BMW M4 Competition xdrive
Who knew the 2022 M4 had so much in common with a ’90s Ferrari?
WE ALL KNOW THAT IT’S SOMETIMES fun to set arbitrary parameters when searching for a car. And if you were trying to spend under £100,000 on a red car with a powerto-weight ratio of between 287 and 288bhp per ton, then you might find yourself comparing a new BMW M4 xdrive with a Ferrari 550 Maranello. Stranger things have happened.
Until this month I hadn’t driven the car that was crowned evo Car of the Decade in issue 066, but, thanks to Bell Sport & Classic and a generous owner, the situation was rectified on a sunny spring day in Buckinghamshire. Now, I’m not about to launch into a retrospective road test of the 550, but a couple of things struck me in relation to my long-termer.
The first is purely aesthetic. As front ends go, neither 550 nor M4 has the most attractive snout. To my eyes at least, that single bonnet nostril on the Pininfarina-designed Ferrari is just not very pretty.
It’s one step away from an Impreza intake. Yet I don’t remember there ever being a great deal of hue and cry about it, certainly not to the extent of that surrounding the M4. Perhaps the difference is simply social media. Having said that, I can certainly look past the Ferrari’s nose and increasingly so with the M4 too. In the metal, the BMW’S beaver teeth just don’t bother me as much as they do in photos.
Then there is the weight. I was surprised to see that according to official figures, the two-seat Ferrari tips the scales in Maranello at 1690kg. Which is really quite a lot. There is a tendency to think that everything in the past was under 1200kg dripping wet, but that’s not the case. And once again, I don’t remember people making a big deal about the 550’s portliness, it was simply assessed on how it felt to drive.
One of the things that riles people about the G82 M4 is that it’s too heavy, and of course on principle I’d like to see it nearer 1500kg, but it really doesn’t drive like you think nearly 1800kg should. The stiffness of its structure and the response to inputs means it has a fabulous tautness and sense of agility. Over some of the bigger bumps on my local roads you are momentarily more aware of the mass, but even then it always feels contained. You do find yourself winding up the damper stiffness as you drive faster, but I found the same was true of the 550, with it really only coming alive in the corners in Sport mode.
Anyway, I’m pretty sure the latest M4 will never be viewed with the same reverence as the 550 Maranello, but that’s all the more reason to make the comparisons. There is also one, final, tenuous link between the Ferrari and one of my other longtermers, because the gentleman that I bought my Clio 182 from has subsequently purchased a lovely 550 (with rather more than I gave him for the Clio, I hasten to add!). I like to think that one day I might replace the Renault in a similar fashion!
Date acquired January 2022 Total mileage 5208 Mileage this month 1434 Costs this month £0 mpg this month 28.3