28 Feb BMW M4 (F82) Convertible
Driving the BMW M4 around Southern California
The BMW M4 broke a few records, and a few traditions. First of all, for the readers that don’t know what an M4 is; BMW had the idea to change the name for the Coupé, from M3 to M4, to follow its overall new naming structure within the company. All 4-door-cars are now numbered odd, while coupes and convertibles are numbered even. That alone caused a big outcry from the fans, and I haven’t even gotten to the engine yet.
This is the first BMW M3/M4 that has a turbocharged engine, and not a naturally aspirated high revving, racing inspired engine. Why? Because government. Because of the stricter and stricter regulations set by more and more governments around the globe, BMW was forced, just like all other manufacturers, to reduce the overall fleet fuel consumption. The only way to pass these new regulation standards, without compromising power output, is by going with turbocharging. But the car is definitely not lacking power, even the horsepower increase is minimal over the old model, the torque was increased by 150 Newtonmeters and come much sooner into play.
The new M3 produces 431HP/550NM, while the previous N/A V8 model had a power output of 420HP/400NM. But the new model produces that peak torque already at 1850 rpm all the way to 5500 rpm, which makes this car a lot more potent than its predecessor.
Now turbocharging in itself is a pretty smart construction. You gain lots of ‘easy’ power from the engine by forcing more air into the combustion chamber, and therefore causing a bigger, stronger explosion. And the best part is, the turbine, which scoops more air into the engine, is powered by the exhaust gases the car produces anyways. With this procedure you mostly see gains in torque, but lose responsiveness and sound, which is why most M-enthusiasts like myself were extremely upset, when it was clear that the F8x M3/M4 will have a turbocharged engine.
After I drove the M4 for the first time, that fear that the car will feel extremely dull and boring to drive, became true. On a high level of course. Not only because of the lack of sound and responsiveness, but also because the overall car got heavier, bigger and more comfortable than the previous E90/E92 M3. I was just missing too many things at once. For example the new electric steering system, which wasn’t near as full of feedback as the old hydraulic rack was. The induction noise of that mighty S65 V8 engine, which now nothing more than some amplified engine noise coming through the speaker system. And just the overall feel of the car, which felt more like a GT car than ever before.
However, the M4 is a fast car. It’s definitely a lot faster than the naturally predecessor was. I mean once the torque kicks in, which also happens pretty fast, the car just go’s and go’s and has no trouble reaching 270 km/h (167 mph). Also dynamically, the car is better than ever. It just has so much grip and can go around turns like no other M3/M4 could ever before.
So, when I was looking for a car to test in Los Angeles, I thought I should give the M4 another chance. And I thought the convertible will have the best chance of convincing me, because I’ll get to hear some more of the actual sound of the car instead of artificial noise coming through the speakers. To make things even better, BMW sort of read my mind, and gave me a manual 6-speed BMW M4 Convertible in Yas Marina Blue. So I have to admit, when I picked up the car at LAX after my 12-hour-flight, I was very excited.
Unfortunately I had my luggage in the trunk, which meant I couldn’t put down the roof, because it too would need to get stored in the trunk, so I’ll jump forward a day.
The next morning I woke up pretty early, thanks to the jet lag. And let me tell you, it was one of these beautiful California mornings, with the sky as blue as the color of my M4. It was a picture perfect morning. So without waking up my girlfriend, I got straight into the car, dropped down the roof, put it in my already customized ‘M1 Mode’ and left for the nearest Starbucks.
After the first two blocks, I already like the car better than the M4 I had driven a year before in Germany. Maybe because it was manual, maybe because it was a convertible, or maybe because both of the above, combined with the California sky made me enjoy this experience better overall.
I set my ‘M1 Mode’ up this way: DTC, Engine in Sport for automatic rev-matching, Steering in Comfort and Suspension in Comfort. First I was all against that automatic rev-matching on downshifts, but once you tried it a few times, it really will spoil you, because of how perfectly it works.
The sound of the car still didn’t impress me too much. The sad thing is, that the car sounds the best after you let go off the throttle after a harder acceleration. Then the car will basically fart all the excess air that the engine doesn’t need anymore, out of the exhaust. Another very cool sound the car makes, if DTC is trying to find traction on a hard acceleration from a stand still. It reminded me of the old V10 F1 cars, with their very distinct traction control sounds.
The cabin of the car is beautiful. Just like in any other BMW. It’s in my opinion also the best infotainment system out there. It’s so simple to use and just does the job very well. The new version of the BMW M Head-Up Display is also very cool. I wish the old E9x M3’s had that already.
When I finally arrived at Starbucks about an hour later *lol*, I sat there drinking my Grande Cappuccino and inspecting the design of the car. I think the F8x M3s/M4s whatever, they look absolutely mind blowing. They look so aggressive and sporty, I think it’s a huge step forward compared to the previous generation. And that color Yas Marina Blue is just out of this world beautiful. I couldn’t get the car in any other color.
You can't imagine how many people walked up to me and said ``nice color! Is that stock?``
or “What color is that? It looks amazing!”. It indeed looks amazing.
Overall driving the car for 2 weeks in Southern California was fantastic, and since there isn’t anything comparable on the market at the moment, it would be a car I’d now consider buying. Ya, seriously! It’s just a very good every-day car, with lots of power, okay sound, and fantastic tech onboard. All that while having 4 seats and a roof you can put down. It’s definitely not a track car because it’s significantly heavier than a M3 or M4 Coupé, but to me, this is the only one I’d get.
Article by Kai Groschupf