BMW M4 Review
The BMW M4 is back faster and more agile than ever. However, it might take a while for you to get used to the new looks…
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‘Mmmm’. The sound of satisfaction and pleasure. And likely the sound you’ll make when you put your foot down in this new BMW M4.
The new BMW M4 will go head-to-head with the likes of the Mercedes-AMG C63 and Audi RS5 when it hits the roads later this year. As well as a complete cosmetic overhaul, this 3.0-litre straight-six sports car will be available with four-wheel drive for the first time.
The new BMW M4 features a similar huge grille to the upcoming 4 Series Coupe. Though, the gaping black-painted kidneys look far more at home on the aggressive M car than on the humdrum 4 Series thanks to plenty of other huge (and completely real) air intakes and vents.
The M4 gets a heavily sculpted bonnet with scalloped details behind the BMW badge. It is wider than its predecessor, by almost three centimetres.
The new car’s side skirts are more pronounced than before, too, and you can pick from a pair of new alloy wheel designs that measure 19 inches at the front and 20 at the rear. Speaking of the rear, the M4 comes with a black rear diffuser with a quartet of 10-centimetre exhausts pipes poking out underneath.
The only body panels carried over from the standard BMW 4 Series are the doors and the bootlid – everything else has been given the beefed-up M treatment. No wonder the M4 looks like a touring car.
The interior of the BMW M4 has been given the M treatment, too. There’s a chunkier M Sport steering wheel with M-coloured stitching and programmable M driving mode buttons, alongside a red starter button, an M-badged gear lever and plenty of carbon-fibre trim as standard. It’s on the steering wheel, the centre console and the gear-shift paddles.
The M Sport seats come with built-in M logos (that light up) and can be specced with two-tone trim – for an extra £300. Even better are the optional carbon-fibre bucket seats. They are even more supportive, come with electric adjustment and get plenty of vents to stop you feeling sweaty on a hot summer’s (track) day. Shame they’ll set you back £3,500.
500hp used to be the reserve of BMW's most powerful models, but now this mid-range M4 has more than that. Technology, eh?
You don’t have to pay extra for a fancy infotainment system, though – every M4 gets BMW’s latest iDrive tech as standard. This comes with two large screens, a head-up display system, BMW’s clever personal assistant voice command system and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The standard BMW M4 comes with a 3.0-litre twin-turbo straight-six engine that produces 480hp. Pick a Competition model and this gets bumped up to 510hp and 650Nm of torque. That’s 60hp and 100Nm more than the old Competition cars could manage.
The M4 has a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, but you can pay extra to get an eight-speed automatic instead. This is a torque-converter instead of the old cars’ seven-speed dual-clutch gearboxes and will get the same near-bullet-proof launch control system as the BMW M8. Competition models come with this automatic gearbox as standard – you can’t get them with a manual.
BMW claims the new M4 Competition will do 0-60 in 3.9 seconds – that’s 0.1 seconds faster than the outgoing models. More impressive is the fact that they’ll accelerate from 50mph to 75mph a whole second quicker than the old M4 Competition.
The new BMW M4 will be available with four-wheel drive instead of rear-wheel drive for the first time. This system has been pinched from the BMW M5, so it’ll let you decide how much power you want to send to the rear wheels. Turn all the electronic safety systems off and it’ll send all the engine’s power rearward to allow for some seriously smokey drifts – on a race track, of course.
The BMW M4 comes with a carbon-fibre roof to make its chassis stiffer and lower the centre of gravity to reduce body lean in fast corners. Despite this, the M4 weighs around 1,750kg – that’s around 160kg more than the old model.
Adaptive suspension – that gives you the choice of soft setups or firmer, more sporty ones – comes as standard and you get beefier brakes than the standard 3-Series. There are six-piston callipers with 380mm discs at the front and floating callipers with 370mm discs at the back.
Carbon-ceramic brake discs measuring 400mm at the front and 380mm at the rear are available as part of an £8,000 upgrade pack that also bumps the top speed from 155mph to 180mph.
You can upgrade the look of the BMW M4 further with a carbon pack as part of the optional M Performance Parts. This includes a redesigned front bumper with deep carbon-clad intakes instead of plastic mesh, carbon door mirrors, a carbon rear spoiler and a carbon finish for the rear diffuser. All in, it costs £4,000.
Other optional M Performance parts include a titanium exhaust that’s five kilograms lighter than the standard steel item. It looks different, too, thanks to a new stacked arrangement of the four exhaust tips.
You can also add adjustable coilover suspension to your M4 that lets you lower the car by 10mm. New alloy wheels are also available that measure 20 inches in the front and 21 in the rear.
You can also choose from a selection of M Performance interior upgrades. These add additional carbon fibre to the door sills and Alcantara – instead of leather – trim on the steering wheel.
The BMW M4 is on sale now, but in the UK, you can only get the upgraded Competition models. That means there’ll be no 480hp versions and you won’t be able to get a six-speed manual gearbox. The M4 Competition costs from £75,000, which is getting on for £8,000 more than the outgoing car. The first UK deliveries are expected in March 2021.
We’ve yet to drive the M4 but you’ll be the first to know when we do.
Meantime, watch Mat’s video of both the BMW M4 and the M3…