper and squirm off the line due to immense torque being presented the rear wheels very quickly. The RS5 doesn’t do that, it caresses you to illegal speeds, allowing you to keep your coffee intact as you zoom into the land of the detained. Was I disappointed? Initially, I wanted more. More drama, more playfulness, more edge of your seat kind of stuff. But no, instead I was given comfort, refinement and a sweet sounding V6 with enough torque on tap to not even warrant a downshift, when I needed to move a slower driver. Is that it then? A nicer looking S5 with more power? Surely there must be more to this car.

Dutoitskloof pass in Cape Town is a lovely stretch of road that allows you to get a feel of a vehicles capabilities. This pass was the RS5’s saving grace in my opinion, as it showed us its unique appeal – accessibility. In this segment, there’s “power” and then there’s “accessible power”. The BMW M4 and Mercedes AMG C63 have got immense power, but I could put money on the table that most of those vehicles drivers only access around 60-70% of that power in situations that allow for it, especially around corners. Put your foot down in the aforementioned cars and you’re met with the infamous traction control light, which reminds you that it’s keeping you alive. Powering out of corners and it’s the same thing, the traction control light is flickering away, keeping the car from oversteering. Of course, if you’re that way inclined, you’ll switch the systems off and manage everything on your own. If that’s your thing, this article is not for you. If not and you simply want “point and squirt” performance, read on.

The RS5’s ability of allowing the driver to drive the wheels off it with little drama is unmatched in this segment. This is simply because of its 4WD setup. If you’re not a knob and you respect the fact that almost all cars with this setup will understeer should you come into a corner too fast, you’ll love it. “Slow in, fast out” is the age-old recipe for an enjoyable RS5 experience, follow that rule and you’re set. In my layman hands, I felt that I could extract everything I wanted to out of the car, within my limits. No drama, just simple straightforward performance, all 331kW 600N.m of it. Steering felt good too, not extremely intuitive but enough for me to place the front end where I wanted, and exit out of corners with ease.

New Audi RS5

When it’s all done, put the car back in Comfort and continue your conversation as if nothing happened. It was after this that I realized what the new RS5 was about. It’s a great road car first and a stellar performance car second. It plays both fields very well, better than the competition to be honest. Where the Bimmer and Merc are more visceral, it’s more liveable, which is what many people want. Before considering any of the cars in this segment, you need to understand what you want from the car. You want to shred tyres? Then the RS5 is not for you. You want an excellent all-rounder? Then there’s something for you here. I’m just happy to report that the new RS5 is not a disappointment. When spending over R1 million rand in this league, you’ll buy what you like at the end of the day and in this segment, all of the cars are very good at what they do. Can’t I just have them all?

Audi RS5 Pricing in South Africa

The Audi RS 5 Coupé is priced at R1 285 500, standard with the 5 year/100 000km Audi Freeway Plan.

A BMW M4 for everybody: Which is best for you?

A BMW M4 for everybody: Which of the many variants is best for you?

BMW M4 GTS INTERIOR

Times have changed in the BMW M stable. Previously, when it came to the M3, things were simple, if you wanted one of these cars, you had three choices – a coupe, a sedan and a convertible. After a few years, there was a facelift and everybody carried on with their lives. Now however, if you want a sedan, you can get still get an M3 but if you want a coupe, this is where things have become rather confusing. It all started with the BMW M4, a deliciously good looking car that feels and sounds like a wild animal with bronchitis. Yes, the M4 is very good and those who don’t like it are strange. In the years since its launch, we’ve been presented with the standard car, a Competiton Package, a GTS, a DTM Champion Edition and launching locally later this year, a CS variant. As much as we like all things M4, the question does come to one’s mind, “are there too many variants of this car?”

Before you say anything, we know both the GTS and the DTM Champion Edition are cars that are technically unavailable because BMW has sold them all. That doesn’t mean that you can’t buy them though, you just need to have more money than brains to purchase one of these at the prices that used car dealers are asking for them. Since we at TheMotorist have driven every variant of this car, bar the upcoming CS, we’re going to give a breakdown of each car, should your mind be frazzled as to which one to get…

 

Standard M4

This is the car that started it all. It somewhat paid homage to the E46 M3 with its Austin Yellow paintwork that looked very similar to the Phoenix Yellow we loved to hate. This car was the first M car in the M3/M4 lineage to feature turbocharging. What a difference it made in performance noise because as fast as it was, it didn’t sing the way the E90/E92 did. Soon, people got over that and focused on the fact that they had 317 kW/550 N.m at their disposal. The M4, however, was unlike the E92 in terms of power delivery.

The previous model allowed you to take chances due to its power band climaxing at higher revs, whereas the F82 gave you everything down low. As a result, you had a razor sharp chassis with an engine that was ready to bite if you didn’t give it the respect it deserves. The “on edge” persona the new BMW M4 has, has caused people to love and respect the car. Put simply, the standard car is enough vehicle for most and can tend to be too much car for the inexperienced.

