From £56,3858
More visceral than the M4 coupé thanks to more audible exhaust and well-controlled swirl of air in the cabin, but dynamics suffer slightly

Our Verdict

BMW M4

New name, new engine and two turbos and even a much needed facelift, the main question lingers - can the BMW M4 grab the initiative off of the Mercedes-AMG C 63 Coupé

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Richard Bremner Autocar
30 August 2014

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?

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

Join the debate

Comments
11

31 August 2014
"It’s worth noting, though, that at £64,000 this car faces some dangerously tempting alternatives. Jaguar F-type or Porsche Boxster GTS, anyone?"

Just so long as you do not mind leaving half the family or friends behind. If it was only for one or two, I doubt you would be looking at the beemer ?

31 August 2014
audiolab wrote:

"It’s worth noting, though, that at £64,000 this car faces some dangerously tempting alternatives. Jaguar F-type or Porsche Boxster GTS, anyone?"

Just so long as you do not mind leaving half the family or friends behind. If it was only for one or two, I doubt you would be looking at the beemer ?

Kiernan wrote:
averageman wrote:

Wouldn't the E-Class soft top and the Audi RS5 cabriolet be direct rivals to the M3 convertible as opposed to the two seater sports cars from Jag and Porsche?

Of course it would, but then if they did this, they'd probably have to say that the M4 is better than it's direct competition, and that just wouldn't be professional. I'm not a big fan of this car myself, but I have to say that if I wanted a fast FOUR SEATER convertible, I'd give this serious consideration.

Exactly. The M4 caters to a more diverse audience than the Jaguar and Porsche.
It seems that most car websites focus mainly on how good any given car is on track. This covers a very tiny percentage of the people that want to buy cars. In the real world. the M4 has massive low end power, looks fantastic and seats 4 people. In other words, an excellent product.

31 August 2014
Wouldn't the E-Class soft top and the Audi RS5 cabriolet be direct rivals to the M3 convertible as opposed to the two seater sports cars from Jag and Porsche?

31 August 2014
averageman wrote:

Wouldn't the E-Class soft top and the Audi RS5 cabriolet be direct rivals to the M3 convertible as opposed to the two seater sports cars from Jag and Porsche?

Of course it would, but then if they did this, they'd probably have to say that the M4 is better than it's direct competition, and that just wouldn't be professional. I'm not a big fan of this car myself, but I have to say that if I wanted a fast FOUR SEATER convertible, I'd give this serious consideration.

TS7

31 August 2014
...will the rear seat passengers experience at speeds above those of which lesser 4-Series cabrios are capable?...

31 August 2014
though going by the review it still drives well and it does look good in that colour. It's getting pricey though. £64k is a lot of money.

31 August 2014
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....

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

1 September 2014
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 ?

BertoniBertone

1 September 2014
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.

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