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2016 BMW M4: New Car Review

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author photo by Autotrader April 2016

The 2016 BMW M4 is a 2-door version of the M3 super sedan that comes with either a fixed metal roof or a power retractable hardtop. This is really the successor to previous generations of the M3, which started off in the 1980s as a coupe, but the company's name-changing approach means the current M3 is a sedan -- not that it really matters.

BMW's M division is responsible for high-performance versions of its cars, and each one is brilliant in its own way. The M3 has always been known for its sublime handling, stellar engines and civilized disposition. The M4 continues to offer these traits. And there's never been a 2-door M3 as fast or as capable as this 425-horsepower delight. When you factor in BMW's sophistication, you get one of the most compelling sport-luxury cars on the planet.

What's New for 2016?

The list of standard equipment grows even longer by adding an upgraded Harman Kardon 16-speaker surround-sound system with satellite radio, plus keyless entry/ignition.

What We Like

Thunderous acceleration; incredible handling; well-appointed interior with great technology; retractable hardtop in the convertible

What We Don't

Fake engine noise piped through the speakers

How Much?


Fuel Economy

The rear-wheel-drive M4 is propelled by a twin-turbocharged inline-6 engine that develops 425 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque. A 6-speed manual transmission comes standard; a 7-speed dual-clutch automated manual (known as M-DCT; it works like an automatic) is optional.

The engine has an auto stop/start feature that conserves fuel by shutting off when the car is stationary.

The Environmental Protection Agency estimates fuel consumption at 17 miles per gallon in the city, 26 mpg on the highway and 20 mpg combined when using the manual transmission. The automatic transmission means 17 mpg city/24 mpg hwy/19 mpg combined. These figures apply to both the coupe and convertible.

Standard Features & Options

The 2016 BMW M4 comes in a single well-equipped trim level as either a coupe or a convertible with a retractable hardtop.

Standard features in the coupe ($66,395) include an aerodynamic body kit with flared fenders and a power dome hood, adjustable drive settings, a sport-tuned suspension (with upgraded components relative to regular 4 Series models), M-spec performance brakes, a torque-vectoring rear differential, 18-inch staggered-width alloy wheels with performance tires, automatic wipers, auto-leveling adaptive xenon headlights, auto-dimming mirrors, a sport exhaust with quad tailpipes, 10-way power adjustable and heated front sport seats with adjustable side bolsters (and a backlit M logo on the seatback), driver memory settings, leather upholstery, carbon-fiber interior trim, dual-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, smartphone app integration, a Harman Kardon 16-speaker surround-sound system with HD Radio and satellite radio, and the iDrive infotainment system with an 8.8-in widescreen display, navigation, voice controls, hard-drive music storage and a USB interface.

The M4 convertible ($74,895) adds a power-retractable hardtop, a rear-window defroster and extended leather upholstery with sun-reflective technology that helps keep the surfaces cool on hot days.

Both the coupe and convertible are eligible for a few options packages. The Lighting package adds adaptive LED headlights and automatic high beams. The Executive package includes retractable headlight washers, a head-up display, a heated steering wheel, a neck-warming vent system (convertible only), a rearview camera and parking sensors. The Driver Assistance Plus package consists of side-view and top-view cameras, active blind spot monitoring, lane-departure warning and forward-collision mitigation with automatic braking.

The new-for-2016 Competition package hikes engine power up to 444 hp. An adaptive M-tuned suspension consists of new springs, dampers and anti-roll bars and includes reconfigured driving modes of Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus. The Dynamic Stability Control system and Active M limited-slip rear differential have also been recalibrated for track work.

Stand-alone options include (expensive) carbon-ceramic brake rotors, adaptive suspension dampers with adjustable settings, 19-in wheels and a self-parking system. Coupes are also eligible for a carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic roof (for a lower center of gravity and less weight than the regular steel roof), a sunroof and a power rear sunshade.

The convertible's trunk checks in at a generous 13 cu ft. with the top up, dropping to 7.9 cu ft. when the top is folded and stowed. The coupe offers 11 cu ft.


All M4 models come standard with anti-lock disc brakes and traction/stability control. The coupe has eight airbags (front, front-side, front-knee and full-length side-curtain). The convertible's eight airbags cover slightly different ground (front, front-side, front-knee and extended front-thorax). The BMW Assist emergency telematics system -- which includes automatic accident notification, stolen vehicle tracking and roadside assistance -- is also standard.

The Driver Assistance Plus package (see above) adds a number of advanced safety features.

Behind the Wheel

According to BMW, the coupe with the M-DCT transmission (which includes a Launch Control feature) sprints from a standstill to 60 miles per hour in just 3.9 seconds (4.1 seconds with the 6-manual transmission). The convertible takes 4.2 seconds (4.4 seconds with the manual). Both transmissions also feature automatic rev-matching for slick, race-style downshifts.

The materials and design are sufficiently upscale to help justify the car's considerable price. You can see and feel the attention to detail, which sets the M4 apart from cars such as the high-end Chevrolet Camaro that are primarily designed for speed. The standard front sport seats are fabulously supportive, and their wide range of adjustment ensures that just about anyone can get comfortable behind the wheel. The modest rear seats, however, are mostly for kids or cargo.

An upgraded version of iDrive comes standard on every M4. It's one of the best infotainment systems. Highlights include a beautiful 8.8-in widescreen display, navigation, a new touchpad interface and hard-drive music storage.

The twin-turbo inline-6 delivers massive power at virtually any engine speed. It isn't always necessary to downshift for supreme acceleration. Just flatten the gas pedal and ride that surge of torque. On the downside, the turbos naturally muffle the engine's exhaust note, so BMW provides simulated noises that play through the speakers. The intensity doesn't always match with the drive, and the actual noises themselves don't sound quite like those of an inline-6. But no one will find the M4's engine low on performance.

In tight corners, the car seems somewhat larger than previous generations, and its steering doesn't have the same intimate feel. If you get a rhythm going, though, few cars are agile enough to keep up.

Other Cars to Consider

2016 Chevrolet Camaro SS -- The new generation of Camaro has handling that comes close to the best of Europe. And the SS version has a 455-hp V8 that sounds truly wonderful.

2016 Ford Shelby Mustang GT350 -- This generation of Mustang is also the best the badge has ever had. The GT350 makes a massive 526 hp.

2016 Lexus RC F -- As always, this Lexus has nice build quality, plus a 467-hp V8 to play with. But the M4's chassis has a more pleasing and satisfying flow to it.

2017 Mercedes-Benz AMG C63 -- The 2017 model is coming soon with up to 503 hp. It's going to be epic.

Used BMW M3 -- Thanks to depreciation and BMW's robust certified pre-owned program, a V8-powered previous-generation M3 coupe or convertible could cost a fraction of the new M4's price.

Autotrader's Advice

Don't think twice. Not many cars are as riveting to drive as this BMW. You should think about sticking with the standard 18-in wheels, though. The optional 19-in wheel/tire combination has a detrimental effect on ride quality.

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2016 BMW M4: New Car Review - Autotrader