Born from BMW’s fabled M3, today’s M4 is what you buy when you want the highest-performing 4 Series you can find. To some extent, the M4 has traded in some of its more playful and involving genes to the smaller, cheaper M2. In its place is a dead-series and very sophisticated performance heavyweight. Today’s M4 is a two-door coupe or convertible (if you want a four-door sedan, look to the M3) with a 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder delivering 425 horsepower. Paired to either a six-speed manual or a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, acceleration is fierce. 0-60 mph falls in as little as 3.8 seconds with the optional Competition package, which takes engine output to 444 hp.
Some drivers will argue that the rear-wheel-drive M4 has lost much of its finesse and tactility in its bid to generate even more eye-widening performance, and perhaps they have a point — especially when it comes to weak steering feel. But the 2018 BMW M4 is still a very special car. Thanks in part to continuous improvements to its iDrive infotainment system and updated safety gear, it’s actually a solid daily driver, too. The 2018 BMW M4 starts at $68,700 before options and delivery fees, which puts it right in the hunt with the Mercedes-AMG C63 Coupe and Audi RS5 Coupe.
Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. Yes, the 2021 BMW M4 carries some unique styling notes that generate buzz on both sides of the aisle. But by laser-focusing on something so trivial, you might gloss over an important point: The M4 is really, really, really good. Better than BMW's bread-and-butter sports coupe has been in years, in fact, no matter what they call it.
The 2021 BMW M4 is an absolute hoot to drive, full stop. It's an aperitif that washes away the mediocre taste left in my mouth by its predecessor, which featured a frustrating ride quality and an engine note that wouldn't have cleared the first round of American Idol. That's all been ironed over and replaced with a car that only ever left me wanting to drive it more.
Under the hood, the base M4's 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6 delivers 473 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque, routed to the rear wheels through a six-speed manual transmission. While there's a little bit of acoustic electro-trickery piped through the speakers, the straight-six sounds great, especially at higher revs. And there'll be plenty of opportunity to take in that noise, because with peak torque arriving (and staying put) between 2,650 and 6,130 rpm, it's easy to become addicted to plunging my right foot into the firewall. The M4 just goes and goes and goes, and it'll keep going well beyond the upper bounds of the speed limit, signs passing by in a blur. Need to stop? Drop $8,150 on BMW's carbon ceramic brakes and you'll get predictable, strong stops on the regular.
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