2022 BMW M4 Competition xDrive: Is More Grip Worth Less Soul?

BMW M4 Competition xDrive article highlights:

  • For 2022, the more powerful BMW M4 Competition trim gets optional all-wheel drive
  • The defeatable AWD system takes a bit of fun and involvement out of the equation but adds more speed and raw capability
  • With a $78,800 base price, the 2022 BMW M4 Competition xDrive isn’t cheap, but it’s arguably worth it

Let’s get the obvious out of the way: not everyone appreciates the BMW M4’s current grille design. However, the BMW super coupe’s performance more than makes up for any perceived faux pas. But if the regular M4 somehow lacks sufficient speed, there’s always the M4 Competition. And now, it’s getting even more schnell with the 2022 BMW M4 Competition xDrive. Yet are the new model’s performance benefits worth potentially giving up some passion?

All (wheel) thrusters engaged, Captain: the 2022 BMW M4 Competition xDrive goes for maximum speed

A blue 2022 BMW M4 Competition xDrive goes around a corner on a public road
2022 BMW M4 Competition xDrive front 3/4 | BMW
2022 BMW M4 Competition xDrive
Engine3.0-liter twin-turbocharged inline-six
Horsepower503 hp
Torque479 lb-ft
TransmissionEight-speed automatic
Curb weight3979 lbs
0-60 mph time3.4 seconds

At first glance, the 2022 BMW M4 Competition xDrive seems to be at a disadvantage to the ‘regular’ M4 Competition. The latter coupe is just as powerful, has the same automatic transmission, but is 99 pounds lighter. Nevertheless, the M4 Competition xDrive is 0.4 seconds quicker to 60 mph. And that’s because of the ‘xDrive’ part—it’s BMW-speak for all-wheel drive.

With more driven wheels, the xDrive model is faster off the line. So much faster that BMW had to rework the engine’s oiling system, Autoblog says. That extra speed despite the extra curb weight also required a quicker steering ratio and different front suspension geometry.

Otherwise, the 2022 BMW M4 Competition xDrive is essentially identical to the RWD 2021 Competition. So, compared to the standard 4 Series, it has stiffer springs, re-tuned adaptive dampers, an active limited-slip differential, bigger brakes, and larger wheels with grippier tires. And while the M4 Competition doesn’t offer a manual, both it and the regular M4 get an upgraded version of the 4 Series’ automatic.

For those who want some extra sportiness, BMW has you covered. The 2022 M4 Competition xDrive offers options like carbon-ceramic brakes, carbon bucket front seats, and a day of driver training on a racetrack. That last option comes with M Driver’s Package, which also boosts the top speed from 155 to 180 mph. And if you get the M Drive Professional Package, the M4 Competition gets a drift analyzer.

The 2022 BMW M4 Competition xDrive trades a bit of fun for more practicality, accessibility, and sheer performance

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A drift analyzer on an AWD car? Surely, the whole point of AWD is extra traction and acceleration—why does the M4 Competition xDrive need that?

For one, if you’ve seen a rally race, you know that AWD only stops so much slippage. Secondly, the M4 Competition xDrive has adjustable AWD. In 4WD Sport Mode, the traction and stability control loosen up to let you slide the rear around, Autoblog explains. And finally, as with the M5 Competition, you can turn the AWD completely off for RWD shenanigans. What’s more, you can shift into and out of 2WD Mode on the fly.

Predictably, 2WD Mode is the racer’s choice for big drifts, Autoblog reports. For maximum racetrack pace, though, 4WD Sport is the way to go. Yet even with power going to all four wheels, the Competition xDrive “basically feels like a rear-drive car,” Roadshow says. But thanks to the AWD traction, it’s more secure and easier to drive, especially on wet surfaces. And you don’t have to show nearly as much restraint with the throttle as you do in the RWD M4 Competition, Autoblog adds.

Yet while adding xDrive makes the BMW M4 Competition easier to hoon than before, it also robs some of the fun out of the experience. Admittedly, that’s not an M4-specific issue, Autoblog notes, but an overall RWD-to-AWD changeover issue. On the other hand, the M4 and M3 Competition have already been dinged for a distinct lack of passion. So, removing more isn’t necessarily a good thing.

Who needs passion when you have the 2022 BMW M4 Competition xDrive’s sheer capability?

The blue-and-green-leather-upholstered seats and black-and-blue dashboard of a 2021 BMW M4 Competition
2021 BMW M4 Competition interior | BMW

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Emotional appeals are important in the car world, but a ‘passionate’ car should still be capable. And even outside of the new xDrive’s benefits, the 2022 BMW M4 Competition is certainly that.

Its engine, for example, deserves praise for its “incredibly linear” and naturally-aspirated-like response, Roadshow says. So do the optional carbon-ceramic brakes, which are surprisingly easy to modulate. And while the adaptive dampers are exceedingly stiff in Sport Plus mode, they’re more than compliant enough for daily driving.

Less commuter-friendly are the carbon bucket seats. The aggressive bolstering is great at the track, but not so good on the street. But overall, the interior is attractive, solid, and fairly spacious, despite the sloping roofline.

However, while the BMW M4 Competition xDrive has plenty of standard performance features, some of its luxury touches are optional. As standard, it comes with touchscreen infotainment, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert. If you want a heated steering wheel, adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, or a power-activated trunk, though, those are extra.

The 2022 BMW M4 Competition xDrive does have another standard feature: sheer adjustability. Besides the AWD and suspension, you can adjust the coupe’s transmission, active exhaust, stability control, traction control, and driving modes. And once you’ve found your perfect setup—or rather, two setups—you can program them to the dedicated ‘M1’ and ‘M2’ buttons.

Is the extra AWD grip worth it?

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The 2022 BMW M4 Competition xDrive doesn’t come cheap. It’s an extra $4100 on top of the RWD Competition’s $74,700 starting price. Add in those carbon-ceramic brakes, extra safety and luxury features, and leather upholstery, and you’re staring at a $100,000 car.

Also, keep in mind that AWD can’t magically add grip where none exists. If you live in a cold and/or snowy area, you will need winter tires, Roadshow and Autoblog warn.

That being said, the M4 Competition xDrive’s base price “doesn’t feel like a rip-off,” Roadshow reports. And while the RWD model is cheaper and arguably more fun, the AWD version makes more sense as a daily road car, Autoblog notes. So, is it worth it? That depends on what kind of price you put on passion.

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