Back in February we published details of BMW’s new Competition Package for the M3 Coupe and at the time I expressed disappointment at what seemed to be more of a cosmetic tweak rather than anything that would qualify the M3 for pseudo-competition status.

Describing a model as being fitted with a ‘competition package’ would seem to imply a comparable intent to Renaultsport’s Cup models or perhaps even Porsche’s GT3, particularly when BMW’s press pack describes their new M3 variant as being “inspired by the popular E46 M3 CSL”.

Anyone who has driven such hardcore sporting models can attest that their ‘competition feel’ is as much the result of extreme weight-loss rather than the fitment of additional options – however the M3 Competition Package weighs just the same as a regular M3 Coupe.

Like all 2010 M3 derivatives, a Competition Package specified car now comes complete with the introduction of Auto Start-Stop technology as standard. This EfficientDynamics technology is new to the M3 range and has a positive effect on fuel consumption and emissions. Improving fuel consumption on the combined cycle from 23.7 mpg to 25.2 mpg when fitted with Auto Start-Stop, and emissions from 285 g/km to 263 g/km.

The Competition Package also features a 10mm lower ride height, bespoke 19-inch CSL-style alloy wheels, a new Sport setting within the standard Electronic Damper Control (EDC) and a re-programmed Dynamic Stability Control Plus (DSC+) system. Compared to the standard EDC system the one fitted as part of the Competition Package has a revised ‘Sport’ setting to enhance the handling characteristics with an even greater bias to enthusiastic driving, likewise the thresholds of DSC intervention have been reprogrammed to permit less traction control interference and suit the more capable driver.

In fact it would seem that this new M3 Competition Package is really the modern incarnation of the E46 M3 CS, a variant that made the E46 M3 more rewarding to drive without compromising on the M3s comfort, utility and electronic gadgetry.

So, perhaps further reason to choose BMW’s ultimate driving machine over its competitors, but the regular M3 is still a cracking car and is priced £3,315 ‘less’ than this new variant.