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2020 BMW M4 Review

Yes, buy a 2020 BMW M4. Go on, do it. Anyone reading an M4 review is probably wondering whether or not this would be a good move. It’s a great move. What could be more fun yet still bearable day-to-day than a high-performance version of a premium compact coupe or convertible such as a 4 Series? But before you rush to the nearest BMW dealership, there are some details that need addressing.

There’s going to be a new M4 generation arriving for the 2021 model year, based on the fresh 3 Series that debuted in 2019. The current lineup includes a regular M4 model, a Competition variant and a track-focused CS coupe. The 2021 M4 range could also include a CSL version, which would be even more performance-specific. Oh, and all-wheel drive is expected to become available as well.

So, how bad is that need for an M4? If it can’t wait, or if you’d rather have a generation where all the bugs have been ironed out, then now is the time to make exciting plans. This M4 is one of the most compelling sport-luxury cars on the planet. No exaggeration. It has sublime handling, a stellar engine and a civilized disposition.

There’s also the fundamental question of coupe or convertible. Some enthusiasts have strong opinions on the merits of fixed roofs. That’s why the coupe-only CS exists. Or, perhaps the 444 horsepower of the Competition package would be the ideal amount of thrust.

What’s New for 2020?

The limited-run M4 CS Coupe remains on sale. Another limited model also becomes available — the 2020 M4 Edition M Heritage Coupe. Only 750 units will be sold globally, but pricing hadn’t been announced when this review was compiled. See the 2020 BMW M4 models for sale near you

What We Like

  • Thunderous acceleration
  • Incredible handling
  • Well-appointed interior with great technology
  • Retractable hard top in the convertible

What We Don’t

  • Fake engine noise piped through the speakers
  • Still no Android Auto

How Much?

$70,145 to $104,095 (before the Edition M Heritage’s price has been announced)

Fuel Economy

The M4 is propelled by a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6 engine that develops 425 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque. This goes to the rear wheels through a standard 6-speed manual transmission. A 7-speed dual-clutch automated manual (known as M-DCT, which works like an automatic) is optional.

The Competition package boosts output to 444 hp, but torque remains the same.

The coupe-only M4 CS has its engine tuned to produce 454 hp and 442 lb-ft of torque. This links up to the automatic transmission as standard.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, fuel consumption for coupe versions with the manual transmission is estimated at 18 miles per gallon in the city, 25 mpg on the highway and 20 mpg in combined driving. With the automatic transmission, it’s 17 mpg city/23 mpg hwy/19 mpg combined.

Convertible M4 variants achieve 17 mpg city/25 mpg hwy/20 mpg combined for the manual and 16 mpg city/22 mpg hwy/19 mpg combined for the automatic.

An automatic stop/start feature helps to save fuel by shutting off when the car is stationary. It can be turned off if drivers find the restart action too obtrusive.

Standard Features and Options

The 2020 BMW M4 comes as either a fixed-roof coupe or a convertible with a retractable hard top.

Standard features in the M4 coupe ($70,145) include an aerodynamic body kit with flared fenders and powerdome hood, carbon-fiber reinforced plastic roof, adaptive M-tuned suspension (specific springs, dampers and anti-roll bars, plus specially calibrated driving modes of Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus), M-spec performance brakes, Active M torque-vectoring rear differential, 18-in staggered-width alloy wheels with performance tires, rain-sensing wipers, LED exterior lighting, keyless entry and ignition, heated power-folding self-dimming side mirrors, self-dimming rearview mirror, sport exhaust with quad tailpipes, heated 14-way power-adjustable front sport seats with adjustable side bolsters (plus a backlit M logo on the backrest), driver’s-side memory settings, leather upholstery, carbon fiber interior trim, dual-zone automatic climate control, front and rear parking sensors, forward-collision mitigation with pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, Apple CarPlay smartphone integration, Harman Kardon 600-watt 16-speaker surround sound system with HD and satellite radio, CD/MP3 player, and the iDrive infotainment system with an 8.8-in widescreen display, navigation, speed limit information, voice controls, hard-drive music storage and a USB port.

