For those in the know, just hearing that one letter and number together tells them all they need to start scrolling through images and reviews with anticipation. The BMW M4 has always been the model that stirs the imagination the most among car lovers. Even when there have been literal bumps in the road, there has always been love for the M4. This year, however, fans and novices alike will be thrilled with the updates and upgrades. They bring the M4 speeding into pole position among luxury sports cars. While still retaining some of the classic details that make this car such a fan favorite.
Are there any exterior updates for the 2018 model?
What BMW have basically done is take every detail of the previous M series and tune it ever so slightly to make it feel ever so slightly more luxurious, more streamlined, and more powerful. That goes for the exterior as much as anywhere else: the wider body has an aluminum hood and front fenders plus a carbon fiber trunk lid and a carbon fiber roof. These slight mods make it lighter and better handling on a track, serving both a practical purpose as well as an aesthetic one. The front and rear tail lights have also been updated with futuristic LED styling and optional flowing graphics.
Is the engine different?
Thankfully, the engine has remained pretty much intact, but some slight performance tweaks make it very nearly the ideal sports car: a beast that can generate some blistering speed on the track but still functions as a daily drive vehicle. The new M4 still offers the turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six that, in standard models kicks up 425 hp and of 406 lb-ft. An optional competition package bumps that up to 444 hp and came with a sports exhaust, a custom steering package and tuned adaptive suspension for the bargain basement price of $4,250. The engines are paired with either a six-speed manual or an optional seven-speed dual clutch automatic that does a lot of the heavy lifting for you. Either way, you wind up, the M4 tackles 0-60 mph in just under 4 seconds.
Is the performance and drive quality still epic?
Yes, it is! The amazing acceleration, firm handling, and outstanding ride quality are pretty much unparalleled in its class. This is a well thought out machine that shows how much technology has advanced while still giving you the tactile feel that a sports car demands. The standard brakes are superb, but if you want to take it to the next level, carbon ceramic units stop on a dime with precision. A larger wheel well and rear tires give the M4 control and maneuverability, and with Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus modes you get to max out the suspension without even feeling like you're trying. There is a convertible model available that adds 500 lbs to the M4 via its folding metal roof, and this does make the car feel all around a bit more sluggish. However, it grabs 0-60 in just under six seconds so it won't spoil the experience all that much, especially not with the wind in your hair.
What about the interior cabin?
There's luxury, and then there's BMW luxury. From the moment you slide into the driver's seat and wrap your hands around the Alcantara wrapped steering wheel there's no doubt that you're in a performance car with some serious street cred, no matter if you're driving in the city or making your way to a country estate. The interior builds on the M3 model with standard leather interiors and a range of high-grade materials throughout, and there are upgrade packages in wood and carbon fiber along with a range of color schemes. As far as space goes, it is, after all, a two-door sports car so don't expect a minivan inside, but there is decent hip room for rear passengers albeit without much head or leg room. The front seats have power adjustable bolsters and are comfortable yet firm, and there are a very decent 15 cubic feet of cargo space in the rear. Convertibles lose about half of that with the top down but to be fair, what else do you need but some cool sunglasses anyway?
How about safety and tech features?
It's only fitting that the M4 be chocked to the gills with as much infotainment and safety features as your wallet allows, and the car maker does not disappoint. The M4 comes standard with a host of safety features like a full set of airbags and stability controls, and the reasonably priced Active Driving Assistant package gives you camera-based lane departure warnings and low-speed auto emergency braking. The infotainment system borrows a lot from its super future cousins in the 5 series with an upgraded iDrive software package that's got much more user-friendly capabilities. An Executive Package integrates safety and comfort with a surround view camera system, adaptive headlights, automatic high beams, and Apple Car Play compatibility with an upgraded speaker system. Plus, there is a full range of paint colors and interior themes to help you personalize your M4 and make sure that you get it just the way you want it.