by John Tallodi
The BMW M4 is the two-door variant of BMW’s mid-level M-Performance range of cars. As the M4, it is available in either coupe or convertible body styles (the four-door M3 variant is covered elsewhere) and it offers sports car performance with the promise of everyday usability.
Changes for 2018 are few with an improvement in basic specification levels and a Competition Package that further expands the M4’s performance envelope.
The M4 looks similar to the rest of the 4-Series range inside but with a sprinkling of added M-ness in the form of unique seats, materials and probably a few too many M badges. The material quality, fit and finish and general feel of buttons and switchgear are all top-class. The redesigned iDrive system now offers more features and is easy to live with after some experimentation.
The front occupants will have no problem getting comfortable in the powered and heated seats, rear passengers however will find the accommodation a bit tighter although not unreasonable for a two-door vehicle. Cargo space is decent on the coupe and its split folding rear seats but the convertible has a more compromised trunk thanks to the folding roof mechanism.
The M4 may not be the newest sport coupe on the block but it still offers a level of handling and driving involvement that even newer competitors find hard to match. The front-engine, rear-drive layout and sport-tuned adaptive suspension make for a car that responds instantly to driver inputs and performs like a pure M-car at the limit.
The ride is firmer than in lesser 4-Series models but is not bone-jarringly hard and only very rough road surfaces unsettle the otherwise well-damped suspension.
The 2018 BMW M4 comes with a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged inline-6 producing 425 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque. It is rear-wheel drive only and happily a 6-speed manual is still available along with a 7-speed dual clutch transmission.
The M4 offers tire-shredding accelerative performance with a 0-60 mph time of 3.9-seconds with the dual-clutch transmission or 4.1-seconds in a manual car. An optional Competition Package adds an additional 19 hp which cuts a tenth of a second off both of those times.
The heavier convertible body shell does make itself felt in the corners although it is still a very responsive car and few will notice the subtle differences between it and the coupe. The additional weight does hamper acceleration though with 60 mph taking 4.2-seconds in a dual-clutch equipped car.
The BMW M4 comes in one trim level which includes just about every conceivable option. It is available in either coupe or convertible derivatives which are available with largely the same features.
Standard options include power heated front seats with memory function for the driver, adaptive suspension, active rear differential, adaptive headlights, keyless ignition, cruise control, dual-zone climate control, power folding mirrors and leather upholstery. A number of packages are available too.
The Executive Package adds a head-up display, speed limit info, parking assistant, Icon adaptive full LED headlights, automatic high beams and park distance control.
The M Competition Package adds pushes power up to 444 hp, a further 19 hp, a more direct steering ratio, new settings for the adaptive M suspension, DSC and active M differential and 20-inch alloy wheels.
The Active Driving Assistant option includes additional driver safety systems such as lane departure and forward collision warning, city collision mitigation and pedestrian warning systems.
A head-up display, wireless charging and Wi-Fi hotspot, leather covered dashboard, Carbon Ceramic Brakes and an M Driver Package (which includes a high performance driving class and raises the top speed to 174 mph from 155 mph) and standard suspension calibration for increased comfort are also available.
A neck warmer option is unique to the convertible and adds heating air vents below the front seat headrests.
The M4 coupe and convertible models offer a very compelling mix of performance and practicality in their class.
A comprehensive standard specifications list adds to the convenience and available options such as the Competition Package and Carbon Ceramic brakes further secure its place among the top performers in this tightly contested segment.