Time was, the BMW M3 was available as either a four-door sedan or two-door coupe. With BMW’s current numbering strategy, two-door cars built on this compact 3 Series platform are known as 4 Series. As such, an M3 two-door becomes the M4 Coupe.
Other than the removal of said hinged portals and the addition of a lower, swoopy roofline, the $76,000 M4 is all but identical to its M3 cousin. Therefore, it is a fearsomely talented rear-drive rocket that combines turbocharged 3.0L straight-six urge (425 hp, 406 lb-ft) and track-ready moves with a civilized ride and luxury ambience. As with all BMWs, the level of opulence and tech feature count depends on the thickness of your wallet. Look to the Premium Package ($4500), Executive Package ($5000) and Technology Package for that.
The standard six-speed stick works well, although shift feel isn’t as crisp as we’d like. However, as the manual transmission is a rarity in this segment, we give thanks. The optional 7-speed dual-clutch M-DCT ($3900) with paddles is excellent, knocking the M4’s acceleration, track speed and fuel efficiency up a couple of ticks. Both trannies feature downshift rev-matching.
Like the M3, the 2016 BMW M4 gets standard leather upholstery, 19-inch wheels shod with staggered summer performance tires (255/35R19 front, 275/35R19 rear), active locking differential, adaptive xenon headlights, quad tailpipes, power-folding auto-dimming heated side mirrors, keyless entry and ignition, cruise, and dual-zone automatic climate control. Other niceties include 16-speaker Harman Kardon audio and 8.8-inch display with navigation.
Buyers choose between a carbon-fibre roof or no-cost metal lid with sunroof. Go-fast upgrades include M Adaptive suspension, ceramic brakes and titanium exhaust.
For those who like to ruffle the toupee, an M4 Cabriolet with folding hardtop can be had for $84,500. More boulevardier than outright performance hooligan, the cab porks up by a substantial 238 kg and loses some structural integrity.
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