Monday, October 25, 2021
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Quick Drive: 2021 BMW M3 Competition (car review)

SIX generations of evolution and refinement have led to this, the new 2021 BMW M3 Competition (G80). A far cry from the original E30 M3 of 1986, this latest iteration is the best of the breed in almost every way.

More powerful and capable than any of the mainstream M3 models that came before it, the G80 M3 scores an all-new engine, which produces 353kW and 550Nm, which is then upped to 375kW and 650Nm in the Competition version we tested.

It’s the torque that tells the story here though, as we experienced on the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit and its nearby skid pan. Peak torque is available from 2600rpm through to 6130rpm in the base model, and 2700rpm to 5510rpm in the Competition.

What this effectively means is you can pull out of a corner, like Turn Two, Four or Five, at Phillip Island, one or even two gears above what you would normally anticipate, and the M3 surges out on a seemingly never-ending wave of torque.

Once on the straight however, the M3 never gives up. Limited to a 200km/h (ish) top speed, we were barely on the front straight before we needed to back off, that is the rate at which the M3 accelerates.

Lift the reigns however and a terminal speed upwards of 270km/h before you’re braking for Turn One is easily achievable. It is a relentless push which feels like it will never end.

As is expected of an M3, power is not the only playing card up its sleeve. Why else would BMW Australia bring us to Phillip Island racetrack for the launch of one of its ultimate hero cars.

With its beautiful undulation and mix of corner types, it is the perfect proving ground to put the G80 M3 through its paces. Needless to say, the new M3 is extraordinarily capable on the track.

It offers a huge amount of grip thanks to its M-specific chassis and extremely stiff body structure. Extra chassis bracing and Adaptive M suspension all package together to give the M3 a balance and poise that will be extremely hard for its competitors to match.

Unfortunately, we didn’t get to sample BMW’s new M Carbon bucket seats on the track, only on static display.

Saving 5kg of weight per seat, the M Carbon bucket seat also has integral head restraints which can be dismantled for track driving to allow extra room for the driver’s helmet. If you are looking to purchase an M3 for track days, these seats are an absolute no brainer.

It’s not that the standard seats aren’t any good, but the extra lateral support which the M Carbon seats will offer will be of great benefit on the track. They will also be helpful should you wish to try BMW’s new M Drift Analyser.

Treated to a wet skid pan, with the M Drift Analyser activated on the new M3, you immediately realise how much mechanical grip this car has. Just trying to unstick the car requires serious provocation and commitment due to the sheer grip it offers.

Break the shackles of grip however and you are treated to a balance and finesse that is rare this side of a supercar.

M Drift Analyser measures and ranks your sliding skills via four criteria; drift time, drift length, best drift angle and finally a score out of five stars. While it may be somewhat of a gimmick, it also signifies BMW’s recognition of the M3’s dynamic abilities.

Although our time with the new BMW M3 was brief and dynamically focused, we will have a full review soon too. For now, know that the new G80 M3 is the best it has ever been. BMW has created one hell of a car.

Our test vehicle was provided by BMW Australia as part of a track-based launch event at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit. To find out more about the 2021 BMW M3 Competition, contact your local BMW dealer.

Josh Muggleton
Josh Muggleton has a love of cars that began at a young age and has been a part of his life ever since. So much so that his passion for all things automotive turned into a life as a racing car driver and driving instructor.

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