I’ve never witnessed the Instagram paparazzi descend upon a car as quickly as they did with the new BMW M4.
Its front-end styling might give some pause, but the public couldn’t get enough. They whipped out cameras, asked questions, and slowed down to get a closer look. Whatever your thoughts are on it, the M4 makes a statement.
That gaping maw is not just for show, it’s functional, feeding in air for combustion as well as helping to keep everything cool, even at track pace.
Aft of the hood, the M4 shares little in terms of styling with the M3 even though they are essentially the same car under the sheet metal.
Its fastback profile still leaves enough headroom for rear passengers and the trunk is just as big as it is on the sedan. Ease of entry into the rear is, of course, compromised but if you picked the coupe, you probably don’t really care.
Like the M3, which we’ve just reviewed, the base M4 comes with a manual transmission, but this is the Competition model, which means that it gets an 8-speed automatic. It also gets more power: 503 hp vs. 473, and more torque 479 lb-ft vs. 406.
We finally get some quality paddles now. They’re big, made from carbon fibre, and are satisfying to pull, thanks in part to the rapid responses from the 8-speed automatic. What it lacks in character over the outgoing dual-clutch, it makes up for with smoothness.
My tester was equipped with the M-Carbon buckets that look the business but aren’t the best choice if you plan to daily the car, they’re stiff, tight around the hips, and getting in and out requires you to be reasonably limber. If you’re a bigger person, try them out before you plunk down the $8500 for the M-Carbon package that includes them.
The standard seats are still very supportive and much more comfortable, but the carbon buckets have the advantage of being mounted lower for an even better driving position, and the headrests can be disassembled to accommodate helmets. They also nick 21 lbs of weight over the standard seats, if that’s what floats your boat.
Soon the M4 and M3 Competition will be available with all-wheel drive, marking the first time it’s ever been offered on the most popular M-car. While this will temper the tail swinging histrionics, the extra bite from adding two more drive wheels will knock down the already fleet acceleration time by a few tenths. It will also make the car more accessible, and attract an entirely new fan base, especially here in the North.
With a factory-rated 0-100 km/h blast of just 3.9 seconds, the M4 Competition sans AWD is capable of mega speed, wagging its tail like an excited little puppy under heavy throttle inputs. The extra torque makes itself known but in true M fashion, the power is linear and controllable with the M differential making sure that all those horses make it to the ground intact.
Steering feel is light and millimetre precise with zero play in the wheel. You merely have to flex your wrists to start turning and there’s very little body roll when you do. It makes the M4 feel light and nimble, something you wouldn’t expect given its 1760 kg weight. The last M4 had steering that was too heavy and a bit of a sore point on an otherwise excellent car. This time, they got it right, even if it isn’t the most communicative rack.
But thanks to those M-Carbon buckets you feel even more of the road in your derriere, and as restrictive as the seats can be, they do serve a purpose and feel right at home in this car.
It’s not just the outright speed that’s hard to believe, it’s the amount of grip, and the poise the M4 displays through corners and also in nearly every situation you might encounter on the road. It never gets flummoxed, bumps don’t disturb the chassis and it doesn’t break your back over rough pavement.
You can turn everything up to their sportiest setting and you have a car that will make quick work of a race track, keeping up with much higher-priced, more exotic metal. When you put it all into comfort and turn the exhaust off you’ll have a relaxing ride back home. There aren’t too many cars that can pull this trick of that well, but the M4 and M3 are some of the best. Always have been.
This is a car, that’s not just capable but also comes saddled with all of the luxury trimmings and the latest tech befitting something with a starting price tag of $90,000. If that seems like a lot of money, there’s little you can get that will offer you more performance for less.
For our review on the 2021 BMW M3 click here.
The vehicle was provided to the writer by the automaker. Content and vehicle evaluations were not subject to approval.