Whether you think of this week’s test subject as the second generation of a particular M division performance coupé or as a de facto sixth-generation version of an even more influential one, we can probably all agree that the arrival of the new BMW M4 Competition represents a significant moment for enthusiasts and keen drivers the world over.
The M4 is the modern inheritor of the legacy of that oh-so formative M3 homologation special of 1986 and brings with it plenty to talk about besides its styling – which, like that of so many modern BMWs, is intended to divide opinion.
The days when driver’s cars of this size and brief were powered by high-revving atmospheric engines of the kind that various celebrated BMW M3s have had over the decades are gone. But we have yet to see a partially – or even fully – electrified M car, so where does that leave the M4 Competition? Don’t imagine it’s nowhere.
The G82-codenamed M4 has a new engine, and while it may not be a free-breathing V8, it does produce significantly more power and more accessible torque than even the hardcore BMW M4 GTS of 2015 had.
The car also gets a drivetrain unlike that of any compact M car before it. You can have a rear-wheel-drive, manual gearbox-equipped M4 in some markets (but the UK isn’t one of them). Otherwise, you can have one with an eight-speed automatic gearbox or even, in a significant break from this car’s acknowledged technical template, with four-wheel drive, with xDrive M3s and M4s due to join rear-driven ones here in the UK later this year.