There are currently four different versions of the BMW M3/M4 duo; standard M3 with manual, M3 Competition, standard M4 with manual, and M4 Competition. Add xDrive to the aforementioned Competition variants and there will be six total models to get. However, of the four right now, The Smoking Tire feels as if the BMW M3 Competition is the best.
Prior to driving either of the M3 twins, I’d have argued the contrary, claiming the manual to be the better buy simply because it’s a manual. While many enthusiasts might still feel the same, preferring to buy up manuals while they still last, I now have to agree with Farah and Klapman — the M3 Competition is the best version. The engine just feels so much better paired with the automatic than the manual and the automatic’s faster shifts and better gearing allows for its full performance potential to be unleashed. It also has a lot more torque, so it feels faster, all of the time.
I have my own review coming shortly, so I don’t want to spoil anything just yet but the M3 Competition not only feels a bit faster, it also feels a bit different than the standard car. Because of that, it feels as if they’re two different machines, not one with just some black badges and a different transmission.
Admittedly, I haven’t driven the BMW M4 Competition yet, only the M3 twins, but they both feel the M3 is still the better choice. It’s certainly the more practical choice and offers more daily usability. Some even prefer the looks of the M3 better than the M4, due to its more flared rear wheel arches and slightly better visual balance. Overall, though, it seems as if the BMW M3 Competition is the best package of the bunch and the one customers should look at most.