This week the www.carshowroom.com.au garage welcomed back one of the world’s best cars – the sonorous BMW M4 Coupe. Last time we were acquainted a few months back it was at a very wet race circuit in Taupo, New Zealand where we dialed-up the ‘Sport+’ setting and brought oversteer back into the vocabulary…quite possibly the best drive of the year in fact.
The fact we were able to slide around the Taupo circuit (as we did the previous day in the M3 sedan at the Hampton Downs circuit) is thanks to BMW’s multi-setting ESP system’s ‘Sport+’ which is intended only for track work. The fact BMW has developed these systems is a credit to a bunch of Germans who really know their stuff and love driving and who have been responsible for product development.
We appreciate and are gob-smacked by the i3 and i8 hybrids but well, we’re just saying…performance cars like the M4 Coupe are the heart and soul of BMW. And we hope that never changes.
BMW M4 Coupe Overview
BMW’s 3-Series Coupe is no more, replaced by the larger and more exotic 4-Series. That means the high performance M3 Coupe is no more…boom!...the stunning BMW M4 Coupe is here and it stakes a claim to rival the Mercedes-Benz C 63 AMG as being the best in-class.
But things are different – the BMW M4 Coupe is powered by a turbocharged six-cylinder engine. Pleasingly things are also the same – the new M4 Coupe is faster than the previous V8 and actually drives better with a brilliant chassis and even more advanced electronics (would you expect anything less from BMW?).
Inside and out, the hallmark BMW M ‘sporty prestige’ is even better with the M4 Coupe than it was in the superseded M3 Coupe. Priced at $166,900, the BMW M4 Coupe represents remarkable buying.
BMW M4 Coupe Engine
As we know, the V8 is gone and BMW now equips the M4 Coupe (and M3 sedan) with its wondrous twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre, six-cylinder engine. Drive is to the rear wheels via BMW’s ‘Active M’ differential and the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission with steering wheel paddle shifters for manual cog-swapping (you can opt for a six-speed manual if desired).
Maximum power of 317kW is delivered between 5500rpm and an ear-shattering 7300rpm while peak torque of 550Nm arrives between 1850-5500rpm. And of course the controversial exhaust system delivers a distinctive growl when the turbo six gets honking.
So that’s zero to 100km/h in 4.1 seconds and combined-cycle fuel consumption of 8.3l/100kms. And that’s supercar brilliance in anyone’s language.
BMW M4 Coupe The Interior
The team at BMW’s ‘M’ division is responsible for some of the best-looking interiors in the high-performance market segment. Sure the M4 Coupe is all-new, but the hallmark ‘M’ interior highlights (updated/new of course) remain a highlight.
Immediately obvious in the BMW M4 Coupe are the new-design three-spoke leather-wrapped steering wheel and the new-design sports seats (trimmed in ‘Merino’ leather and the fronts are heated). As always, the front seats are on the snug side (just how they should be in a high performance coupe) and with heaps of electronic adjustment and rake/reach adjustment for the wheel, the driving position is perfect.
Instruments are housed in a beautiful leather-trimmed binnacle, to the left of the driver is the free-standing 8.8-inch LCD screen and all around are gloss black and carbon fibre trim highlights. We also liked the head-up display.
Mounted on the centre console is the usual rotary control for the audio/navigation etc. Funny isn’t how people struggled to come to grips with BMW’s i-drive system when it first arrived and now even the former harsh critics concede it is one of the easier systems to understand and operate.
Access to the rear seat is straight-forward, even for adults and it does fold for when you have troublesome cargo loads to handle. A capacity of 445-litre is excellent and the BMW M4 passed our ‘Golf Club Test’.
BMW M4 Coupe Exterior & Styling
As soon as you get close to the BMW M4 Coupe you’ll immediately be entranced by the roof – it’s carbon fibre and the visible components provide an immediate sporty/race car look (the bootlid is carbon fibre as well but it’s painted body colour).
BMW M4 Coupe On The Road
There’s lots going on underneath the BMW M4 Coupe, starting with that active ‘M’ differential, the front MacPherson strut/rear multi-link suspension with electronically-adjustable dampers, links made form lightweight alloy and the massive 19-inch alloys fitted with grippy Michelin Pilot Super Sport rubber. If you’re thinking that sounds like a race car, you’re right.
