First Drive: BMW M4

Sensational performance and handling is the M4's biggest assest.

Sensational performance and handling is the M4's biggest assest.

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There’s a great deal that’s new about the M4, not least the name. Previously you could have an M3 in coupe, saloon and convertible formats, but now the M3 is saloon only. The M4 takes on the mantle as the coupe will be the most popular model by far. You get a stack of bespoke exterior parts to add menace as well as a bit of downforce and there’s 85kg of weight saved over the old car with bits like the carbonfibre roof, strut brace and a lightweight driveshaft. But the biggest news is under the bonnet. The naturally aspirated V8 has been binned in favour of a twin turbocharged six-cylinder unit for the first time on an M car. As usual, it’s for the sake of efficiency: the new unit has more power and torque than the old car but emissions are down 26%.

Looks and image: As you’d expect, the transformation to M4 brings with it some extra aggression. There are big air vents at the front, a deep chin spoiler, flared wheelarches and big wheels as standard, and the result is a terrific-looking thing from pretty much any angle. Colour choice is another matter. The eye-catching metallic yellow shown here is certainly not for the faint-hearted, while more moderate shades provide a more stealthy look.

Undated Handout Photo of the 2014 BMW M4. Inside, the BMW M4 has the perfect environment for sporty driving. See PA Feature MOTORING Road Test. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Handout. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature MOTORING Road Test.
Undated Handout Photo of the 2014 BMW M4. Inside, the BMW M4 has the perfect environment for sporty driving. See PA Feature MOTORING Road Test. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Handout. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature MOTORING Road Test.

Space and practicality: The transformation to M4 gives almost nothing away to the standard car, so sadly you’ve got no excuse for leaving the loved ones behind in a haze of tyre smoke. Up front, there are excellent sports seats, plenty of head and legroom even for taller drivers and you can fit adults in the back seats too. The boot is also impressive with 445 litres, and sensibly it has a good luggage net to stop everything flying about — which it would otherwise most certainly do.

 

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