This new generation of BMW M4 is deeply impressive. It packs power and performance that would make a Ferrari 458 Italia jealous and it does it in a whole new way for BMW. It isn’t the delicate sports car that the M3 always was. Instead, it’s brutal and violent, pummeling the pavement into submission. It’s fantastic. And it’s made even better by xDrive all-wheel drive, despite what purists say. But it’s far from the only all-wheel drive performance car, so is it better than some of the world’s best? EVO Magazine put together a four-way test to find out.

In this test, the BMW M4 had to do battle with a Porsche 911 Turbo (admittedly much more expensive than an M4), an Audi RS3, and a Toyota GR Yaris. All four cars are very different machines but they all have one thing in common—all-wheel drive fun. So which of the four is best?

That’s tough to tell, as they’re all excellent in their own ways. The Porsche 911 Turbo, being the top-dog car in the 911 range, is obviously in a class of its own. But the M4 xDrive isn’t far off in terms of performance. Its 3.0-liter twin-turbo I6 makes 503 horsepower and 473 lb-ft of torque, which makes it almost as quick as the 911 Turbo in the real world. However, in terms of driving dynamics, grip, body control, and refinement, the 911 is still better. But then again it should be at double the price.

As for the Audi RS3, it provides a ton of fun in a small, practical package for a reasonable price. It’s fast, it’s fun, it has four-doors and five seats, and it’s a helluva lot cheaper than the BMW M4. When it comes to value, though, none of these cars can touch the GR Yaris. It’s the most fun-per-dollar of almost any car on sale right now, thanks to its turbocharged three-cylinder engine, six-speed manual, and all-wheel drive.

It’s hard to say which car is best but there is one definitive thing to take away from this test—all-wheel drive made the BMW M4 better. It allowed BMW to put down its epic performance in a usable manner and make it accessible and fun. It might not be the purist’s BMW of yesteryear but it’s fantastic in its own way.

[Source: EVO]