Eventually, you’ll no longer be given the choice between a ‘regular’ M car and a ‘Competition’ model. For most full-fat M models, the Competition grade is offered on top of a base M car, offering more power, tweaked suspension and other changes, but there are plans for ‘Comp’ to become the new entry point.
Speaking at a roundtable interview during the BMW i5 launch, BMW M CEO Frank van Meel explained how the lower-level offerings like the M440i “filled the gap” between regular models and what he terms the “M high performance” cars. In the meantime, M “introduced the competition layer, which actually now has become the new normal,” Meel said, adding, “So that will go away or more or less already has gone away…we're not going to split any longer between M and M Competition, it will all be competition in the future.”
The split between the two has indeed already started to be phased out. The recently updated X5 M and X6 M models, for instance, were launched exclusively as Competitions. In the UK, meanwhile, we’ve been used to Comp-only M cars for a while. That's why we miss out on the manual versions of the M3 and M4, which are only offered in base, non-Comp trim elsewhere.
Here, the only non-Competition-badged M car we get is the M2, and that’s only because there isn’t an M2 Comp just yet. Once there is, we’re almost certain it’ll replace the standard car outright, as was also the case for the previous-generation model.
The refocused full M car hierarchy will start with Competition, with CS and CSL offered above. “Those are the more hardcore vehicles - if you say no, I really want to have a track tool with the number plate, then you go to CS or CS L.”
For those who want to go in the opposite direction, there are the M Performance models, some of which are still extremely powerful and very expensive, like the 650bhp, £160,000 i7 M70 we reviewed recently.