Caraganza First Drive Review BMW M4 Competition xDrive: Where have you been all my life?

Maybe I’m getting soft in my old age; more accepting, tolerable of things that once filled me with hate, loathing, and rage.

When the electrification of cars started creeping into the automotive world I scoffed; laughed at the absurdity of it all. To me it was like taking a golf cart off the links and to the grocery store and then only in retirement communities.

It creeped further when things like the Prius invaded the roads. I hated that car more than anything. My kids would get scared whenever I saw one on the road knowing that I would do whatever it took to make sure I never, ever, under any circumstances, followed behind a Prius. Even if that meant I had to break the law; speed, improper lane change, reckless abandonment; didn’t matter, a Prius was never ahead of me, always behind. ‘Yes, your honor: life in prison for killing all those children on that school bus. Welp at least I passed that Prius.’

Yes, you could say I was a wee bit fanatical.

But fast forward a few years, and the hybrid car became more and more affordable, and much better looking. I tried a few, and begrudgingly began to accept them. I even found a few of the plugin hybrids nice, sort of.

It all culminated a few weeks ago when I spent a week with a Mustang Mach E. This was a fully electric car, no gas allowed. You either plug it in and charge it or walk. Being old and fat, with my only physical activity consisting of walking from the den to the kitchen to throw out my Big Mac wrapper, I chose the latter.

And I ended up really liking the Mach E.

It was surprising considering my past. But the Mach E was nice, comfortable, fun to drive, and looked good. And even though I don’t have a quick charger at my house and only used household current that surprisingly kept up with the Mach E charging needs, I felt that I could in fact, actually live with such a thing.

Fast forward a week and I’m wondering, ‘What the hell was I thinking?’

A week removed from the Mach E BMW sent me a 2022 M4. Now, anything BMW with an “M” in it is bound to be special, but this one was even more so: This was the 2022 M4 Competition xDrive coupe which is like an M4 only much, much better. Clark Kent before going into the phone booth, and after sort of thing.

The “M” BMWs are high performance variants, adding the “Competition” label makes them even more so. There’s extra horsepower, more torque, and eight speeds in the transmission instead of six found in the “regular” M4.

Oh, and they added 4-wheel drive.

My tester for the week had the M Carbon bucket seats and the optional M Drive Professional package which includes an onboard drift analyzer and lap timer and the M Driver’s package, which adds a higher top speed and gives buyers a one-day class for a high-performance driving school (something I had the chance to attend in Palm Springs California last year).

I stood in my driveway after my tester was delivered and smiled. With the new grill style, and the aggressive profile, the carbon fiber accents, and the painted brake calipers, the M4 looked pretty damn good just sitting still.

But I knew that would be only part of the story.

One thing I’ve always liked about any BMW is the ability to dial in the vehicle to get it tweaked to the individual driver. Sure, it can be complicated and take some time, but the fact that you can do such a thing is nice. The M4 fits into this mold quite nicely. Except: in the Competition model you can dial it into the extreme of what you’d like. Sadly, only having a week with it I knew I could never set it up exactly to my liking, but it was nice to know I could.

My tester had all the good stuff:  blind-spot monitoring, front and rear cross-traffic alert and a driver-attention system. It also had adaptive cruise control with stop and go that was bundled along with lane-keeping assist, and more as part of the $1,700 Driving Assistance Professional Package. Of course, for those who don’t want to take the time to dial in everything there is also Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. My tester also had the $1,800 Executive Package which included niceties like a heated steering wheel, a power-activated trunk lid, an in-car Wi-Fi hotspot and gesture controls (which is something I have to admit I’ve never quite gotten the hang of). One thing the Competition model doesn’t have is a manual transmission option. That’s only available on the ‘normal’ M4. But no matter, with the engineering built into the 8-speed automatic, I knew it could keep up better with aggressive driving than this old fart ever could.

Every M4 is powered by a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine, delivering 473 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque but in the Competition, it’s bumped up to 503 horses and 479 lb-ft. And the moment I first fired it up, I knew. Oh, I knew.

One thing that electrified cars don’t have is that rumble, that vibration in your butt coming up through the seat, and that noise. Oh, that noise. The roar of the power coming out from under the hood. It’s a connection between the driver and the machine flowing with dinosaur blood in its veins that can only come from a real honest to God piston powered engine.

I realized all that had been missing from my motoring life. Sure, Mother Nature was pissed, and no doubt the tree-hugging millennials gasped. But you know what? I didn’t really care.

Yes, the Mach E was nice, and it can do 0-60 in 2.9 seconds. But doing 0-60 in 2.8 seconds while hearing, and feeling, the growl of the engine, is something that just can’t be duplicated. Charging into a corner knowing full well the M4 Competition with its power and all-wheel drive would handle it with ease all the while hearing the roar and whine was a thrill that I had been missing.

By the end of the week, I was once more filled with rage, loathing, and hate. Not only because vehicles like the M4 are a dying breed, but mainly because I had to give the M4 Competition back.

And no, I sure as hell have no plans to install a quick charger at my house anytime soon. And no Prius will ever pass me.

The 2022 BMW M4 Competition xDrive

MSRP: $75,695
MSRP (as tested): $79,795
Engine: 3.0 liter turbocharged inline 6 cylinder. 503 horsepower at 6,250 rpm, 479 lb-ft torque at 2,750 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed shiftable automatic
Fuel Mileage (EPA): 16 city, 22 highway, 25 combined
Fuel Mileage (as tested, mixed conditions): 26 mpg
Curb weight 3,979 lbs.

Exterior Dimensions (inches)
Length: 189.1
Overall Width with Mirrors: 81.9
Overall Width without Mirror: 74.3
Height: 54.9
Wheelbase: 112.5
Ground clearance: 4.8

Interior Dimensions (Inches)
Front head room: 40.3
Front leg room: 41.7
Front shoulder room: 55.1
Rear head room: 35.8
Rear leg room: 34.7
Rear shoulder room: 51.0
Cargo capacity, all seats in place 12.0 cu.ft.

Warranty
Basic: 4 yr./ 50,000 mi.
Drivetrain: 4 yr./ 50,000 mi.
Rust: 12 yr./ unlimited mi.
Roadside: 4 yr./ unlimited mi.

 

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