Quest

Australian Muscle Car - - Quest -

I’ve al­ways had greater af­fec­tion for BMW than pres­tige coun­ter­parts Audi and Mercedes. I put that down to ‘dis­cov­er­ing’ mo­tor­sport as a 12-year-old in 1981, the year BMW en­tered Aus­tralian tour­ing car rac­ing with the JPS BMW 635CSis. Those beau­ti­ful black and gold ma­chines re­mained a fea­ture of the lo­cal scene for seven sea­sons, cap­tur­ing a cou­ple of ATCC ti­tles along the way.

They also cap­tured my imag­i­na­tion due to their ex­otic ap­pear­ance and en­gine note, Gricey’s tash, Frank Gard­ner’s one-lin­ers and Jim Richards’ cheer­ful, no non­sense ap­proach to win­ning races.

I have vivid mem­o­ries of the black M3s cir­cu­lat­ing like clock­work at Bathurst in ‘87, the World Tour­ing Car Cham­pi­onship round. The lo­cal works team was joined on track that week­end by a eet of M3s run by the Bavar­ian mar­que’s Euro­pean works teams, spear­headed by Sch­nitzer Mo­tor­sport.

Those white im­ported cars car­ried BMW Mo­tor­sport’s fa­mous two-blue and red di­ag­o­nal­stripes – the same paintscheme Sch­nitzer’s M6 GT3 wore 31 years later, upon the Ger­man team’s re­turn to Mount Panorama for the 2018 Bathurst 12 Hour.

When I heard that the lo­cal Steve Richard­srun M6s would be backed up by a Sch­nitzer­entered ex­am­ple own in from Ger­many, I im­me­di­ately re­quested an ap­pro­pri­ate white or black M car from BMW’s press eet to take to the Moun­tain that week­end.

I se­cretly hoped it would be black, so that a white terry-tow­elling hat wouldn’t look out of place on the back­seat...

Bingo! Sure enough, a black BMW M4 Com­pe­ti­tion Pack­age was await­ing me on pickup day to ferry my 12-year-old lad and I to Bathurst for the week­end.

My boy never re­ally got his head around the signi cance of the white cap. But that’s okay, it meant some­thing to me and that was all that re­ally mat­tered.

He did think the M4 was a bit ‘spesh’, though, as did his old man.

The BMW M4, in range-top­ping Com­pe­ti­tion guise, is an out-and-out driver-fo­cused Euro­pean mus­cle car. It’s packed with a host of de­tailed re ne­ments to make it more live­able away from race­tracks and twisty moun­tain roads, like the fa­mous Bells Line of Road that cross the Blue Moun­tains and con­nects north­west Syd­ney to the NSW Cen­tral West.

The ag­ship M4 Com­pe­ti­tion Coupe is a $155,000 mo­tor car, sit­ting above the reg­u­lar M4 Coupe (ap­prox­i­mately $5G cheaper) and the M4 Pure ($139,900). The Com­pe­ti­tion Pack brings an up­graded en­gine tune, stiffer sus­pen­sion set­tings, unique 20-inch al­loy wheels, gloss black ex­te­rior high­lights and M Sport front seats.

While the Com­pe­ti­tion Pack has the same 3.0-litre twin-turbo straight six-cylin­der en­gine as other M4 vari­ants – and the M3 sedan – it has been tweaked to pro­duce more peak power, 331kW com­pared to 317kW, while pro­duc­ing an iden­ti­cal torque out­put of 550Nm.

It’s a magni cent en­gine that is hugely ex­i­ble in that it is supremely drive­able in the city, yet can un­leash fe­ro­cious per­for­mance when revved through to its 7000rpm limit.

Stiff sus­pen­sion, wide tyres and ra­zor-sharp steer­ing en­sures it sits at and has plenty of grip through the bends…

Given the sharp­ness of its han­dling, the qual­ity of its ride is ex­tra­or­di­nary. It still feels like a lux­ury car given the smooth­ness of its shifts from the seven-speed dual-clutch au­to­matic and cabin ap­point­ments.

Other jour­nal­ists – with much more per­for­mance driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence than I – point to the car be­ing a hand­ful to drive on the limit, but I never got near that point. To me, the M4 was ev­ery­thing I hoped for from a gen­uine Euro­pean mus­cle car icon.

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