BMW M4 (2014-2020) review
The BMW M4 Coupe offers stunning performance and style, with much of the M3 saloon's practicality intact
The BMW M4 is effectively an M3 Coupe by another name. It's a fast, engaging and hugely desirable sports car, and it even offers a dose of practicality for those who occasionally need to carry luggage or rear-seat passengers.
For many purists, the M4's turbocharged engine can't match the last car's naturally aspirated V8 for drama and character. Yet, look past the artificial soundtrack and you'll discover a truly great set-up. It delivers the sort of pace that will have supercar owners looking nervously in their rear-view mirror, yet is far more efficient than the unit it replaces.
Better still, like all BMW M cars, the M4 is thrilling to drive. The rear-wheel-drive handling demands respect in slippery conditions, but the upshot is that you have to have your wits about you, and that helps it deliver an involving driving experience. The price list now only includes the more extreme Competition Pack models, so before making any purchase make sure you can live with the compromises in ride comfort.
Factor in the M4's decent everyday practicality and this BMW is a true supercar for every occasion.
The BMW M4 Competition is one of the most desirable sports cars for sale in the UK today. It comes as a two-door coupe or the open-topped M4 Convertible, and with a lineage that can trace its roots to the cult classic BMW M3, it's certainly a car with a strong reputation to uphold.
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When the M4 arrived in 2014, it promised much, but didn't quite deliver. However, subsequent revisions, including the creation of the limited-run M4 GTS and the sharper M4 CS, have seen the M4 finally deliver the performance and handling that it originally promised.
Power comes from a straight-six engine, an engine layout that is familiar to BMW enthusiasts around the world, but has been augmented by a pair of turbochargers to make 444bhp in the Competition-spec model. All cars come with a 7-speed DCT twin-clutch gearbox, with drive going to the rear wheels in standard BMW tradition.
This engine is fitted to a chassis that's designed to make the most of its performance. There's 50:50 weight distribution and a low centre of gravity, while carbon-reinforced plastic is used in the M4's construction to help save weight.
Adaptive dampers and an active differential are designed to enhance the car's performance. There's the option of adding fade-free carbon ceramic brakes, although this is expensive. All Competition Pack versions add lighter forged alloy wheels and different suspension and diff settings designed to boost the M4's handling.
As well as being packed with drive-enhancing goodies, the M4 Competition also comes with plenty of luxuries. It's the flagship of the 4 Series range, so it features kit such as heated leather seats, climate control, LED headlights, metallic paint, touchscreen sat-nav and a suit of connected services, too. Having said that, there are still plenty of pricey options available to send prices higher.
The BMW M4 Competition is available from around £67,000, with the Convertible around £4,000 extra.
The M4 Competition certainly needs to perform well to be competitive in the coupe class. Its main rival is the Mercedes-AMG C63, which like the M4 is available as a coupe and convertible, but also as a saloon to rival the M3, and an estate. There are two power outputs available, while all cars are powered by a characterful twin-turbo V8. The Audi RS 5 Coupe is another opponent, and it's also offered as the RS 5 Sportback, and the same running gear appears in the Audi RS 4 Avant estate.
Elsewhere, if you can forego the coupe body, the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio is worth a look, while the Lexus RC F offers traditional V8 power. And if you want a purer driving experience for a similar price to the M4, then the Porsche 718 Cayman is a purer two-seater sports car.
In this review
- 1Verdict - currently readingThe BMW M4 Coupe offers stunning performance and style, with much of the M3 saloon's practicality intact
- 2Engines, performance and driveBMW M4 Competition offers blistering performance and agile rear-wheel drive handling, but trade-off is very firm ride
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsDecent on-paper efficiency, but use the M4 Competition's full potential and you can expect mammoth fuel and tyre bills
- 4Interior, design and technologyMuscular styling additions help the M4 Competition stand apart from the standard 4 Series, plus upmarket interior is treated to a racy makeover
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceThe BMW M4 Competition is surprisingly practical for a two-door coupe. There's space for four adults, plus a decent-sized boot
- 6Reliability and SafetyThe BMW M4 Competition is a hotbed of tried and tested hi-tech parts, and it's also packed with cutting edge safety kit