And if you’re thinking you need all that (and a heap of electronic aids as well) to manage a ripping 317kW/550Nm twin-turbo V6 engine…well you’d be right again.
Thing is, BMW does it so well with the M4 Coupe. It’s those words again: ‘total package’ – and for us, the combo of the M4 Coupe and that forced induction V6 seems ideally balanced.
One of the delights of the previous generation M3 Coupe was extracting the best from the somewhat ‘peaky’ atmo V8 and conversely the strength of the new M4 Coupe is wider torque curve (550Nm from just 1800rpm) of the dual-turbo V6. And if the V8 brought a smile when it burbled into life on the starter button, the eruption of the V6 is no less enticing.
So over our high-speed mountain roads test loop (in ‘Sport’ to firm-up steering and suspension) and swapping cogs manually via the paddle-shifters…well file that drive under ‘M’ for ‘memorable’. The BMW M4 Coupe has a distinct rear-bias in this set-up meaning there’s immediate turn-in that’s frankly very rare these days (only the best rear-drivers deliver) and an overall dynamic which is reserved for enthusiast drivers.
The mid-corner ‘set’ is just as you’d expect from a coupe wearing the ‘M’ badge and on corner exit the M4 Coupe delivers grip and response just how we like it. Oh and a word on brakes – the BMW M4 has massive four-piston discs up-front and twin-piston rears and, as we know from our New Zealand adventures, not even the sort of punishment dished-out by morons tests their limits.
On-road the BMW M4 Coupe purrs along without complaint in the peak-hour crawl but with the howling exhaust note always ready, never lets you forget this is a serious high-performance vehicle. There’s a bit of tyre noise on coarse chip roads (and curiously in the car park of our local shopping mall) – but hey those massive 19-inch wheels and all that grippy rubber get our vote regardless of the noise they make.
BMW M4 Coupe Issues
Some have criticized the BMW M4 Coupe’s ‘active’ exhaust saying it’s a tad artificial. Yeah, like ‘Barnsey’ on CD is artificial compared to a live gig…either way your ears are ringing for hours!
We don’t buy that and the eruption of noise as soon as you hit the starter button is just reward.
BMW M4 Coupe Verdict
In a BMW M4 Coupe, rain lashing the race circuit in Taupo, New Zealand, as we fed in the power exiting the fast left-hander onto the back straight, we flicked-on some opposite lock for a nanosecond before a subtle intervention of the ESP allowed us to keep the throttle nailed for maximum acceleration…and the song lyrics ‘Mama told me there’d be days like this’ sprang to mind. Yes, drives don’t get much better than the M4 on-song.
Seriously, high performance European coupes are right at the cutting edge of the automotive industry. If there’s go-fast technology on offer, BMW (and M-Benz and Audi to be fair) fits it to cars like the M4 Coupe.
From that twin-turbocharged six-cylinder engine to the gorgeous interior, low, flared wheel-arches and carbon-fibre roof…well the BMW M4 Coupe has it all. Make no mistake, this is one of the world’s best cars.
BMW M4 Coupe The Competition
Counting the BMW M4 Coupe we have three Car Showroom Favourites in this league and like a father talking about children it’s just not right to favour one over the other. FYI the BMW M4 coupe is the newest design of the three.
We’ll put it this way: ask us to name who’s making the best high-performance cars in the world at the moment and we’d tell you to it’s impossible to pick between BMW ‘M’, Mercedes-Benz ‘AMG’ or Audi ‘RS’. It’s down to personal tastes or maybe you’d pick the ‘Benz because of the company’s F1 racing.
Of course the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG is a contender. The regular C63 AMG (336kW/600Nm) is priced at $154,900 or $169,407 buys you the 373kW/610Nm C63 AMG 507. So the ‘Benz has a bit more grunt and like the BMW M4 Coupe, the C 63 AMG is simply an astonishing car.
Same for the Audi RS5 for $155,900. A big plus for us is the RS5’s Quattro all-wheel-drive system (we always opt for benchmark techno) despite its 331kW/430Nm 4.2-litre V8 being a smidge outgunned.