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January 18, 2022

The All-Wheel Drive BMW M4 Is a Stroke of Genius

By Chris Perkens

A Grey BMW M4 racing on trackThe idea of an all-wheel drive M3 and M4 seemed like another sign of BMW losing its touch. It’s something we, and others, have accused the brand of for some time, and somehow, the combination of the M3/M4’s, erm, controversial styling with a driven front axle was yet more evidence. The only problem is that the M4 Competition xDrive is a fabulous car, and all the better for having four driven wheels.

BMW M’s unique all-wheel drive system debuted with the current M5 in 2017, and it’s impressively flexible. An electronically controlled clutch pack sends torque to the front axle very quickly, as needed. The normal 4WD setting most judiciously engages those front wheels—though it remains rear biased—while 4WD Sport allows for a bit more oversteer without ditching the safety net. There’s also a 2WD mode, which is convenient when theoretically, it starts raining, the track goes cold, you notice a big empty skid pad, and figure it’s just as easy to stay dry in an M4 as it is a paddock building.

The M4’s ability to decouple the front axle is amusing, but what it does when all four wheels receive power from its 503-hp twin-turbo ‘six is impressive. Few all-wheel drive cars are so well sorted on track. Whether in 4WD or 4WD Sport, the system is totally seamless, with no push on entry or in mid-corner, and incredible traction on corner exit. Easy speed is the name of the game here, and on the Monticello Motor Club’s North circuit during our 2022… CONTINUE READING