What's the used BMW M4 coupe like?
Don’t be confused by BMW nomenclature. So, basically, the M3 was a two-door coupe and four-door saloon, a high-performance version of the firm’s hugely successful 3 Series compact executive car. It went through many generations and many differing styles and it even reached V8-engined status in the model before this one. However, for the latest models, introduced in 2014, BMW decided to call the two-door 3 Series the 4 Series, so if you wanted a four-door sports car version you bought what was still called the M3, but if you wanted a two-door coupe you bought an M4.
Simple, right? Underneath its swoopier bodyshell the M4 shares engine and chassis components and set-ups with the M3, so they are truly sisters under the skin. Motive force is provided by a purposeful and fire-breathing twin-turbocharged 425bhp inline six-cylinder engine, and from new there was the choice of six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearboxes, the latter of which offers lightning-quick changes and is the quicker car on paper, too: the 0 to 62mph sprint can be dispatched in a mere 4.1 seconds. There is, of course, an array of technical trickery, including adaptive dampers, heavily revised aluminium suspension, and an electronically controlled limited-slip differential.
There is only the one trim level, and it’s handsomely equipped. Standard equipment includes dual-zone climate control, electric heated memory seats, a DAB radio, sat-nav, Bluetooth and USB connectivity. In fact, most of what you need, and a lot of what you want, is included as standard in the M4. Opt for a car that came fitted with the Competition Pack and you'll get 20in alloys, track specific springs, dampers and anti-roll bars, a black chrome quad exhaust system and an improved audio system.
On the road, it’s an absolute peach, like the M3. Despite that glorious engine up front, the M4 has a perfect 50/50 weight distribution and drives the rear wheels. Power is plentiful: response is almost instantaneous, despite the turbocharged nature of the unit, and it’s a ridiculously fast car that has no problem storming up to its limited top speed of 155mph.
It sounds great, too, at least from the outside - it can sound rather rough-sounding from the inside. You’ll have no qualms when it comes to cornering, too, with immense levels of grip, terrifically enjoyable handling and super-responsive and well-weighted steering. The M4 is an agile and adjustable delight to drive, with a suspension that can be made firmer when you’re driving harder, and very little body lean in corners. The flip-side is the BMW’s ride is firm, but it’s also tolerable for a car of its ability. There’s lots of road noise at motorway speeds, however, so long drives can become a little tiring.
Inside the low-set driving position is spot-on, and there’s plenty of adjustment. The figure-hugging seats hold you in place, and all-round visibility is good. All of this, together with good materials, fine detailing and precise, slick controls, gives the car a suitably premium feel. The M4 is not as flashy as some of its alternatives but many drivers will prefer its more restrained look and feel. It also comes with BMW’s excellent iDrive infotainment system. It’s linked to an 8.8in colour screen and is controlled via a handy rotary dial down by the gearstick. It’s simple to use and easy to look at because the screen is mounted high up on the dash. The standard-fit BMW Professional Media Pack also gives you access to a greater number of online services and an upgraded sat-nav.
Space inside is good up front, and the rear seats in the M4 are far from being a token gesture towards practicality. Even six-feet-tall passengers will be able to clamber in easily enough, thanks to the wide doors and front seats that slide far forward and out of the way.
Once inside, there's a surprising amount of leg room, but the sloping roof means your passengers will have to slouch to stop their heads from brushing the ceiling. There’s only room for two in the back – with the space between them given over to an armrest.