The BMW M3 Coupe is no more, buyers wanting sleek looks and incredible performance on the 3-Series platform need the BMW M4
The BMW M4 is effectively an M3 Coupe, but don’t let that put you off. The M4 is a fast, engaging, and hugely desirable, even offering a dose of practicality for those who occasionally need to carry luggage or rear-seat passengers.
For many purists, the M4’s turbocharged engine can’t match the old car’s naturally aspirated V8 for drama and character. Yet look past the artificial soundtrack and you’ll discover a truly great setup. It delivers the sort of pace that will have supercar owners looking nervously in their rear-view mirror, yet is far more efficient than the unit it replaces.
Better still, like all BMW M cars, the M4 is thrilling to drive. The rear-wheel drive handling demands respect in slippery conditions, but the upshot is that you have to have your wits about and that helps it deliver an involving driving experience. Competition Pack models are even more extreme, so make sure you can live with the compromises ride comfort.
Like the M3, the M4 uses an all-new twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre straight-six that’s both more powerful and more efficient than larger naturally aspirated V8 unit it replaces. The standard car gets 425bhp, while the Competition Package model ups that to 444bhp.
The M4 is easy to identify thanks to its muscular bodywork. Using the 4 Series coupe as a template, the M4 gets flared wheelarches, a distinctive power bulge in its bonnet, quad exhausts and deeper front and rear bumpers. Vast 18-inch alloy wheels complete the racy makeover, while Competition Package cars get unique alloy wheels and a sports exhaust. The range-topping GTS gets organic LED rear light, matt grey paint and a huge rear wing.
It’s a similar story inside, where the classy interior of the 4 Series is given a sporty new look. Figure-hugging sports seats, a chunky three-spoke steering wheel and numerous M badges are the biggest clues, while eagle-eyed fans will spot the trademark grey-backed dials.
Even better, because the M4 is based on a 4 Series, it’s surprisingly practical. There’s enough room for four adults, while the boot features is well-shaped and features a decent 445-litre capacity. You also get plenty of standard kit – although like all BMW models, it’s possible to get carried away with the extensive and expensive options list. The M4 Convertible is less practical, of course, due to the bulky roof mechanism that eats into boot space.