2021 BMW M4 review: Down to clown

First impressions matter, so let’s look at the nose a little later.

Andrew Krok / Roadshow

Do not throw the baby out with the bath water. Yes, the 2021 BMW M4 brings some unique style notes that generate buzz on both sides of the aisle. But by laser focusing on something so mundane, you might overlook one important point: the M4 is really, really, really well. Better than BMW’s bread-and-butter sports coupe it has been over the years, in fact, no matter what they call it.

I do not like

  • Tire noise
  • Weird optional bucket seats
  • Styling with an acquired taste

Driving is the point

The 2021 BMW M4 is a blast to drive, period. It’s an aperitif that washes away the mediocre taste left in the mouth by its predecessor, featuring a frustrating ride quality and an engine note that wouldn’t have canceled the first round of American Idol. It was all fixed and replaced with a car that left me wanting to drive it more.

Under the hood, the base M4’s turbocharged inline-6 ​​3.0-liter delivers 473 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque, routed to the rear wheels through a six-speed manual transmission. While there’s some acoustic electro-deception piped through the speakers, the straight six sounds great, especially at higher revs. And there will be plenty of opportunities to absorb that noise, because with maximum torque arriving (and staying put) between 2,650 and 6,130 rpm, it’s easy to get addicted to dipping my right foot into the firewall. The M4 comes and goes and goes, and will continue to go far beyond the upper limits of the speed limit, the signals passing in an instant. Do you need to stop? Drop $ 8,150 on BMW’s carbon ceramic brakes and you’ll get predictable, hard stops regularly.

BMW has one of, if not the best manual gearbox on the market inside the M4. This brilliant six-speed evokes the feelings of the Bimmer manuals of yore, its slightly rubbery movement between the well-placed gates doesn’t feel much different than it did when it was in the E46 M3. The clutch has a well-defined pickup point, making footwork a breeze, and its standard-speed matching system generates perfect shifts if you’re not the king of the heel toe.

Like other modern BMWs, the 2021 M4 has a number of vehicle settings that can be individually adjusted or grouped together via the two bright red M buttons atop the steering wheel. Press the Setup button on the center console and the screen fills with customizable options, allowing me to customize the throttle, steering, suspension and brakes. The standard mode for each is still very addictive, but if you’re a tight throttle or brake response fanatic, options are available. Throwing everything into the Sport eliminates whatever bit of roll that has ever existed, although I would recommend leaving the Sport Plus for the track or just the more perfect pieces of asphalt. Drop $ 900 on the M Drive Professional upgrade, and you’re given more traction control modes that let you get a little drifty before braking things.

As crisp as the M4 when the game gets twisty, it is remarkably compliant in everyday use. The roads of southeastern Michigan are… not ideal for sports cars, shall we say, yet the M4 is never rocked whatsoever. The bumps are shipped with a bit of a push to the cabin, and even the hardest divots never translate into a suspension thunk. With the M4 in its softest settings, it’s a perfectly adequate vehicle for commuting, errands and all the little things of everyday life in between, as long as you don’t mind the noise of its wide Michelin Pilot 4S summer tires.

Is it efficient? Not exactly. The EPA slaps the 2021 M4 with a rating of 16mpg in the city and 23mpg on the highway. In my experience, the mileage in the city is there, but staying out of thrust and maintaining the appropriate overall speed (as there are only six forward gears) can push the highway economy closer to 25 or 26, if not a little. above.

BMW’s interior design language isn’t my favorite at the moment, but everything is structured enough and the build quality is top-notch.

Andrew Krok / Roadshow

Shut up for the sun! Shut up for the sun!

Most conversations about the latest iteration of M4 will always come back to one thing: that damn nose. Frankly, I don’t mind that much. Perhaps this has to do with how it looks on my Portimao Blue tester, the dark chrome-free grille that looks a lot less flashy than the other 4 Series variants. Maybe that’s because, once you see the bumper bar crossing the gap , your eyes can visually separate the grids into upper and lower components. Maybe I just don’t care that much. Is it my favorite design? Goodness, no. But is it an affront to man and to God? Hardly.

