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BMW M4 review - Interior, design and technology

Muscular styling additions help the M4 stand apart from the standard 4 Series, plus upmarket interior is treated to a racy makeover

Given that the M4 is based on relatively humble underpinnings, sharing parts of its platform with the previous generation 3 Series saloon, BMW’s styling modifications have transformed the two-door M car into a menacing coupe.

The low-slung, muscular stance sets the car’s stall out straight away; there are three big air dams that span the width of the car underneath the BMW kidney grille and flattened headlamps, while the low bonnet and flared wheelarches increase the M4’s eye-popping stance.

In the past, the M3 always had special wing mirrors, and it’s no different with the M4. They feature cut-outs to reduce drag and channel air down the side of the car to the rear. At the back, the M4’s exhaust count weighs in with four, fat tailpipes. There’s also a slight ducktail profile to the boot lid. From every angle, the BMW looks like a properly focused sports car.

Competition Pack cars look even more aggressive, thanks to their larger 20-inch multi-spoke forged alloy wheels and gloss black trim detailing, while on the CS there’s a CFRP bonnet, with a large centrally mounted air vent, a front splitter, larger cooling intakes and a rear diffuser fashioned from carbon fibre, along with a larger rear wing and a carbon-skinned roof, all of which goes to reducing weight by 32kg to 1,580kg. Finally, the limited-run (but now sold out) GTS adds matt paint, orange details and a huge rear wing, as well as a stripped-out interior with bucket seats and fabric door pulls.

The standard car gets glossy, carbon-fibre detailing inside, with a widescreen 8.8-inch display for the iDrive system. There’s a head-up display on offer, too, with two configurable ‘M’ driving modes, while the seats give excellent support for faster driving thanks to inflatable side bolsters. Our only real criticism is that with some parts carried over from cheaper BMW saloons, the M4 doesn’t feel quite as special as some cars in this class. That said, the Competition Pack versions are given a lift courtesy of even more heavily bolstered front seats and seat belts that get the M Sports stripe woven into the webbing.

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The rest of the cabin is pure 4 Series, which does means a thoughtfully laid-out dash, high-grade materials and excellent build quality. Plus, the low-slung driving position is perfect. The standard equipment count extends to sat-nav, a DAB radio, climate control and heated seats.

As with other 4 Series Convertible variants, the drop-top M4 gets a three piece folding metal hardtop. Yet while the set-up delivers coupe-like refinement and security when raised, it’s slow to operate, adds weight and eats into boot space.

Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment

Like all BMW models, the M4 comes with sat-nav as standard - in this case it's the brand's flagship Professional set-up. That means you get a large, dash top-mounted 8.8-inch screen that boasts crisp graphics and clear three-dimensional mapping. Also included is a split-screen function that allows you to view the map, while also calling up handy route information and detailed junction, roundabout and motorway exit layouts.

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Finally, this Professional model gets BMW's excellent Real Time Traffic Information (RTTI) function that uses up to the minute information to advise you of traffic jams. Roads on the map are highlighted green, yellow, orange or red depending on the severity of the hold-up. As an added bonus, BMW will update the car's maps and RTTI subscription free of charge for the first three years of ownership.

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As ever, this system is controlled by BMW's trademark iDrive rotary controller which has been refined over the years to become one of most intuitive systems to use. The large central wheel combines with around five shortcut keys, and with a little practise it's possible to change between functions without taking your hands off the wheel. Better still, the M4 also gets the Touch Controller function that allows you to 'write' instructions and destination entries with your finger on a touch sensitive pad set into the top of rotary control.

The M4 gets a six-speaker sound system that features a DAB radio, Bluetooth connectivity, a USB port and a 20GB memory for audio files. Buyers looking for a sound upgrade can go for either the BMW Advanced Loudspeaker system (around £450) or the Harman/Kardon set-up (around £700), both of which add more speakers and a separate power amplifier.

Other options include the mobile internet upgrade (around £100) that converts the car into a mobile 4G hotspot plus gives you access to various apps. Also available is a TV tuner (around £850), which allows you to tap into various digital channels - although the picture is disabled on the move.

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Which Is Best

Cheapest

  • Name
    M4 Competition 2dr DCT
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £65,225

Most Economical

  • Name
    M4 Competition 2dr DCT
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £65,225

Fastest

  • Name
    M4 Competition 2dr DCT
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £65,225
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