Menacing M4 right on pace in BMW heritage

PUBLISHED: 07:01 25 September 2014

The iconic M badge has been applied to the 4 Series Coupe

The iconic M badge has been applied to the 4 Series Coupe


The iconic M badge has been applied to the 4 Series Coupe, but can it live up to the glorious M cars of old? Matt Joy, of the Press Association, puts it through its paces.

What’s new?

There’s a great deal that’s new about the M4, not least the name. Previously you could have an M3 in coupe, saloon and convertible formats, but now the M3 is saloon only. The M4 takes on the mantle as the coupe and convertible.

You get a stack of bespoke exterior parts to add menace as well as a bit of downforce and there’s 85kg of weight saved over the old car with bits like the carbonfibre roof, strut brace and a lightweight driveshaft.

But the biggest news is under the bonnet. The naturally-aspirated V8 has been binned in favour of a twin-turbo six-cylinder unit for the first time on an M car. It’s for the sake of efficiency – the new unit has more power and torque than the old car but emissions are down 26%.

BMW M4 Coupe

Price: £58,295 (with M DCT transmission)

Engine: 3.0-litre, 425bhp, six-cylinder twin-turbo petrol

Transmission: Seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox driving rear wheels

Performance: 0-62mph 4.1 seconds; top speed 155mph (limited)

MPG: 34 combined

CO2 emissions: 194g/km

Looks and image

The transformation to M4 brings with it some extra aggression – big front air vents, a deep chin spoiler, flared wheelarches and big wheels. The result is a terrific-looking thing.

Colour choice is another matter. The eye-catching metallic yellow shown here is certainly not for faint-hearted, while more moderate shades provide a more stealthy look.

Space and practicality

The transformation to M4 gives almost nothing away to the standard car. Up front there are excellent sports seats, plenty of head and legroom even for taller drivers and you can fit adults in the back seats too.

The boot is also impressive with 445 litres and, sensibly, has a good luggage net to stop everything flying about – which it would otherwise most certainly do.

Behind the wheel

Like all the current M cars the M4 gives you a multitude of options to play with, offering three settings for the engine, suspension, gearbox and steering. With everything set to either comfort or Efficiency, the M4 does a pretty convincing impression of a standard 4 Series. It rides well and is quiet, bar the odd growl from the engine when you poke it.

Turn everything up to the middle sport mode and instantly it feels more alert. Squeeze the throttle and the response is instant, that turbocharged engine offering up strong torque regardless of engine revs, and there’s a pleasing metallic note from the exhaust thanks to some clever electronic enhancement.

Push the M4 hard and the grip is hugely impressive, the optional carbon ceramic brakes very strong and its overall composure superb. It’s a genuine M car, no doubt.

Value for money

Compared to the outgoing car the M4 has had a notable upgrade in the amount of standard kit. You now get 19in wheels, xenon headlights, adaptive M suspension and things like folding electric mirrors as standard where previously they were options. That’s not to say you can’t go a bit nuts with the options – the desirable carbon ceramic brakes are £6,250 but the M Laptimer app is free to download at least.

Who would buy one?

There are two main types of people that will want an M4. Firstly, the enthusiasts who know the history of the M cars and want a performance car that has motorsport links and can cut it on the track as well as on the road. The other type are the badge snobs who want that M badge – and possibly one of the more eye-catching colours – to let everyone know they’ve arrived.

This car summed up in a single word – menacing.

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Andy Russell

Andy Russell

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EDP motoring editor, journalist who loves wheels and engines but hates cleaning them.

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