The 2021 BMW M3 Competition is the most powerful M3 ever built!

The 2021 BMW M3 Competition is a higher-performance version of the sixth-generation M3. Essentially a more powerful M3 with extra features inside and out, the 2021 M3 Competition is the range-topping model of the G80-generation sedan. An evolutionary design of the previous model, the 2021 M3 Competition stands out through a bigger-than-ever kidney grille and a twin-turbo inline-six engine rated at 503 horsepower. This rating makes the 2021 M3 Competition the most powerful M3 ever built.

  • 2021 BMW M3 Competition
  • Year:
    2021
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-6
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    503
  • Torque @ RPM:
    479
  • Displacement:
    3.0 L
  • 0-60 time:
    3.9 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    180 mph
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • size:
  • Purpose:
  • body style:

What makes the 2021 BMW M3 Competition special?

  • Unique trim on the outside
  • Massive front grille
  • Bigger wheels
  • Black rear spoiler
  • Race-inspired diffuser
  • Standard leather upholstery
  • Optional carbon-fiber seats
  • 503 horsepower
  • 479 pound-feet of torque
  • The most powerful M3 ever built
  • 0 to 62 mph in 3.9 seconds
  • Top speed at up to 180 mph
2021 BMW M3 Competition Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 935384

Design-wise, the M3 Competition is identical to the standard M3 save for a few extra features. If you’re a fan of the M3’s new massive grille that extends over the entire width of the fascia, you’ll find it on the M3 Competition too. If you don’t like it, well... tough luck.

It also shares the new engine hood with the standard M3. It now features two raised sections that extend from the grille, each fitted with a vent for improved cooling.

Onto the sides, the M3 Competition is again identical to the regular M3, which in turn is a slightly more muscular evolution of the previous generation. However, the M3 Competition stands out thanks to a set of larger wheels. While the M3 rides on 18-inch rollers in the front and 19-inch rims in the rear, the Competition model is fitted with 19- and 20-inch wheels, respectively. However, you have to add the xDrive AWD system to get these rollers. The mirror caps are also different on the Competition version, being finished in high-gloss black instead of body color like on the M3.

2021 BMW M3 Competition Exterior
- image 935371

Around back, the M3 and M3 Competition share the same design, including the sporty, black diffuser with quad-exhaust pipes. However, the latter are finished in black chrome as standard, a feature you have to pay for on the M3. The small spoiler atop the trunk lid is also finished in black as standard, but you can opt to have it in body color, like on the regular M3. Finally, the carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic roof painted in black is standard on the M3 Competition, but you can opt for a steel top with a sliding and tilting sunroof at no additional cost.

2021 BMW M3 Competition Exterior
- image 935398
The M3 Competition can be further customized with the M Carbon exterior package, with adds front air intakes, rear diffuser, exterior mirror caps, and rear spoiler from carbon-reinforced plastic.

Exterior paints are similar to the regular M3, including the new and exclusive Sao Paulo Yellow, Toronto Red Metallic, and Isle of Man Green Metallic (shown here).

The story is pretty much the same inside the cabin, where the M3 Competition is virtually identical to the M3 except for a few details and features. Highlights include a modern dashboard with big screens in the center and the instrument cluster area, newly developed M Sport seats, fine-grain Merino leather trim in a variety of colors, and top-notch fit and finish overall.

2021 BMW M3 Competition Interior
- image 935353

For the first time ever, the M3 is available with ventilation for the seats, so you can add this option to the Competition model as well. You can also replace the M Sport seats with carbon-fiber bucket seats with integral head restraints. These can be dismantled to make room for wearing a helmet at the track. Although it would have been nice to have these carbon seats as standard, they’re optional on the M3 Competition, just like on the regular M3. The M3 Competition comes standard with three-zone automatic climate control, LED interior lighting, ambient lighting, a hi-fi audio system, and the BMW Live Cockpit Professional. The latter is equipped with cloud-based navigation and maps, the intelligent Personal Assistant, and smartphone integration.

Other features that set the Competition model apart include a leather-wrapped selector lever with an embedded "M" logo and stitching in M colors, and carbon-fiber inlays for the leather steering wheel and the shift paddles.

It’s the most powerful BMW M3 yet!

2021 BMW M3 Competition Drivetrain
- image 935410

The Competition badge matters the most when it comes to power and torque. Although this model features the same 3.0-liter inline-six engine, it generates significantly more oomph than the regular M3.

Specifically, the twin-turbo mill delivers 503 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque, which is an extra 30 horses and 74 pound-feet over the standard M3.

It’s also more than any other M3 model to date. It cranks out an additional 59 horses and 73 pound-feet when compared to the old M3 Competition Package and an extra 49 horsepower and 36 pound-feet over the previous M3 CS. It’s the most powerful M3 ever built!

2021 BMW M3 Competition Interior
- image 935352

The transmission is also different for the M3 Competition. While the regular M3 comes with a six-speed manual as standard, the M3 Competition is restricted to an eight-speed automatic transmission. This dual-clutch gearbox was specifically developed for the Competition model and stands out by its bespoke ratio spacing, which is perfectly attuned to the engine’s aggressive characteristics. But like any performance model, the auto gearbox features a manual mode through which you can shift manually by using the paddles behind the steering wheel.

Alongside the M3, the M3 Competition marks the introduction of all-wheel drive to the nameplate. The M3 Competition comes standard with all power to the rear axle, but the optional xDrive will split oomph and torque between the front and rear wheels with speed and precision for enhanced agility at all speeds. But even though it can send a significant amount of power to the front axle, the AWD system is rear-biased, just like on the bigger M5, so you can still enjoy that old-school driving experience the classic M3 models are known for. When fitted with xDrive, the M3 Competition also features an Active M differential, with both hooked up to a Dynamic Stability Control system. The transfer case also features integrated wheel slip control for quicker reactions to changing driving situations.

2021 BMW M3 Competition Exterior
- image 935325

In the all-wheel-drive Competition models, you can also adjust how power is distributed between the front and rear wheels through the new M Traction Control function.

But how quick is the M3 Competition?

BMW says that the sedan sprints from 0 to 62 mph in 3.9 seconds. This figure is likely for the AWD version.

The M3 Competition is three tenths quicker than the regular M3 in the same setup. Top speed remains locked at the usual 155 mph, but you can increase that to 180 mph with the optional BMW M Driver’s Package.

The 2021 BMW M3 Competition is the perfect rival for the Mercedes-AMG C 63 S

2015 Mercedes-AMG C63 Edition 1 Exterior
- image 569828

Mercedes-Benz has been offering the AMG C 63 in two powertrain versions for years now, and this strategy left BMW behind in the power and performance departments because the AMG C 63 S was too powerful for the M3. But this changes now, as the M3 Competition was designed specifically to go against the Mercedes-AMG C 63 S. Powered by a twin-turbo, 4.0-liter V-8, the Merc comes with 503 horses and 516 pound-feet on tap. That’s just as much power as the Bimmer, but an extra 37 pound-feet of torque. Both cars need 3.9 seconds to hit 62 mph and hit a limited top speed of 155 mph. However, with the optional performance packages, the AMG model hits 174 mph, six mph less than the M3 Competition.

2021 BMW M3 Competition Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 935381

Pricing information for the BMW M3 Competition, which hits showrooms in March 2021, is not yet available. However, with the regular M3 likely to start from around $67,000, the M3 Competition will cost in excess of $75,000 before options.

Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - ciprian@topspeed.com
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read More
About the author

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