More visceral than the M4 coupé thanks to more audible exhaust and well-controlled swirl of air in the cabin, but dynamics suffer slightly

What is it?

The new open-top BMW M4, a convertible whose manners have clearly been tamed for ambitiously rapid high-speed cruising. 

Like the M3 convertible before it, the BMW M4 convertible is a slightly troubling device for car lovers. This is a machine whose main reason to exist is the exhilaratingly tactile pleasure of driving it as rapidly as you dare. 

That’s why the M4 coupé has a 431bhp turbocharged straight six engine, fat tyres, a front bumper gaping with air-guzzling grilles, and the option of a swift-shifting seven-speed, paddle-triggered transmission.

The M4 convertible has all this too, but it weighs more and is inevitably less rigid to the potential detriment of the road manners that are a BMW Motorsport model’s priority. 

And this downside has applied to every one of the now five generations of roof-retractable M3 and M4s.

None of which has deterred the 60,000-odd global customers who have bought a drop-top M3 over the past 26 years. If you want the top-of-the-range high-performance 3 or 4 Series, this is your car, and plenty of sun-lovers will settle for nothing less.

What's it like?

A car that’s very similar to the M4 coupé in terms of style, performance and driving substance.

Fire up and the exhaust is all blare and promise, and you won’t be disappointed when you unleash the straight six - 406lb ft of torque floods in from 1850rpm to 5500rpm, at which point you ride peak power all the way to 7300rpm. 

This is a sensational engine, and its roof-off impact is all the greater for hearing the suck of induction and the blast of exhaust. The quad pipes sing harder in sport mode than in more eco-friendly settings too, and sometimes loudly enough that you’ll want to control their volume separately rather than via the engine throttle map. 

The M4’s dynamic performance survives largely intact, although its polish has dulled in places. The convertible’s steering feel can seem curiously fogged at times - though the sensation is rare -  and you can detect a faint, fast-pulsing shake through the body on choppier surfaces. 

In hard-charged bends, too, you’ll feel the 70kg deadweight of a roof flat-packed a few feet behind you. If you set out to look for these differences, you’ll find them. But they’re small, and unless you obsess about them they barely diminish the very considerable thrills of this car, which are quite often magnified to glorious effect by the removal of its roof. And that includes swooping through curves.

In the dry the M4 has the grip of wall-climbing gecko, but in the wet it’s not so hard to get the orange traction control light flickering excitably. Limit the DSC’s interventions and you’ll discover a slightly challenging uncertainty at the edge of adhesion, although you’ll have to be pushing it to get there. 

Should I buy one?

For the most part the Convertible is a beguilingly effective road weapon despite the odd hairline crack in its dynamics. It’s worth noting, though, that at £64,000 this car faces some dangerously tempting alternatives. Jaguar F-Type or Porsche Boxster GTS, anyone?

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BMW M4 convertible M DCT

Price £63,375; 0-62mph 4.4sec; Top speed 155mph; Economy 32.5mpg; CO2 203g/km; Kerb weight 1790kg; Engine 6cyls, 2979cc, turbocharged; Power 431bhp between 5500-7300rpm; Torque 406lb ft between 1850-5500rpm; Gearbox seven-speed dual clutch automatic

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BertoniBertone 1 September 2014

All torque and little noise.....

This is now precisely the engine the headless M4 needs: all torque and artificial induction noise.....all developed at low revs to shove this lump o'lard along. I've driven the M4 coupe at a BMW day at Brands recently and it's kinda " Yep, got that, fast, a bit quiet, you can short-shift and surf the torque: now , move along, nothing more to see here..." But now the engine has found the car it deserves...

May they both be very happy together......along with their potential hairdressing customers (several salons at this price of course....)....Blow-dry anyone ?

Overdrive 1 September 2014

BertoniBertone wrote:

BertoniBertone wrote:

......along with their potential hairdressing customers (several salons at this price of course....)....Blow-dry anyone ?

Good to know there are knowledgeable posters here about what makes hairdressers cars. Interestingly, a hairdresser local to where I live (who's obviously doing better business than I presumed) just bought himself an F-Type coupe! This replaced an S-Line Audi of some sort, S5 I think it was.

BertoniBertone 2 September 2014

Hairdresser with a F-type.....???

Oh dear.....Is that right ? Don't tell me it's in white....?? Not the R ? Don't spoil my day......
catnip 31 August 2014

Impressive vehicle, but I

Impressive vehicle, but I really dislike the over ornate front and rear bumpers, which look a bit after-market to me.
banger 31 August 2014

Plus its a hard top roof...

M4 convertible has four decent seats AND it has a hard top folding roof. No other performance car in this range offers four seats and a hard top roof. The previous E93 M3 convertible had a hard top roof but blunt performance. The M4 convertible performance seems pretty decent....