VIDEO: Head 2 Head – BMW M4 vs Chevy Camaro SS

BMW M4, Videos | March 31st, 2016 by 19

Motor Trend has a recurring video series on YouTube, called Head 2 Head, where they put two cars…head to head. The idea is that it’s near impossible to actually compare two cars together and come up with a genuine victor without getting in and driving them back and forth. So that’s what they do, on both road and track, to figure out which car is better than the other. And in this latest episode, they compare the BMW M4 vs the Chevy Camaro SS.

Admittedly, this test seems a bit one sided at first glance. The Camaro won Motor Trend’s Car of the Year award, so they clearly think it’s one of the best cars on sale right now. Then, they’re driving an M4 that’s spec’d quite oddly, as their tester costs $81,000 but doesn’t come with adaptive dampers, the DCT gearbox or leather seats. So what options does it have to bump it up that high? But at least they’re both equipped with manual gearboxes, are both rear-wheel drive and are driven on the track by the same driver.


In all objective testing, the cars are nearly identical to each other. Performance figures for both cars are so similar that it’s freakish. The Camaro does 0-60 mph in 4.1 seconds while the M4 does it in 4.2, the Camaro does the 1/4 mile in 12.4 while the M4 does it in 12.5 and they even have an identical figure eight time of 24.1 seconds. So it’s really close between the two cars. One the race track, with both driven by pro racing driver, Randy Pobst, the BMW M4 beats the Camaro SS by less than a second. So neither car really has a performance advantage, as the Camaro is slightly better in a straight line while the M4 is slightly better in the twisty bits. Objectively.

However, when they got the two cars out on the open road and tested them subjectively, they felt that the Camaro SS was the far superior car. We’ve heard this before, that the BMW M4 has numb steering and sounds weird, but they really rag on the M4 here, going as far as to say that it’s horrible and that the Camaro SS is miles ahead in every subjective sports car metric. Now, we can’t comment on whether or not they’re right or wrong, because we haven’t driven the Camaro SS, but we’ve driven the M4 and it’s far from horrible. In fact, it’s an excellent driver’s car and one that’s very fun to drive. Now maybe the Camaro SS is so mind-bendingly good that it shows the M4’s flaws on a bigger screen, but it has to be really flipping good to do so.

2016 BMW M4 Coupe Alpine White Competition Package 15 750x499


But a car we have driven, a car that has the same chassis and suspension setup as the Camaro SS, is the Cadillac ATS-V. That car is very similar to the Camaro SS, aside from the engine, so we can somewhat guess what the Camaro SS will be like. The ATS-V is a great car, it really is. It’s fast, fun to drive, has great handling dynamics and can genuinely put a smile on your face. But choosing between that and the M4 is really hard, as they’re both so good and so similar in they’re performance, both objectively and subjectively. So we have a hard time seeing as the Camaro SS being so spectacularly fantastic that it makes the BMW M4 seem downright horrible.

Maybe it is stupendously great, maybe the Camaro SS rewrites the book on what modern performance cars are supposed to be. Who knows. But we do know that the BMW M4 is certainly not alone at the higher echelons of the performance car world and longer. And if the Camaro SS is as good as people are claiming and it really does cost nearly half of what the BMW M4 costs, the Bimmer is in trouble.

19 responses to “VIDEO: Head 2 Head – BMW M4 vs Chevy Camaro SS”

  1. Locke42 says:

    It’s just getting harder and harder to justify buying luxury performance cars at this point. Interior quality aside, automotive performance is getting cheaper to manufacture, which results in many excellent “budget” performance cars that can rival the traditional luxury heavyweights.

    Luxury performance cars need to be AT LEAST as good as the closest equivalent mainstream performance cars, and then offer something else extra on top of that, because that’s what luxury is about.

    • Reino-five-five-oh says:

      But interior quality is never ‘aside’. It’s an important consideration in a car purchase, and BMW always beats Chevy no matter the model.

      • Locke42 says:

        Interior quality is worth a few thousand dollars at best when comparing two cars of the same size, MAYBE $10,000. But the cheapest M4 is $15,000 more expensive than the most expensive Camaro SS, and no interior is worth that difference.

  2. Nigel says:

    I suspect the perception of the M4 being ‘horrible’ is heavily influenced by it’s price. In isolation, the M4 would apear to be an outstanding car. But, factor in the minimum $20K premium you’re paying over the Camaro, and every minor fault with the M4 is suddenly going to appear hugely exaggerated.

  3. Lucky13 says:

    You”ll never see Motor Trend compare the Camaro to the Cadillac ATS-V or Corvette because then GM would cancel all advertising when its as good or better. The reality is it cuts into their sales more than BMW M4, why buy the expensive GM car when the cheap one is better is the real question.

    • RochesterDave says:

      Lucky13 is exactly correct. The SS is a way better deal and a great car. Same engine and suspension as the Vette.

    • Smootchie says:

      The ATS-V runs a F.I 6 cyl. and it is much MUCH more comfortable for 4 people and the trunk has more room and a much larger opening. i dont think many people will be crossshopping the ATS-V and the Camaro SS

  4. Russell says:

    I suspect there is a lot of national pride coming in here as well. I think if you put the same comparison in the hands of two Bavarian motoring presenters in Germany you might get a very different outcome, just as British cars always fared well on Top Gear comparisons.

  5. Kaisuke971 says:

    I love how when Carlos Lago reviewed the car it was like the best thing ever but now it surprisingly has grown a disconnected steering wheel, huge turbo lag, lost brake power (Carlos did 60-0 in 99ft with the M3), lost handling (i know it does not have the Adaptative but it was a quite heavier M3 DCT pulling .85Gs instead of .82 here) and just became about the worst german car to ever touch the earth.

    Yeah totally legit.

    • Smootchie says:

      I think it has alot to do with perspective…like the perspective you get when the car that costs about 30k less is doing everything the M4 is doing..and a few things slightly better. The M4 is still an outstanding car…it just isnt phenomenal

      • Kaisuke971 says:

        I think it has more to do with the fact that the MotorTrend team prays GM every morning before going to work. And how is the Camaro that phenomenal though ? On paper they’re identical (well according to MT) performance-wise. And you know the price difference is justified by the overall quality of the product.

        It’s just another Turbo S vs GT-R case where people get it wrong and go full “But it’s so much cheaper, therefore it’s better lol”. The M4 is the top 4 Series, it has always been like that. It has to meet quality standards.

        And before any comment on the cloth seats and the manual, MotorTrend’s 81k M4 has the worst spec ever. They could’ve got a Camaro SS rapist for the same amount of money.

        • Smootchie says:

          The BMW does not have stellar reliabilty ratings they are not horrible but the scheduled maintenence for the BMW will cost easily double what the Camaro maintenence costs.

          How is the camaro phenomenal? It is a fully equipped daily driver fully capable of competing with the top cars in its class and beyond (about $30k beyond). It is a car that can click off the 1/4 mile in the high 11’s, 0 to 60 in 3.9 seconds and stay right up with the creme-de-la-creme BMW M4 in the Big Spring Willows track lap, so it handles GREAT. It brakes great and is capable of 28 mpg on the highway.

          A car that can do all that driven straight off the lot is a great car…. a car that can do all that and still be purchased for under $40k with a 5yr/60k warranty is Phenomenal

  6. RochesterDave says:

    The M4 costs $30000 more. Your paying for the lavish healthcare and pension system in socialist Germany. Your not buying more car. The SS is a great car and a way better deal.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.