Driven: BMW M4 Convertible.
When the new BMW M3 and M4 came out we knew they were going to be good but after having the M4 Convertible for a week on test, I can confirm that it is a bucket load more than good. It’s absolutely incredible.
Firstly the colour needs to be mentioned. Yas Marina Blue is the official name but many people who saw me in the car said it was a bubblegum blue, baby blue blah blah. To be honest you can call it whatever you like because I think it looks absolutely brilliant. Performance cars look better the brighter they are and this blue hue works on the M4’s lines and you can tell by the number of heads it turns. Many performance cars and supercars have interiors that are slightly overwhelming but what BMW have done with the interior of the new M4 (and M3) works well in my eyes. Nothing too fancy to put you off but enough gadgetry surrounded by carbon fibre to remind you that you are behind the wheel of a M beast. Looks wise it is perfect. Everytime I locked the car and walked away I turned around to admire the beautiful yet angry presence this car has. It sits low looking like it wants to eat up the road and its rear-wheel arches are flared to house the large 20″ pieces of rubber to keep the 550Nm of torque at bay.
I am not the biggest fan of convertible cars and to be honest I know many people with convertibles who rarely use the drop top function. Since it was the M4 Convertible, I had to see what it was like to drive sans roof and it is quite the experience. 317kW belting out the 4 pipes at the back makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up. Taking the roof off means you are exposed to the icy temperatures that Johannesburg winter can throw at you but you don’t feel it in this car thanks to the plethora of heating systems. Seat warmers, heater, steering wheel warmer and of course the neck warmer. All of these turned on and you could drive through Antarctica with the roof off.
A lot of negativity surrounded this car when the news broke about the engine being turbocharged but I am quite sure that those who have driven it will agree with what I am about to say. Simply put, the twin-turbo straight-six is spot on. Yes the sound is not as immense as the V8 in the previous generation but the way this engine pumps out the horsepower is something else. There is a brief moment when you think ‘oh there is the turbo lag’ and then a split second later you are hurtling to the horizon at a monstrous speed. The way the rev’s climb is something to admire and the gear-change is something that I have never experienced. Every car I have ever driven to date has a little let go before shoving you in the backside again but not this car. Hammering through the gears with the paddles drives this point home even more because there is no give on the change it is in fact the opposite because when you change gear, it actually punches you forward immediately. It is a feeling I will never forget and I hope more manufacturers are able to achieve this as it makes it feel faster than anything I have ever driven (which is not the case).
One thing I noticed and I spoke to two other M4 owners about it is the fuel consumption. BMW claim that it has a combined consumption of 8.7 l/100km but I think this is rubbish. If you have a little bit of fun and I really do mean a little bit, the figure climbs to the 20 l/100km mark. One of the M4 owners I spoke to said he gets around 14 l/100km sitting in traffic and driving casually. Yes it is a performance car and it will be thirsty but I would have thought with the twin-turbo’s in place the consumption would quite easily be around the 10 l/100 km mark.
The roof on the convertible takes 20 seconds to open and close which is a little slower than some of the competitors but watching the immense piece of German engineering happening before your eyes speeds this up. Three separate pieces fold on top of each other before being stowed neatly into the boot. There is a luggage load limit divider in the boot which gives you an indication of how much kit you can put in the ‘boot’ but to be honest with the roof down, there is not much space. This is not a negative point for me however as this car is not made to carry things. It is a proper drivers car and the urge to carry on driving it never leaves you.
I must finish by saying that this is quite possibly the best car I have ever driven but if I had the sort of money required to buy one, I would choose the Coupe. The extra R200k that the convertible demands is not worth it because over the car’s lifetime you will only take the roof off on special occasions and to be honest a roof down in Johannesburg / South Africa is not the best bet anyway. This particular car had a price tag of R1,478,000 thanks to a selection of expensive options being ticked but the base price sits at R1,203,000.
- Driving modes
- Traction control
- Fuel consumption