£57,065 - £121,780 Price range
2 - 4 Seats
32 - 34 MPG
An M4, you say? That’s right, BMW has renamed what would previously have been known as an M3 coupe, to bring the latest sporting two-door in line with the “odd numbers for saloons, even for coupes” logic of the rest of the range.
With 0-60 times in the low four-second range, the M4 has lost nothing of its performance nature in the rebranding, but the way it delivers that performance is rather different. The old V8 engine has gone, replaced by an inline six-cylinder engine like older M3s… albeit turbocharged this time.
Before its release, many testers were worried that this new engine might harm the character of the M4, so were their concerns justified?
Remember to take a look at our BMW M4 dimensions guide to check out the size details important to you.
BMW’s M division don’t make too much fuss about the interiors of cars. Generally, all you get are one or two subtle touches to remind you you’re sitting in something a little bit special. The same applies here. Fantastically supportive and infinitely adjustable sports seats are fitted in the front, while special M Sport door sills and dials lift the cabin ambience beyond a regular 4 Series.
The rest is standard 4 Series fare. That means you’ll find a well-laid out, solidly-built cabin and a dashboard that is slightly tilted towards the driver and a big infotainment screen. The only criticism that could possibly be levelled at it is that it doesn’t feel purposely designed to be a sports car from the outset– merely a very nice normal car.
BMW M4 passenger space
When compared to more extreme rivals such as the Porsche Cayman or Lotus Evora the M4 is more spacious with decent room for four people. However, the sloping roofline eats away at headroom and as a result the M3 saloon is the better bet for scaring passengers.
BMW M4 boot space
The M4’s 445-litre boot is bigger than those in the Porsche or Lotus, but smaller than the ones in the Mercedes C63 AMG Coupe and the Audi RS5. The M3 saloon is again the more practical choice, but judging by the amount of M4s sold vs M3s, most buyers prefer style over practicality in a sports car. Surprising isn’t it?
Weight has been cut down a good 80 kg compared to the old the M3 coupe, now standing at a still-hefty 1,497 kg. The slimming-down has come courtesy of the use of aluminium for the bonnet and suspension, and carbon fibre reinforced plastic for the drive shaft and roof – the latter formerly limited to only the occasional special edition here and there.
There is plenty of fun to be had, one tester noting that there is “ample power to overwhelm the rear tyres” – so there’s more than enough potential for some sideways tyre-smoking action – if you’re so inclined. Even with the adjustable dampers in their firmest setting, the M4 is “compliant over the worst bumps” while “body movements are well contained”
The main issue – as with several BMW’s of late – is the steering. It has quite significant weight to it, but offers very little in terms of feel. Part of the enjoyment of driving past M cars was exploiting their uncanny talent of describing to you exactly how they were behaving via the palms of your hands. As one tester puts it, the current M4 would “send an E30 [the original M3] driver weeping into his Warsteiner at the inertness of it all”.
One thing that can’t be denied is the immense performance that M Division’s new engine offers. Replacing the old 4.0-litre V8 is a twin-turbo, 3.0-litre inline six. Producing 431hp (and huge heaps of torque) it fires the M4 from 0-60mph in only 4.1 seconds, on its way to a limited top speed of 155mph. Throttle response is “phenomenal” for a turbo car, while the torquey nature of the engine – maximum pulling power is available from just 1,500rpm – makes it incredibly flexible.
While the performance is hard to argue with, the way that it delivers it is certainly up for debate. Too many testers comment that the turbo engine lacks character when compared to previous M3 units. The fact that the engine note is artificially enhanced is bad enough, but one tester even suggests that at the top of the rev range the twin-turbo motor feels “a bit thin”.
Whether you go for the manual gearbox or the dual clutch seven-speed automatic, you’ll get a smooth shifting transmission which is a joy to use. The dual clutch will be the most popular, but it adds 40kg to the weight yet lightens your pockets by £2,645.
There are no reviews of the M4 just yet so we can't tell you just how good the new unit is, but at 431 PS there's huge performance on offer, the M4 hitting 60 mph in 4.1 or 4.3 seconds depending on whether you choose the dual-clutch auto or the manual transmission. Each hits 155 mph flat out and the DCT is most fuel-efficient (if that sort of thing concerns you) at 34 mpg combined.
Stay tuned for a more detailed look at the M4's engine when official reviews land.
The BMW M4 is the performance version of the BMW 4 Series coupe. It is a highly accomplished all-rounder with a great engine and striking looks. It has quite a few rivals in the face of the more driver focused Porsche Cayman or the similar in price and pace Mercedes C63 AMG Coupe and Audi RS5.
Like other BMW interiors, the M4 one is hardly changed compared to the regular one salve for better seats and a few M badges here and there. It’s actually a beautifully built cabin that doesn’t have luxurious pretentious like some rivals and the driver-oriented dashboard is very easy to use and navigate. The seats are described as “superb” and there is space for two adults in the back.
One would expect the performance version of a coupe from a carmaker that is well know for producing “the ultimate driving machines” to be spectacular to drive and you’d be right – the M4 is hugely capable at both setting record lap times and sliding around in a huge cloud of smoke. What it fails to achieve, though, is communicate with the driver the way older M cars did. And that’s one of the reasons why they were so popular.
Squeezing out 430hp from a 3.0-litre engine is a technical feat of its own, but the way that power is delivered is the biggest surprise. Almost all of the pulling power is available almost from a stand still, so at any speed and at any gear the M4 provides impressive acceleration. When driven in a Cristian way, it is decently frugal as well, especially when compared to the Mercedes’s 4.4-litre turbo V8 in the C63 AMG Coupe.
Being the most expensive 4 Series means the M4 gets some nice kit, that is normally reserved for the pricey optional extras list. You get leather upholstery, satellite navigation, DAB digital radio, heated seats and 19-inch alloy wheels.
If you’re in the market for a sports coupe, then the M4 offers a huge number of talents for the money. Sure, the Porsche Cayman is a superior drive, though it is only for those willing to live with two seats. Offering similar thrills to the BMW are the Mercedes Benz C63 AMG Coupe and the Audi RS5.
Out of these, the Mercedes is the one to go for, and it matches the BMW in the handling stakes yet has bags of character. The M4’s final rival comes in the shape of the M3 saloon, which is basically the same car, save for the fact that it costs a tiny bit less but is more practical thanks to an extra pair of doors and a bigger boot.
If the M4 sits at the top of your wish list, you certainly won’t consider it a let down. Despite it’s minor faults, it is still one of the best all-round performance cars. on sale today.