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.
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.
The M4 is a litre down on the old model, but twin turbos more than make up for it
While the performance is hard to argue with, the way that it delivers it is certainly up for debate. The turbo engine lacks character when compared to previous M3 units – the engine note is artificially enhanced and the torquey delivery can be a poison chalice on wet, slippery roads.
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 and lightens your pockets to the tune of £2,645.
In corners, there is plenty of fun to be had and 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 and 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 for describing to you exactly how they were behaving via the palms of your hands.