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2017 BMW M4
New Car Test Drive

Introduction

The stylish BMW M4 is the two-door version of the M3 sedan and is based on the BMW 4 Series. It’s a grand tourer, not a sports car. There’s also an M4 convertible. It’s drop-dead gorgeous, but still not a sports car.

The BMW M4 uses a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine that makes 425 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque. It’s the engine from the previous generation of M3, heavily improved, although the exhaust note is disappointing. It can accelerate from zero to sixty in 3.9 seconds, with the available 7-speed dual clutch automatic manual transmission, or 4.1 seconds with the standard 6-speed manual. Top speed is electronically limited to 155 miles per hour.

The convertible adds 525 pounds to the weight and about $8200 to the price, but magically makes your car topless in 20 seconds, and comes with a wind blocker and neck warmer. It’s a nice ride.

The 2017 BMW M4 makes the Adaptive M suspension standard equipment. Adaptive M has three dynamic modes (Comfort, Sport and Sport+) that electronically adjust the damper stiffness and steering resistance.

The 2017 M4 offers a new Competition Package that increases horsepower to 444 and shaves a tenth off the 0-60 time.

With the DCT transmission, the 2017 M4 coupe or convertible gets 17/24 mpg City/Highway, 19 miles per gallon Combined. Both the Corvette and Porsche 911 get better fuel mileage than the M4, but no one said the M4 is a sports car.

The M4 hasn’t been crash tested. Closest thing is the BMW 3 Series, which scored okay but only got Marginal on the IIHS small overlap test.

Model Lineup

The 2017 BMW M4 coupe ($66,200) and M4 convertible ($74,700) comes with a 6-speed manual, 18-inch wheels, 10-way power adjustable front cloth bucket seats, sports exhaust, keyless ignition, adaptive cruise control, heated front seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel, Bluetooth, navigation, BMW iDrive infotainment, and a 16-speaker Harman Kardon sound system. The DCT dual-clutch transmission is optional ($2900).

The new Competition Package ($5500) also includes a tuned suspension, 20-inch wheels and a black grille and badges. Carbon-ceramic brakes are available ($8150). White is the standard color, while any other color will cost $550 to $1950. We like Sakhir Orange Metallic. The Driver Assistance Plus package ($1700) includes blind-spot monitors, surround-view camera system, and active driving assistant.

Walkaround

The BMW M4 has 4 Series proportions, exaggerated a bit. There’s a power bulge on the hood to accommodate the twin-scroll turbo, flares on fat fenders wrapping around bigger wheels, and aerodynamic tweaks on the noses, sides, and back end.

The hood and fenders are aluminum, while the roof and trunk lid are carbon fiber.

Interior

The M4 interior is like a 4 Series, with a few M touches: beautifully tailored sport seats, M controls, carbon-fiber trim, and M badges.

There isn’t much room in the rear. The coupe has a decent trunk, as does the convertible when the top is up. Top down the cargo capacity drops from 13.0 to 7.8 cubic feet.

A rearview camera isn’t standard in this $70,000 car. Shocking. If you want one, it’ll cost $3500 in the Executive Package, as if only executives merit the safety of a rearview camera. That package includes head-up display, heated steering wheel, and parking assistant.

As for cabin noise, that distinctive screaming inline-six sound, classicBMW, is lost to the droning of artificial engine noise piped into the cabin.

Driving Impressions

With the same competent chassis, the M4 is nearly identical to the M3 in performance and handling. It loves to run off toward the horizon. The handling is neutral even with radical steering inputs, although there’s lack of communication when it’s drilled in tight corners. But get the M4 on a big wide sweeper, and the steering works very well.

It can be intoxicating behind the wheel of the M4, but it can also be unforgiving, when you are pushing it to the extreme. Point the nose and nail the throttle, and if you catch the rear end with the right timing, you’re a hero. If you miss it, the M4 won’t forgive you. In this situation, we want an M2.

The available carbon brakes stop so quickly (when they’re warmed up) your head might snap. The driveshaft is carbon fiber, to save weight and reduce the loss of horsepower between the engine and the rear wheels.

The throttle and transmission response in Sport+ mode are quick, too quick for around-town driving.

Most of the time we prefer manual transmissions, for the fun of it, but the best transmission for the M4 is the 7-speed DCT dual clutch manual automatic, with a launch program.

Summary

If you consider the competition for the M4 as being the M3 and M2, it’s hard to find reasons to need an M4. But if you must have a coupe or convertible, the decision is made. You can’t beat the powertrain.

Sam Moses wrote this review, with staff reports by The Car Connection.


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