The rest of the M4, inside and out, looks pretty solid. Its long, low silhouette is basically a miniaturized 8 Series at this point, with most of the aggressive bits reserved for the front and rear bumpers. The tailpipes may look proportional to the rest of the body in the pictures, but in real life, I can assure you they look like cannons hanging from a galleon.

Yup.

Andrew Krok / Roadshow

Inside, the overall layout is pretty much a standard Series 4 bone, with a harmless dashboard layout that, in the M4 guise, is wrapped in seriously smooth leather. For $ 950, you can shell about half the surfaces with carbon fiber, but I feel that trend is already quite played out. What it is not exaggerated, however, is the absolutely batshit blue and yellow color scheme that plays on the seats and door panels. While it wouldn’t be my first choice, I appreciate the ability to rock some expressive colors that aren’t derived from the usual blacks, whites, and tans.

And then there are the seats themselves. These $ 3,800M carbon bucket seats are immensely supportive, with high support for the torsos and thighs. That said, they’re going to be a tough sell for people who aren’t mini skinny, since they are strict. There is also the way of the large protrusion towards the front of the seat cushion; I’m sure there is some reason for this in motorsport, but in everyday use it feels unnatural and largely just annoying.

These optional bucket seats are supportive as heck, but that little bump on the bottom gets weird after a while.

Andrew Krok / Roadshow

iDrive is still good, perhaps not great

BMW’s iDrive hasn’t undergone any major overhaul recently, so what’s here in the 2021 M4 is the same old piece of telematics that we Roadshow editors have been using for the past couple of years. I wouldn’t take this on Mercedes’ MBUX, but in a vacuum it’s more than enough, with plenty of responsiveness and a splash screen that does a great job of delivering all the right information with minimal distraction. Don’t want to use the touchscreen? No problem, man, because there is a dial on the center console. USB charging takes place via a USB-A port near the cup holders and a USB-C port under the armrest. wireless Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and built-in navigation are all standard. The M4 also has a digital display which is basically the same as seen on almost every other BMW these days, and that’s okay.

Unlike many other high-performance cars, BMW still equips the M4 with many standard active and passive safety features. Regardless of the specs, your M4 will roll off the factory line with parking sensors, front collision warning, automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, and automatic high beam. None of the systems are very intrusive and the settings menu allows me to call them back a little further if needed, so most of the time I can’t even tell they’re there. Best of all, you don’t need to shell out additional Simoleons for any of them; it’s all standard right from the start.

iDrive is fine, as long as you never bother fiddling with gesture control.

Andrew Krok / Roadshow

Up to brass tacks

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the 2021 BMW M4 is expensive, but man, This expensive? The starting price of $ 72,795 (including $ 995 for the destination) is harmless enough, but my tester enjoys the options. Paint is $ 550, wild interiors are another $ 2,550, wheels are $ 1,300, and bucket seats are asking for another $ 3,800. The updated brakes take an additional $ 8,150 out of your wallet, and if you’re feeling particularly expensive, you can drop $ 2,500 on the M Driver package that does no more than bump into the speed limiter and offer a one-day class at a local BMW Performance Center. In case your eyes have flown over at the sight of all these add-ons, I’ll do the final math for you – this BMW costs $ 93,795. Lord, have mercy. And this isn’t the fucking competition variant either!

Yet, at the same time, the BMW M4 possesses so much character for a high-performance coupe that it’s hard to even look at anything else. Competitors like the Mercedes-AMG C63 and Audi RS5 are a bit long and need to be replaced, while the Alfa Romeo Giulia QV is only available as a sedan, and is a bit tough for everyday use. This puts the M4 in a prime position, delivering incredible performance without forgetting that everyday life shouldn’t be a punishment. You will get used to the front end, I promise you.

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