But yes, I know, it's called Competition Pack, right? So the 'competition' bit? That comes in the form of a 10mm lower ride height and CSL-style 19in alloy wheels. There's also a different setting on the electronically controlled dampers when in Sport mode and a tweak to the stability control system.
What's it like?
Those Competition pack mods don't sound like a lot but, even so, rather risks overstating its case. If you haven't driven an M3 for a while, you'll notice precisely no difference. If you have driven one recently, you'll notice virtually no difference.
The wheels look great. Perhaps I'm kidding myself, because it's been a while since I last drove an M3, but I wondered if they, coupled to the lower ride height, kept body control a wee bit tighter.
You'd have to be going pretty ballistic in a back-to-back test to notice the difference in the DSC settings. I wasn't, so I didn't, but on a track day it should make the M3 more exploitable, although in truth on a track day the button that turns it off is usually the preferred one.
And the different Sport mode damper calibration? Again, you'd want to be on a track before you selected Sport, just because it's so firm. That it's tightly controlled is in no doubt, but it's also pretty darned hard for the road.
One of the dynamic things supposedly entirely unchanged is the steering. I thought there was a touch more weight and feel than I remembered, which might be down to the lower height and big wheels, but it's a pity it remains on the mute side and still has a steering wheel rim that's thicker than it needs to be.
Shame, because what is actually going on beneath the wheels is usually pretty darned impressive. The M3 is one of those cars that doesn't instantly blow your socks off, but its unchanged 4.0-litre V8's performance is vivid (0-62mph stays at 4.6sec with the optional seven-speed, dual-clutch 'box), and few cars can match the M3's all-round ability to both cast aside long distances with ease, yet entertain to a decent degree on the right road. I think I like it more now than I did at its 2007 launch.
Since then, the dynamically superior Audi RS4 has come and gone and the RS5 will rock up any moment. M3 Competition Pack versus RS5 on British roads and somewhere with a bit of sliding space will make for an interesting comparison. Me? I wouldn't be at all surprised if the M3 more than held its own.
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