Of course I realize how silly that may sound, and for many years you would probably just assume this was an April Fools joke and move on. But as much as it pains me to say it, it appears as if this might be true. In the latest episode of Head to Head put on by the MotorTrend YouTube channel, they bring out the M4 to do battle with the Camaro SS package. We are unapologetically BMW Motorsport fans here at Moto Networks so we might be just a little biased when it comes to these types of comparisons, but we are actually big muscle car fans too, so this comparison is even more interesting.
The M series cars have long been known for having the best handling, road feel, steering response, and throttle response cars in the game. BMW’s slogan even goes as far as to claim “The Ultimate Driving Machine.” Ever since the early 90’s, the M3 has been the undisputed champ of the mid-size sports cars and was the benchmark that every other manufacturer aimed for when releasing new models over the years. There have been a few makes and models over the years that started to give the M class some competition, but then BMW would come out with the new model and trump it yet again.
Chevy’s been working really hard the last few years to shed the bad stigma it earned for itself as being the straight line only type of car and I dont think anyone has ever seriously placed the Camaro into the same category as the M4 (previously M3), but that has drastically changed with the 2016 Camaro SS. Chevy, or I should say GM, does some things very well on this car. For instance, the small block 6.2L V8 that’s also been used in many of GM’s lineup such as the Escalade and many others. The 2016 SS Camaro has a 455hp naturally aspirated V8 that seems to have a very wide power band that gives you exceptional throttle response no matter where you are in the RPM range. Another thing that GM has been working hard on is the new chassis and suspension system with the magnetic type suspension that was used on the previous ZL1 Camaro and the Cadillac ATS-V, and it appears to be making all the difference in the world when it comes to taking this car into the bends where the previous models would be put to shame.
Not only has the Camaro improved enough to actually give the M4 a legitimate battle, but it appears to have improved enough to take the M4’s crown and then bump it down a few notches. If you look at the performance specs on paper, these cars are almost identical. The 0-60 times are separated by only one tenth of a second and the 1/4 mile time by only three tenths, with the advantage going to the Camaro. Now granted, the Camaro does put out 455Hp and 455lb-ft of torque whereas the M4 only puts out 425hp and 406lb-ft, but the M4 is almost 200 lbs lighter than the Camaro so the power figures end up being relatively very similar. The M4 uses a twin turbo inline 6 that’s supposed to be more efficient than the previous naturally aspirated engines that BMW has been famous for. One of the biggest concerns with using the turbo system is the dreaded turbo lag, which in a car that is known for immediate throttle response, can be a very bad thing. Unfortunately that does seem to be the case here.
Same with regards to the handling, the M4 used be known for its pin point accuracy with its steering giving you fantastic and precise road feel. But apparently that is no longer the case. Not only is this current M4 not as good as the Camaro in the handling category, MotorTrend went as far as to consider the steering “sloppy” on the M4. But on the Camaro, the steering seems to be light, responsive, and a lot easier to drive at high speeds than the M4. Again, a category that the M series cars used to stand in a class of their own. High speed driving is now better in an American muscle car.
There is still one category that the M4 beats the Camaro in, so it’s not a complete blowout here. The M4 beats the SS in a full lap around the Willow Springs Race Track with 1:22.94 hot lap time, although the Camaro wasn’t far off with 1:23.15. But the knockout punch comes when we start to talk about the price of these two sports cars. The M4 gets spanked big time in this category as the tested price of this M4 was over $80,000! Usually the M series cars have been slightly more expensive, but you were always justified spending the extra cash to get that amazing handling, performance, road feel, and interior quality with all kinds of other gadgets and gizmos for creature comfort. Not only does the Camaro come in at just over half the cost of the M4 at $46,000, but according to many different reports the interior quality is better on the SS with more creature comfort features like satellite radio, cooled seats, back up camera, and that’s not even putting into consideration that fact that the Camaro is faster in all real world settings than the M4 and it handles better. So what exactly are you paying the extra $34,000 for? Prestige maybe. But honestly, we aren’t exactly sure but we damn sure hope that BMW goes back to the drawing board to get that crown back!