The M4 convertible ($78,645) adds a power-retractable hard top, wind deflector, rear window defroster and extended leather upholstery with sun-reflective technology.

Both the coupe and convertible are eligible for a few options packages. The Executive package includes adaptive LED headlights with automatic high beams, head-up display, side-view and top-view camera system and a self-parking system.

The Competition Package hikes engine power up to 444 hp and brings 20-in alloy wheels. The dynamic stability control system, adaptive suspension and Active M limited-slip rear differential are all re-calibrated to be even more effective on a race track. An M Driver’s package includes a day’s tuition in high-performance driving, and top speed is raised to 174 mph.

Other options include carbon ceramic brake rotors, 19-in and 20-in wheels, leather-covered dashboard, heated steering wheel, neck-warming vent system (convertible only), wireless charging, Wi-Fi and active blind spot detection. Coupes are also eligible for a sunroof and a powered rear sunshade.

The CS Coupe ($104,095) has 19-in alloy wheels up front and 20-in wheels in the back, plus its own engine and suspension tuning.

The M4 Edition M Heritage Coupe ($TBA) comes in one of three colors: two kinds of blue or a red shade. These choices imitate the blue and red design of BMW’s M logo. It’s based on the Competition variant, so engine output is 444 hp. The extra hardware is added and 20-in alloy wheels are fitted. This limited version also has its own exterior and interior design details.

The convertible’s trunk measures 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 cubic feet.


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). BMW Assist emergency telematics system — which includes automatic accident notification, stolen vehicle tracking and roadside assistance — is also standard.

The M4 hasn’t been crash tested in the United States, but the 3 Series on which this car is based has the full five stars overall from government tests and is a Top Safety Pick of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Behind the Wheel

According to BMW, the coupe with the M-DCT transmission (which includes a launch control feature) sprints from standstill to 60 miles per hour 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). The CS does it in 3.8 seconds. Both transmissions also feature automatic rev-matching for slick, race-style downshifts.

The materials and design are sufficiently upscale to help justify the considerable price. You can see and feel the attention to detail, which sets the M4 apart from other high-end cars, such as the Chevrolet Camaro, that are developed primarily 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. However, the modest rear seats are mostly for kids or cargo.

Every M4 has iDrive, one of the best infotainment systems around, as standard. Highlights include a beautiful 8.8-in widescreen display, navigation, 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 with the drive, and the actual noises themselves don’t sound quite like those of an inline-6. But no one will find the engine low on performance.

This M4 is larger than previous generations of M3, and that becomes more apparent in tight corners. The steering doesn’t have quite the same intimate feel. Get a rhythm going, though, and few cars are agile enough to keep up.

Other Cars to Consider

2020 Chevrolet Camaro SS — This generation of Camaro has handling that comes close to the best of Europe. The SS version sports a 455-hp V8 that sounds truly wonderful.

2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 — This generation of Mustang is also the best the badge has ever had. The GT350 makes a massive 526 hp.

2020 Lexus RC F — The Lexus RC F has 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.

2020 Mercedes AMG C 63 — The regular version out-powers the M4 with 469 hp. Then the C 63 S takes things even further with 503 hp. It’s available in sedan, coupe and cabriolet (convertible) versions.

Used BMW M3 — Thanks to depreciation, a V8-powered previous-generation M3 coupe or convertible could cost a fraction of the new M4’s price. Source one through BMW’s certified pre-owned program for extra reassurance.

Autotrader’s Advice

Does it really matter if this generation is heading out the door? Every BMW M car has been desirable, and the resale values reflect that. If the intention is to do a lot of track days, think about the fade-resistant carbon-ceramic brakes. If it’s going to be a daily driver, look at the Executive package and choose the blind spot monitoring package. Find a BMW M4 for sale

Our editors are here to make car buying easier. We’ve driven, reviewed and compared thousands of cars. We’ve bought and sold more than our fair share, too. And as part of the sprawling Cox Automotive group of companies, we have exclusive access to a range of valuable data and insights. Whether you’re looking for the best car, the best deal or the best buying advice, you can trust... Read More about Autotrader

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