BMW M4 Engine

 

BMW M4 Competition Package

The “Comp Pack” is essentially the same car as the standard M4, with more power and better-looking wheels. By the time this car was released, the GTS is a car we had come to know. The CP has a wheel design similar to that of the GTS but in a single colour, unlike the GTS which has gold bits on the wheel design. Most importantly, the 331 kW the CP delivers may be a cause for concern for those who had perhaps not gotten used to the standard M’s snappy nature. Surprisingly, driving the CP wasn’t as scary as one imagined. Yes, the added power means you can further irritate Porsche’s but, the larger wheels seem to have lessened the “I’m just going to over-steer now” antics we expected. In fact, the CP’s setup gives you more confidence to explore the performance of the M4 as it feels slightly more sure-footed. This is our personal favourite of the lot.

BMW M4 Competition Package

 

BMW M4 GTS

The “matte grey monster”. Firstly as a 5ft 7 inch person, one feels like an infant in a GTS because the racing bucket seats are at the lowest setting possible. Yes looking at the car may have given you goosebumps or caused you to cringe as feelings on its aesthetics were either hot or cold. Sitting in it, however, was a different experience altogether. The gold roll cage behind you for starters means you can only have one friend drive with you. The seats only go forwards and backwards and the doors open by way of a length of “string” with M colours on it. The car has been stripped to be lighter but thankfully you still have a radio in it. This car does a good job at disappearing into the sunset as it features 368 kW/600 N.m. The way it does that is impressive, but dynamically it’s a different story to a standard M4 or even the CP. The added aero and steering setup makes for a very fast front end so turn in is quicker than expected. Front end grip is also great, but that rear end will light up faster than a chain-smoker in an open area.

The wild nature of the standard M4 is further amplified in this car, which makes it exciting but scary to manhandle. Water injection featured on this car and other performance tweaks make this the wildest M4 you can get. Again, as much as you can’t buy one of these new anymore, there are a few available selling for around R3 million, making this the M4 you want if you have money to burn.BMW M4 GTS

BMW M4 DTM Champion Edition

The M4 DTM Champion Edition is the M4 you want if the matte and gold combination is not for you. In essence, this car and the GTS are identical in terms of power, with the only difference being the added aero. The DTM features a smaller rear wing and does without the front splitter you get in the M4 GTS. Handling differences are negligible between the two, with only the most highly skilled of drivers able to specifically pinpoint major differences. All in all, the white paintwork with BMW M colours on the body look better than the GTS’s “out there” design in our opinion. In terms of pricing, the DTM is in the same bracket as the GTS, although fewer examples of these came into South Africa, meaning that you should pay slightly more if you really want one.

BMW M4 DTM Champion Edition

 

BMW M4 CS

The upcoming M4 CS is another limited edition model aimed to fit in between the Competition Package and the GTS. It will feature around 340 kW/600 N.m, slightly less than the GTS and slightly more than the CP. Unlike the GTS which is a car meant for the track, the CS is aimed at the road, with a non-adjustable rear splitter and rear seats, allowing for your little ones to join in on the fun. So this variant is for the buyer who wants the most performance you can get out of an M4, whilst still retaining certain creature comforts like four seats.

BMW M4

All in all, we have to admit that BMW has given us many M4’s to choose from. These choices are good but they do border on being too much. Nothing can take anything away from a standard M4 and its credentials. Bang for buck, we feel the M4 Competition Package offers the most value for money. The CS will probably be great but that extra power and exclusivity will come at a price. The DTM and GTS are for collectors who can’t stand to not have those special editions parked in their garage. For that customer, money is no object, then again anyone who can afford an M4 not exactly on a tight budget.  

 

 

BMW M4 DTM Champion Edition

Another BMW M4 you wish you could have.
For those who have great means but weren’t worthy an of invitation to own the BMW M4 GTS, there is hope. Enter the M4 DTM Champion Edition, a celebration of DTM success by BMW in honour of Marco Wittmann. In 2014, Marco won his first championship title and now in 2016 he has done it again. BMW sure knows how to say well done, in this case they’ve done this:

What’s different:
The M4 DTM Champion Edition features a power output of 368kW and 500Nm, which means the 0-100km/h sprint will take you 3.8 seconds. The way the car delivers this power is through the same water injection system in the M4 GTS. As we know, colder air going into an engine means better performance. This special edition is not limited to more power only, as visual and aerodynamic features have been added. The iconic BMW colours are present on the bodywork, as well as different front and rear splitters and a large rear wing which creates a look that is both beautiful and badass. The interior makes use of race car style bucket seats and a role cage too.

Limited Edition:
The M4 DTM Champion Edition is limited to 200 units worldwide, which makes it a super exclusive car to own. You can also have it in any colour you want, as long as its Alpine white. Another great feature about the M4 DTM Champion Edition is the rear lights, which are identical to those of the M4 GTS. So at least the majority of the people who will only see the rear of the car, will have a great view to look at (We hope these taillights will be available on normal M4’s too soon).

What will this beauty cost? You’re looking at roughly R2.3 million. Ouch.

p90239339_lowres_the-bmw-m4-dtm-champ

p90239341_lowres_the-bmw-m4-dtm-champ