What Is It?
Making its world debut at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show, the 2015 BMW M4 is the coupe version of the 2015 M3 sedan. Like the sedan, it features a 425-horsepower twin-turbocharged inline 6-cylinder that's dramatically different from the previous-generation V8. But in the coupe's case, the most controversial part is the M4 badge itself. This is the first time that the Motorsport division's 2-door, maximum-performance 3 Series will not be known as the M3.
The switch from 3 to 4 can seem perplexing when you consider that the original M3 -- the E30 of the 1980s -- was available only as a 2-door coupe. So, too, was the E46 M3, which ceased production in 2006. Although the other M3 generations have featured 4-door sedans, as well, it's the coupe that really put the M3 on the map. But the regular 3 Series coupe is now known as the 4 Series so, in BMW's words, "logic dictates" that the M3 coupe be rechristened as the M4.
Happily, a few runs through the M4's gears should be enough to dispel any concerns. Although the twin-turbo 6-cylinder lacks the primal scream of the yowling V8, it boasts 11 more hp and a massive 406 lb-ft of torque, which humbles the V8's 295 lb-ft. For jackrabbit starts, the dual-clutch, 7-speed M-DCT gearbox with launch control leads by a nose, as it's said to hit 60 miles per hour in a supercar-quick 3.9 seconds. Purists will be pleased that the 6-speed manual continues to be offered, and it'll hit 60 mph in 4.1 seconds with the proper technique.
Also notable is the M4's weight loss relative to the previous M3 coupe, said to be about 175 pounds. Naturally, the 2015 BMW M4 is offered with the same handling upgrades as the 2015 M3, including staggered-width wheels with wider rear tires, a standard limited-slip differential, an adjustable sport-tuned suspension, bigger brakes (with optional carbon-ceramic rotors) and a quicker electric power steering system with selectable effort.
The M4 additionally shares the M3's technology features, among them an integrated track-day smartphone app that can analyze your hot laps corner by corner, logging entry and exit speeds, throttle position, steering angle, gear choice and more.
As with the M3, expect the M4 coupe to fall between $60,000 and $70,000 in typical configurations.
When Can You Get It?
Add It to Your Shopping List Because...
You want to channel the spirit of yesteryear's iconic M3 coupes while enjoying the latest in turbo power. The 2015 M4 has the bloodlines of a champion, new name notwithstanding, and it will continue to attract those in search of performance that's not compromised. For al fresco fans, a convertible version should join the lineup within the next year or two.
Other Cars to Consider
Audi RS5 -- The RS5 has a glorious naturally aspirated V8, just like the previous-generation M3 coupe, and its styling is arguably more graceful than that of the M4.
Porsche Cayman S -- It has only two seats, but if you can live without the M4's rear compartment, the Cayman S delivers nearly unparalleled driving pleasure.
Used BMW M3 Coupe -- We're suckers for that old high-revving V8, so we'd find it tough to turn down a lightly used M3 coupe with a decent warranty.