- Thrust of the twin-turbo engine
- Sexy coupe/hard-top convertible body styles
- Good ride-versus-handling balance
- Non-linear power delivery
- Lack of steering feel
- Imprecise manual shifter
- Still no M4 Gran Coupe
BMW M4 Expert Review
New for 2017
The Adaptive M Suspension is now standard, and the latest version of the automaker's infotainment system, iDrive 5.0, is included. The Executive package now includes wireless charging and Wi-Fi hotspot with enhanced USB and Bluetooth. Those going for the Individual Extended Merino Leather will now also get a leather dashboard.
The BMW M4 is what was once called the M3 Coupe and Convertible, but these two-door variants are now their own models despite being mechanically identical to the M3 sedan. As an M car, the BMW M4 is a weapons-grade 4 Series Coupe and/or Convertible, capable of running alongside sports cars and muscle cars alike. Unlike the tamer BMW 4 Series the M4 has unique interior trimmings, a high-performance engine, suspension, wheels, brakes, tires, and bulging fenders. The M4 GTS was a single-year (2016) special-edition version of the M4 limited to 700 units built and sold-out. Effectively a road-legal race car, it benefitted from a water-injected version of the same engine, boosting output to 493 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque.
Like the rest of the BMW lineup (1-, 2- 3-, 4-, 5-, 6-, and 7-Series), this even numbered car is designated a 2-door 4-passenger coupe and convertible. Where the (F82) M4 coupe and (F83) M4 Convertible differ from their tamer (F32/F33) 4 Series siblings is in performance and, of course, price. Also, the M4 is not available in the sleek, attractive Gran Coupe (sedan) body style - that incidentally breaks the even-number rule.
With prices starting at around $67,000 and $76,000 respectively the sexy 2017 M4 Coupe and three-piece retractable-hardtop Convertible are amply powered by a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6 engine making 425 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 406 lb-ft of torque at a mere 1,850 rpm. A 6-speed manual transmission is standard, and a multi-mode 7-speed dual-clutch transmission (DCT) is optional, but power is routed through a carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) driveshaft to a computer-controlled active differential at the rear wheels. Staggered-width 18-inch forged alloy wheels, performance tires, do their best to put power to the road. Standard automatic engine stop/start may be turned off. According to the EPA, the M4 Coupe with a manual transmission should return 17 mpg in city driving, 26 mpg on the highway, for a combined 20 mpg on premium gasoline. A DCT-equipped M4 drops 2 mpg on the highway for a net loss of 1 mpg in combined driving. The convertibles return the same EPA figures. In Motor Trend testing, an M4 Coupe with a manual transmission hustled from 0-60 mph in 4.2 seconds; the DCT-equipped Coupe between 3.9-4.0 seconds. Depending on the equipment, the convertible weighs 200-300 pounds more than the coupe, so accelerates with slightly less verve.
For around $5,000 you may upgrade any 2017 M4 with the Competition package, raising engine output to 444 horsepower (torque remains the same). The Competition package wheels are larger in diameter and width, dynamic settings and response are more focused, and light-weight front seats and gloss-black trim are added inside and out.
Keyless entry/ignition is standard and the M4's interior comes well equipped. Inside, you'll find ten-way power front seats (memory for driver), combination cloth/leather upholstery (heat-reflecting leather for the convertible), 3-stage heated front seats, carbon-fiber/gloss-black trim, and split-fold rear seats with a ski pass-through (not available on the convertible). A Harman-Kardon premium audio system is standard as is hard-drive based voice-controlled navigation with 3D maps, real-time traffic info, and an extra 20GB of storage for digital audio files. The latest generation iDrive (5.0) controls infotainment features including Web connectivity, BMW ConnectedDrive, and a host of available apps. Besides various leathers, other interior options include the Executive Package (parking sensors and rearview camera, heated steering wheel, wireless charging and Wi-Fi hotspot, and an information-packed head-up display). For the coupe, you may delete the CFRP roof and replace it with traditional steel with a retractable glass sunroof.
There is no crash test data, and thus no rating from either the NHTSA or IIHS for the M4 Coupe, Convertible, or even the BMW 4 Series in general. Standard safety equipment includes eight airbags, and BMW Assist emergency communications that provides on-demand roadside assistance, automatic crash notification, and stolen-vehicle recovery assistance. Optional safety equipment includes the Driver Assistance Plus package consisting of camera- and radar-based blind-spot monitoring, side- and top-view cameras, lane keeping alert, forward collision warning, high- and low-speed automatic braking, and pedestrian protection. Top- and side-view cameras as well as automated parking assist may be ordered separately.
What We Think
In terms of a making good on the performance promises made by the legendary M badge, the athletic, muscular BWM M4 comes through. What's less obvious is how utterly livable the car is otherwise, in everyday driving. There are precious few high-performance coupes or convertibles that can walk that same tightrope with as much dexterity as the BMW M4. That said, there are M-division loyalists - and honest folks who review cars for a living - who will say that the M4 leans too far toward luxury and away from its hard-core history. In fact, in a Motor Trend comparison test against a Chevrolet Camaro SS, the second-place BMW was encouraged "to either rethink or reclaim ye olde Ultimate Driving Machine." Demerits were given for "possibly the coarsest straight-six ever" where "the fake engine noise [is] pumped in through the M4's speakers." Also, "The steering's numb, the shifter's sloppy, the engine's response is nonlinear, and the clutch pedal has far too much travel." We now live in a world where some domestic automakers are making better sport coupes than some of the Europeans.
The M4's strut tower brace, trunk lid, and driveshaft (and the Coupe's roof) are all made of Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic (CFRP).