BMW M4 Convertible review

Our Rating: 
4
4.0/5.0
By Auto Express Test TeamComments

The BMW M4 Convertible offers great handling, huge acceleration and a refined drive

For: 
Great handling, blistering acceleration, refined drive
Against: 
Coupe handles much better, not much boot space with the roof down, expensive to run

The BMW M4 Convertible is the drop-top variant of the M4 Coupe, powered by the same 3.0-litre twin-turbo straight-six, which produces 425bhp. With a complicated hard-top roof mechanism on board and a bit of chassis strengthening, the Convertible weighs 178kg more than the Coupe, which has a clear impact on handling and body control, but there's still fun to be had. 

The engine still delivers a devastating hit of acceleration, and is happy to spin up the rear tyres for long drifts, but the sound could be better. Amplified through the speekers it sounds synthetic with the roof up and too muted with it down. 

Despite its more relaxed demeanour, this is one M car that will find plenty of homes – BMW is expecting just under half of all its M4 sales to be of the Convertible variant. With some extra wind-in-the-hair thrills, it’s easy to see why.

Styling

4.1

With a big, complicated folding roof to stow away, the M4 Coupe’s curvaceous lines had to take a bit of a hit when it came to the Convertible version but BMW has done a remarkable job of keeping everything in proportion whether the roof is up or down.

Chrome strips accentuate the flowing windowline, while an M bodykit and quad exhausts ensures you won’t mistake this car for anything but the flagship M4. A set of 19-inch wheels come as standard but can be upgraded to larger sizes if you want.

As for the interior, it’s all identical to the Coupe, with stylish leather sports seats and a nicely laid out dashboard. BMW gives buyers the option to take things a step further with BMW Individual options, like fine leathers and woods. The Individual team also takes bespoke requests so almost anything you can think of can be applied to your car.

Driving

4.6

First things first: the differences between the Convertible and the Coupe. The drop-top version weighs 178kg more than its hardtop sibling, which clearly has an effect on performance. With the seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox fitted, the Convertible can sprint from 0-62mph in 4.4 seconds, which is three-tenths down on the Coupe.

In reality, though, it feels so fast and there’s so much performance whenever you need it, that we doubt you could ever feel the difference.

However, when you first step on the brakes hard you’ll notice the Convertible doesn’t quite have the urgent stopping power of the Coupe, but by any other marker it’s still pretty good. The handling is also lacking some of the sharpness you get in the hardtop M4 - there's more bodyroll for example and the car can get unsettled over big crests and deep compressions. Even so, you can still feel the 'M' DNA and you’d still have to say this car is the best handling four-seater convertible you can buy.

There’s masses of grip from the front wheels and the nicely balanced chassis makes it easy to light up the rear tyres and coax the Convertible in to a slide. Using the different settings for the suspension, steering and powertrain you can transform the M4 from a pretty serious and uncompromised sports car, in to one that you can easily use every day. In that sense, it’s a pretty compelling all-rounder that has a broad enough dynamic abilities to keep most drivers interested. 

Reliability

3.8

The M4 Convertible is still extremely new so we haven’t heard of any reliability issues just yet. The good news is that many of its electrical and mechanical components are shared with the 4 Series and 3 Series families, with tens of thousands of those cars out on the road already without many major issues. 

Standard safety kit isn’t in short supply, with all models featuring six airbags, lots of electronic safety nets and uprated brakes. You can also add an £825 head-up display and £370 lane keep assist.

The M4 Convertible won’t be tested by Euro NCAP but you could bank on it getting five stars if it was. As with most performance convertibles, there are a set of pop-up rollover hoops fitted just behind the back seats so that if the car does flip over, you’re safely protected.

Practicality

3.3

The M4 Convertible is a four-seater, and there is enough room for adults in the back seats, but it’s better to use it more as a two-seater if you plan on going top-down a lot. That’s because you can fit a wind deflector across the back seats that allows you to travel at motorway speeds with practically no wind buffeting.

The boot has 370 litres of space, which is slightly down from the 445 litres offered in the Coupe. In reality, it’s enough space for at least four weekend bags but that’s only if you plan on never putting the roof down.

Once you do that the amount of space decreases to just 200 litres and it becomes difficult to access your luggage. Thankfully BMW has a system that electronically lifts the folded roof up slightly so you can pull your bags out a bit more easily. 

Running Costs

3

Compared to the old 4.0-litre V8 that powered the M3 Convertible, the new 3.0-litre twin-turbo six-cylinder in the M4 is a much better prospect for running costs. Bear in mind this is still a pretty serious performance car and you can’t be too disappointed by the 32.5mpg fuel economy or 204g/km CO2 emissions. Opting for the six-speed manual gearbox  actually worsen both of these figures to 31.0mpg and 213g/km of CO2.

Company car buyers will have to be prepared to shell out plenty of cash in BiK – over the course of a year a high-rate earner will be taxed £8,276. On the plus side, insurance group 45 is relatively low – most cars with this kind of performance are in group 50.

BMW offers a five year fixed-price servicing scheme for £1,000 or another that includes the cost of maintenance for £3,460, which covers things like brake discs, pads and windscreen wiper blades.

Last updated: 17 Oct, 2014
AEX 1,341
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