Story and photos by David Haueter
Test Drive: BMW M3 Competition Package Story and photos by David Haueter
Someone in BMW's marketing department got a little excited when they got to work on the ad campaign for the new M3 Competition Package (ZCP), with ads describing the car as "street legal, barely," and ready for racing if you just take the seats out. Most of the stuff we see in magazine ads is fluff, but with ads like these and a name like "Competition Package," enthusiasts would naturally assume that the ZCP should be ready to take on the track at a moments notice. We spent some time in the ZCP both on and off the track, to see how good it really is.
To BMW's credit, the upgrades that come with the ZCP address the most obvious shortcomings of the standard M3, things that really should have been on the standard M3 from the start. The Brakes used on the car up until the ZCP package were seriously inadequate for track driving, and would often start fading about halfway through a typical track day. For the ZCP, BMW upgraded to 13.7 x 1.10 inch cross-drilled rotors in the front, up from 12.8 x 1.10 in the standard M3. At the rear, the rotor size stays the same at 12.9 x .79, but like the front, they are cross-drilled. The effectiveness of cross-drilled rotors over solid or slotted rotors is questionable at best, since they actually lose swept area, but the ZCP's are a step up over what was there before.