2022 BMW M4 Competition xDrive

If the driving dynamics didn’t make you forget about the face, the interior certainly will.
If the driving dynamics didn’t make you forget about the face, the interior certainly will.

by Nick Tragianis | March 16, 2022


They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, and when it comes to the 2022 BMW M4 Competition xDrive, they’re absolutely right. Naysayers and keyboard warriors alike love to decry BMW’s latest ‘Bahn-stormer as a tubby, buck-tooth shadow of its former self, but they tend to miss one key detail: the newest M4 is absolutely phenomenal to drive.

See, a funny thing happened when the latest-gen M3 and M4 siblings debuted — G80 and G82 in BMW-speak, respectively — in late 2020. Six-speed manual in the base model? Pfft. Five-hundo-plus horses in the Comp cars? Lame! For a solid six months, it seemed like nothing else mattered — and we could look at nothing — but that huge-ass grille. So much noise, so much dread, all vanished the moment when we climbed behind the wheel for the first time. And the second time. And now, the third time.

Under the hood, the M4 packs BMW’s familiar 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged inline-six engine, available in two key flavours. Base cars pack 473 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque, while the Competition model gives you 503 hp and 479 lb.-ft. of torque to play with. It’s a fabulous engine — docile and well-behaved when you want it to be, yet razor-sharp and more than happy to pin you into the seat when you drop the hammer. The signature straight-six smoothness and howl all the way through the rev range is the icing on the cake.

BMW does let you row your own gears with the base, rear-wheel-drive M4, but If you want the Competition pack goodies and/or BMW’s M xDrive all-wheel-drive system — as we have here — the eight-speed automatic is the only way to go. Enthusiasts and self-proclaimed purists might shed a tear, but the automatic is among the best in the business: shifts are snappy and it always seems to be in the correct gear. It may as well be telepathic.

It all comes together extremely well, if not a little too well in certain settings. When we took a rear-drive M4 Competition coupe to the track last year and pushed to its limits, we were so impressed with its immediate power, entertaining theatrics, and impeccably balanced chassis, that we almost forgot about the face. Alright, fine — seriously, the M4 is capable and effortless on the track.

All the good stuff that makes the M4 so entertaining on the track, also puts a very big smile on your face on the road. On a tight on-ramp, that chassis is unflappable — even with winter tires. Give it the beans on a big-enough opening on the highway, and that immediate power means by the time your passenger blinks, you’ve merged. Flip the AWD system into “4WD Sport” mode when it’s snowing to experience some of those theatrics, and you’ll feel almost half as talented as Michèle Mouton, Ken Block, Fielding Shredder, etc., while the car does most of the work. Word to the wise: RWD-only mode is borderline useless in the snow; 4WD Sport is the way to go on a Krispy Kreme run.

Fortunately, the M4 Competition is surprisingly good at being a regular car. Sure, it rides a little firm and the razor-sharp steering is a little on the numb side, but it soaks up bigger bumps and imperfections as competently as the BMW badge suggests. You can configure the powertrain to be as punchy and hyper-sensitive as you want, but in its softest settings, it’s surprisingly docile and smooth. And the addition of AWD for 2022 adds a degree of friendliness and confidence in nasty weather — now there’s something we never thought we’d say about a sports car with more than 500 horses.

But that’s just the thing: unless you live in Germany, there’s nowhere to properly enjoy that violence, aggression, and capability without putting a target on your back. And without tapping into all that good stuff, it all feels wasted and disingenuous. Best to feed the M4 track time in the summer to keep it happy.

If the driving dynamics didn’t make you forget about the face, the interior certainly will. Fit-and-finish is top-notch, mastering the learning curve with BMW’s iDrive infotainment takes no time at all, and mercifully, BMW still believes in buttons and knobs for the most important functions — hallelujah! Beyond all that, the meaty steering wheel feels great, the sport seats are almost infinitely adjustable, and the lack of a sunroof means headroom is generous, although shorter drivers might find it challenging to find a comfortable driving position.

The M4 starts at an almost reasonable $87,700, but that can climb very quickly. If you want all-wheel-drive, you’re forced into the Competition package, resulting in a $6,600 price bump. This particular tester came equipped with about $15,000 worth of options, bringing the as-tested price tag just shy of $110,000. That puts the M4 against some heady competitors, but go easy on the options and it’s possible to keep the bottom line below the $100,000 mark.

It’s easy to side with the naysayers and keyboard warriors, but that would be doing the 2022 BMW M4 Competition a massive disservice. Sure, it’s heavier, more digital than before, and has a face only a mother could love — but the M4 is still a bona-fide thrill ride that’ll leave you laughing like a maniac every time you explore its sky-high limits. Besides, you can always park nose-in.

See Also:

2021 BMW M4 Competition

2020 Mercedes-AMG C 63 S Coupe

2021 BMW M3 Manual

Vehicle Specs
Two-Door Performance Coupe
Engine Size
3.0L turbocharged inline-six
Horsepower (at RPM)
503 at 6,250
Torque (lb-ft.)
479 at 2,750
Fuel Efficiency (L/100km, City/Highway/Combined)
Observed Fuel Efficiency (L/100km)
Cargo Capacity (in L)
Base Price (CAD)
As-Tested Price (CAD)
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About Nick Tragianis

Managing Editor

Nick has more than a decade of experience shooting and writing about cars, and as a journalism grad, he's a staunch believer of the Oxford Comma despite what the Canadian Press says. He’s a passionate photographer and loves exploring the open road in anything he gets his hands on.

Current Toys: '90 MX-5 Miata, '00 M5, '16 GTI Autobahn