Amid the ongoing dominance of sport utility vehicles and pickup trucks, there’s a far smaller but more exciting driving segment. For performance-oriented drivers who enjoy solo journeys or bringing the family along, the luxury sedan marketplace has its share of wonders, notably the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio, Audi RS5 Sportback, Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing and Mercedes-Benz AMG C 63. Joining that august company is the 2022 BMW M3 Competition.
The M3 Competition package, which debuted in 2016, gives the new sedan impressive specs. It boosts horsepower to 503, retunes the suspension and provides 20-inch alloy wheels, an upgraded exhaust system and lighter front seats. It’s ideal for where the sedan is at its best—on high-speed highways such as the Autobahn, the German federal motorway.
But as a daily driver, the M3 Competition has far too many BMW traits. The manufacturer’s signature stiff ride, clunky shifting and overload of racing-geared features are all present. Common driving circumstances are all lost in a race car.
For 2022, the M3 Competition features all-wheel-drive for the first time, adding to the vehicle’s adept handling and overall control of the road. BMW is athletic, with the performance trim an acceleration wonder. The 3-liter, 24-valve twin-turbo inline six-cylinder and its eight-speed automatic transmission catapults to freeway speed.
Performance is further emphasized with the 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster. It switches to M View in the sportier drive modes and engages with red buttons on the steering wheel. The option adds a shift indicator and replaces the regular tachometer with one easier to read. Gesture controls, a subscription-based Wi-Fi hotspot and a wireless charging pad are options. Blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist and adaptive cruise control are standard.
As a sedan, the M3 is surprisingly roomy, boasting plenty of front and backseat leg and headroom, as well as a sizable trunk. But the spaciousness overshadows the BMW’s poor seating. The driver can adjust their position in various configurations, none of which help the subpar bolstering. The seating looks great, but the construction lines never seem right. Taking the M3 on a long highway haul normally would be a driving enthusiast’s pleasure—but not with those seats.
BMW also has updated its infotainment offerings; the manufacturer now offers Apple CarPlay without a subscription, and Android Auto is also standard. A Harman/Kardon sound system and a one-year subscription to SiriusXM satellite radio are in the standard mix.
Nothing about a BMW is ever value-priced. The M3 Competition’s M Carbon exterior is $4,700, the exterior Frozen Brilliant White exterior paint is $3,600 and the non-matching Kyalami Orange and black leather seats are $2,550. The M Driver’s Package ($2,500) and Executive Package ($1,800) push the vehicle toward the six-figure price plateau.
With its polarizing split horizontal oval grille, carbon details and pristine exterior, the M3 Competition attracts plenty of attention. And it earns its place wherever high-speed pleasure driving is the goal. The luxury sedan represents automotive excess everywhere else.
Facts & figures
Acceleration: 0-60 mph, 3.5 seconds
Fuel economy: 16 mpg, city; 22 mpg, hwy
Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $76,900
Manufacturer’s website: bmwusa.com
Price As Tested: $96,045
Warranty: Bumper to bumper, 4 years/50,000 miles; Powertrain, 4 years/50,000 miles; Corrosion, 12 years/unlimited miles; Complimentary Maintenance: 3 years/12,000 miles; Roadside Assistance, 4 years/unlimited miles