BMW M4 is Part Jekyll, Part Hyde: First Drive
The BMW M4 is one of the most highly sought after cars of the year. Gone is the M3 coupe and in its place is a lovely new coupe that distributes the lineup a bit more evenly (get it? Because 4). That being said this car has some pretty big shoes to fill. I'll start off by saying this — the M4 is a great looking car. It has lovely carbon fiber accents, the body lines look like they were lifted from a touring car, and the stance was set perfectly to give off this menacing ego. But none of that really matters. This, after all, is a BMW, the Ultimate Driving Machine. Or so they say. Added to the fact that it's a follow up to the benchmark of performance, the M3, what this car needs to do is perform on the track. And boy does it. I queued up to pit lane and got behind a Viper assuming it would give me the best shot of pushing this car to its limits. I went about setting every single button to the harshest setting. And then I remembered why everyone gets so annoyed with BMW. RELATED: See More of the Track-Ready BMW M4 Coupe
Take nearly any other car and press one button to either put it into track mode or take off all the driver aids. This car had about a thousand different buttons, each with five different settings, giving you an innumerable amount of variations. And you can't just hit one button to change all the settings at once. Oh no, you have to go in and change each setting individually and then move on to the next one. It takes forever.
After fiddling with the settings for what felt like a half an hour, I finally hit the track. That's when all those different settings started to make sense. While I went for all the top performance settings, it's easy to see why there are so many. Programming the car becomes necessary for each driver and their skill level. Why? Because this car is an absolute monster.
The shifts are some of the crispest you're going to get with paddles; you can actually hear the gear give you a satisfying click.
The turbocharged inline-6 pulls and pulls and pulls to no end. The amount of torque in this car is immense, similar to that of the V8 Mustang GT. Same feeling of instant torque, but with a little less weight. Every car on the track had trouble keeping up with this thing.
RELATED: See Photos of the All-New BMW M4 Convertible
The chassis is amazing. It's so rigid, so tight— even at full throttle I never felt like I was losing grip. You just point the wheels where you want to go and it goes.
Then you get to the carbon ceramic brakes. You get better brakes on the Z/28, if we're being honest, but compared to standard cross-drilled race brakes, these are phenomenal. Switching between the two you don't understand why all cars don't have these brakes. It just oozed performance from top to bottom.
Step inside and it's a different story. Immediately you're bathed in soft leather, you have access to a multi-function climate control, and you can barely hear the outside world as you shut the door. While the exterior screams 'RACECAR!' with its exaggerated fenders and carbon fiber aplenty, the interior feels like a completely different animal. And that's sort of the amazing part.
VIDEO: Watch the BMW M3 and M4 in Action on the Track
Whereas the Camaro Z/28 is all-out-race car, and the Mercedes S-Class is all-out-luxury, the M4 somehow figures how to blend the two seamlessly without compromise. The suspension is responsive, yet the ride is comfy. The torque is immense, yet the cabin is quiet. It transforms from Dr. Jekyll on the street to Mr. Hyde on the track, all while keeping true to its mantra as the "Ultimate Driving Machine."
Is it perfect? Not necessarily. It somewhat lacks the personality of the Lexus RC F and the individual drive settings are still obnoxiously true to BMW form. But for everything it brings to the table— holy hell is this car good.
RELATED: See More of the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe
Engine: 3.0L Turbocharged Inline 6 Cylinder
Horsepower: 425 horsepower
MPG: 17-city/ 26-highway
Inline-6 is so much better than the V8
Pretty spacious for a coupe
It dominates on the track
A little pricey
Lacks a personality
Piped engine noise is a bit irritating
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