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2017 BMW M4: New Car Review

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author photo by Autotrader May 2017

The 2017 BMW M4 is one of the most compelling sport-luxury cars on the planet. No exaggeration. This is really the successor to previous generations of the M3, which started off in the 1980s as a coupe, while the company's name-changing shenanigans of a couple years ago mean the current M3 is a sedan, while the M4 is a 2-door with either a fixed metal roof or a power-retractable hardtop.

Not that the badges really matter. There's never been a 2-door M3 as fast or as capable as this 425-horsepower delight. The M4 has sublime handling, a stellar engine and a civilized disposition.

What's New for 2017?

The once-optional adaptive M suspension is now standard. The iDrive infotainment system has been updated to version 5.0. The Executive options bundle now features wireless smartphone charging and Wi-Fi. And a leather-covered dashboard has become available.

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; rearview camera not standard

How Much?


Fuel Economy

The rear-wheel-drive M4 is propelled by a twin-turbocharged inline 6-cylinder engine that develops 425 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque. A 6-speed manual transmission is 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 (EPA) estimates fuel consumption at 17 miles per gallon in the city, 26 mpg on the highway and 20 mpg in combined driving 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 2017 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 ($67,195) include an aerodynamic body kit with flared fenders and a powerdome hood, an adaptive M-tuned suspension (specific springs, dampers and anti-roll bars, plus reconfigured driving modes of Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus), M-spec performance brakes, a torque-vectoring rear differential, 18-inch staggered-width alloy wheels with performance tires, rain-sensing wipers, self-leveling adaptive xenon headlights, keyless entry/ignition, self-dimming mirrors, a sport exhaust with quad tailpipes, heated/10-way power-adjustable front sport seats with adjustable side bolsters (and a backlit M logo on the seatback) and driver's-side 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, 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 ($75,695) 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), wireless smartphone charging, Wi-Fi, 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 Competition Package hikes engine power up to 444 hp and brings 20-in alloy wheels. The dynamic stability control system and Active M limited-slip rear differential are also recalibrated for track work.

Other options include (expensive) carbon ceramic brake rotors, 19-in wheels, a leather-covered dashboard and a self-parking system. Coupes are also eligible for a carbon-fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) roof (for a lower center of gravity and less weight than the regular steel roof), a sunroof and a powered 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 mph in just 3.9 seconds (4.1 seconds with the 6-speed 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 such cars as the high-end Chevrolet Camaros, which are primarily designed for speed. The standard front sports 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, and it's one of the best infotainment systems. Highlights include a beautiful 8.8-in widescreen display, navigation, a 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 muffle the exhaust note, so BMW provides simulated noises that play through the speakers. The intensity doesn't always match 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. Get a rhythm going, though, and few cars are agile enough to keep up.

Other Cars to Consider

2017 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.

2017 Ford Shelby Mustang GT350 -- This generation of Mustang is also the best the badge has ever had. The GT350 makes a massive 526 hp.

2017 Lexus RC F -- Nice build quality as always, plus a 467-hp V8 to play with. But the M4's chassis has a more pleasing and satisfying flow to it.

2017 Mercedes-AMG C 63 -- The "regular" version outpowers the M4 with 469 hp. Then the C 63 S takes things even further with 503 hp.

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

Autotrader's Advice

The only thing to possibly be wary of is that the 19- and 20-in wheel/tire combinations affect ride quality -- and not in a good way. Other than that, you'll be buying one of the greatest driver's cars there is.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2017 BMW M4: New Car Review - Autotrader