#ThrowbackThursday: 2016 BMW M4 CP vs BMW S1000RR
Join us as we take a gander back at some of our automotive endeavours from days gone by. This week, the time machine takes us to November 17 2016, when we staged yet another motorcycle versus car battle. This time, both contenders hailed from BMW. While the outcome was perhaps predictable, the side-by-side comparison made for beautiful photography and a fun morning out.
“We’ll do some laps of the track, talk some crap, have a laugh and then go home,” was our resident motorcycle expert Mat Durran’s veiled challenge after he managed to put one over Brenwin last time out when the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider locked horns with the Triumph Street Triple R.
But nothing is quite that simple with Mat. He has a competitive spirit — fuelled by a lifetime of racing around the world — that is switched on quicker than the twist of the throttle.
My wheels of choice on this occasion was the BMW M4 Coupé fitted with the Competition Package — and coming in a striking Java Green – it looked absolutely awesome. Mind you, backing up those demonic looks was an extra 14kW in power from the standard M4. Yep, at my disposal I had a mighty 331kW to play with. That said, looking at video footage after the event, one wouldn’t think so! Side by side on the main straight, we get the countdown: “Three, two, one...”
Truth be told, I needn’t have bothered even turning up. A sharp and sudden twist of his right hand and the BMW S1000RR shoots forward like a rocket on two wheels and I’m instantly left trying to play catch-up - one I must admit I didn’t make a very good job of.
Previously used in the Superbike World Championship, the S1000RR is now in commercial production and is powered by a 999cc engine that redlines at an insane 14,200rpm.
As we navigate the intricacies of the track, I’m simply attempting to claw back some distance but quickly realise it’s a futile exercise as he dances and weaves between the twists and turns with athletic beauty, at times a knee skimming the ground for good effect. I quickly come to the conclusion that he must have cojones the size of bloody watermelons!
Yes, the adaptive suspension makes handling the Bimmer a treat. New springs, damper and anti-roll bars means to mess things up you really do have to have done something wrong. The special lightweight M sport seats also provide perfect support as you line up the apex and throw it in to the next corner.
I gave it my best shot, but admittedly Mat rubbed my nose in it. Yep, it’s unfortunate to say, but the two-wheel brigade continue to kick butt!
High noon. Red Star Raceway, Mpumalanga. I’ve brought BMW’s ultimate performance machine, and it’s not a car. It’s a 146kW, 199kg missile that will stroll past the 300km/h mark without breaking a sweat and hit 100km/h barely more than two seconds after you let the clutch out.
In black the S1000RR is a mean-looking beast, intent oozing from its every pore.
And yet, next to the tin box in which Bruce has made a somewhat grandstanding arrival, it disappears into the background. I don’t know what you’d call the M4’s colour; Narcissist Green, perhaps?
It’s a bit on the garish side of gaudy for anyone with a more refined approach to style, but my inner child (the one that makes me ride bikes) thinks it’s great. I’m a bit more nervous than the last time we did this car vs bike thing: if the M4 goes half as good as it looks, then I’m going to have to concentrate.
Or so I thought; a couple of practice laps soon remind me how stupendously fast these superbikes are, and coming across Bruce in the car reveals a driver who appears to have an allergy to apexes. That can be the only reason that he never actually strays near one.
We line up for the start at the end of the 800m-long main straight. All the buttons for the launch control confuse me so I opt for the old-fashioned method of feeding in the clutch, keeping the revs high and my buttocks clenched. As I brake and peel into the first turn the sad old car is barely visible in my mirrors.
When I cross the finish line, I can’t actually see it. But after I’ve downed a quick cup of tea it finally appears.
The competition was decisive, but unfair. The bike is designed for cutting fast laps; the car has been designed as sensible family transport and then tarted up - and it doesn’t hurt that I’m quite fond of apexes.
Bruce wastes no time putting his car-centric spin on proceedings, and demonstrates that performance is not compromised by a passenger. With me in the passenger seat, his lap times don’t suffer - though I apparently ruined his experience with a series of unprompted expletives.
Much as it pains me to admit it, the M4 does feel pretty darn rapid, and it’s a monster on the brakes. But there’s rapid, and then there’s bike-rapid.
Bruce manages to squeeze his lengthy frame into a set of leathers and fold his protesting limbs into the necessarily ungainly position required to pillion on a superbike. And then we go for a couple of laps and can’t get within 30 seconds of my best solo time.
I concede this weakness when we return to the pits, but Bruce isn’t interested in my comments and seems intent only on questioning the marital status of my parents.
At least he might stop rabbiting on about the latest hot car he’s tested - now that he knows what real performance feels like.