BMW’s M Division has produced some truly wonderful high-performance cars, the M3 being one of the best, so when the M4 broke cover I was more than excited by the prospect of driving it because this is one of those coupes you just know is going to be mightily impressive.
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Clearly, every motoring journalist in the UAE thought exactly the same so I had to politely wait my turn, and wait, and wait and wait… Finally, the call came that a car was finally available, only it wasn’t the coupe I had so been looking forward to driving, but the M4 Convertible.
Some enthusiasts steer clear of convertibles because with no roof they can lack the rigidity that makes the coupe version handle better when it comes to agility at high speed. Fair enough, coupe’s do handle much better and I prefer them to convertibles but, come on, you are hardly likely to turn your nose up at this stunning piece of kit.
Frankly, I am hardly likely to push the car to the point where any lack of body rigidity comes into play and I suddenly find myself in a world of peril and, secondly, in this age of automotive genius engineers have ways of strengthening the bodywork on drop-tops to cut out most, if not all, of this problem.
This M4 looks awesome, both with the hard top up and down which takes around 20 seconds to fold away very neatly into the boot. It has a really aggressive persona without it being in your face, offering performance with typical Bavarian prestige.
The front is simply gorgeous with its deep air intakes, stylish kidney grille, mean looking headlights and power bulge on the bonnet. The side profile is classy and the back continues the power theme with carbon-wrapped double exhausts.
The optional 19-inch Ferric Grey light-alloy wheels complete the picture. BMW interiors remain amongst the very best in the business and this is no different with fabulous high grade leather seats, carbon fibre trim, easy to read, classy, instrument cluster, leather sports steering, classy gear lever and the obligatory M4 logos, just in case you forget what it is you are driving.
The infotainment system is top notch and is all operated via a i-drive rotary dial on the centre console and a good sized screen which sits on the centre of the dash. I didn’t like these screens at first because they look a bit like an iPad which has been stuck on at the last minute, but I now think they look quite cool.
So the cabin is a very comfortable and exciting place to be but the real beauty of this machine is what lies beneath the bonnet.
This car’s predecessor had a brilliant V8, but in common with the current downsizing trend that has been replaced by a 3-litre twin turbo straight six which is more powerful than the V8 it replaces. It pumps out 431bhp, has torque of 550nm and it’s fair to say this car doesn’t hang around when you put pedal to metal.
It is superbly responsive with the power being served up to the rear wheels via a seven-speed double clutch automatic. You don’t get the same deep growl as you would from a V8 but nevertheless this six cylinder masterpiece delivers a nice throaty roar of its own as it blasts you from 0-100kmh in a rather satisfying 4.3 seconds.
The auto works brilliantly but driving this machine gets even more entertaining when you use the paddle-shifts in sport plus mode which tightens everything up and the noise levels go up a notch, although there is some noise enhancement involved here which isn’t really necessary.
The aural pleasure this car provides is even better with the roof down. The car has active M differential which is connected to the stability control system providing bags of traction and ensuring optimal stability during enthusiastic driving. I was hardly hanging about and was impressed with the way this car handled, despite the fact that it is no lightweight beast, thanks to the retractable hardtop.
It is fast, agile, and a pure delight to drive, particularly during the evening when the UAE summer heat has eased off a bit. Ok, the coupe is probably better from a pure driving perspective but if you are into open top motoring and want a car that really looks the business it doesn’t get much better than this.
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