It’s always a big moment when there’s a new BMW ‘M’ car and 2021 is an especially big year, what with the arrival of a new M3 and the sleeker M4 – and it’s the latter car we’re trying here.
What’s immediately striking is just how bold the new M4 is, as it gets the same styling as the latest 4 Series, with an imposing grille that makes it truly unmissable.
But there’s a lot more to the M4 than just the way it looks, as the new model gets a far more powerful engine than before, and is now just being sold in the UK in the high-spec Competition guise.
But is the new M4 good enough to take on rivals such as the Audi RS5 and Mercedes-AMG C63? Let’s get behind the wheel and find out…
Though the M4’s engine might sound the same as before, it’s actually a far different beast to that found in its predecessor. It’s a twin-turbo six-cylinder 3.0-litre petrol, which kicks out 503bhp and 650Nm of torque – up from 460bhp and 600Nm. The sprint to 60mph takes just 3.7 seconds and flat out it would reach an electronically capped top speed of 155mph. An optional M Driver’s Package can raise the limit to 180mph, though.
All versions now feature an eight-speed automatic transmission – nobody bought the manual before, anyway – while here our test car sends its power to the rear wheels. That said, BMW will also introduce an all-wheel-drive xDrive version for the first time later in 2021.
Ride and handling
The M4 has always been rather special to drive, and we’re happy to report that nothing has changed on this updated model. This new car is a far better all-rounder than before, and much easier to drive quickly than its predecessor. The traction – especially for a rear-wheel-drive car – is really impressive, and certainly bodes well for the all-wheels-driven model that’s coming.
The steering is properly weighted but never feels heavy, while the engine and gearbox pairing is superb, and an area where BMW has always excelled. Though the M4 is still tremendously fun to drive, the greater focus on comfort and everyday usability means it’s so much better to use on a daily basis than it ever has been.
Interior and equipment
While the M4’s styling is open to plenty of discussion, one thing that can’t be disputed is just how excellent its interior is – bringing a perfect blend of quality, usability and sportiness that is everything needed in a BMW M car. The touchscreen and digital dial system are fantastic to use, though – unlike rivals – the German firm has kept plenty of traditional buttons that certainly helps you to navigate any menus and change the temperature on the move. Its optional carbon bucket seats are also superb, being both comfortable but especially supportive. They also look great, yet are still electrically adjustable and enable you to get comfortable.
Though the four-door M3 is the more logical choice when it comes to practicality, it’s actually impressive just how spacious the M4 is for a two-door coupe. Though the sloping roofline means headroom isn’t all that good, there’s an impressive amount of legroom, while a 440-litre boot is still a fantastic size, and exactly the same as the regular 4 Series.
When it comes to equipment, few will be able to grumble about the M4’s list of standard kit. Just a few highlights include its impressive 10.25-inch touchscreen and 12.3-inch digital dials system, while other highlights include a 16-speaker Harman Kardon sound system, and electric and heated sports seats. There’s still plenty of optional extras available, too, but just be careful of ticking too many boxes as the price can quickie rack up.
Speaking of price, it’s no major surprise to learn that a model with this level of performance is hardly a bargain.
Prices for the M4 start from £76,055, making it more expensive than both the Audi RS5 and Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadfigoglio, while models can soon cost in excess of £80,000 with only a couple of options added.
This latest M4 is unquestionably the best yet. Though some might reckon it’s not as raw as its predecessor, its greater everyday ability makes it a much better car to live with, while still being comfortable and practical, too.
Yet, while growing up, it certainly hasn’t lost any of its ability, and remains huge fun behind the wheel to drive, with a superb engine that leaves you wanting for very little. It’s yet another triumph from BMW, that’s for sure.Enquire on a new BMW M4 Competition