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BMWBLOG Test Drive: 2015 BMW M4 Convertible

Test Drives | August 31st, 2014 by 17
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Can BMW make the M4 Convertible to be as fun as its brother, the M4 Coupe? To find out, BMWBLOG headed over to Munich to …

Can BMW make the M4 Convertible to be as fun as its brother, the M4 Coupe? To find out, BMWBLOG headed over to Munich to sample, over a series of twistier and some high-speed cruising, the new 2015 M4 Convertible.

The M division sees the M4 Convertible as a car requested by a small, yet passionate and wealthy M3/M4 owners. Built atop the 4 Series Convertible and the M4 Coupe, the business case for a cabriolet version is simple: high profit for relatively small changes.

How Is The Convertible Different From The BMW M4 Coupe?

BMWBLOG Test Drive: 2015 BMW M4 Convertible

Immediately the M4 Convertible stands out with the typical M design cues: an aggressive front apron, the 3D shaped kidney grille with the M logo, the flared wheel arches and the iconic four tailpipes. Add to these the beautiful Moonstone Metallic paint from the BMW Individual catalog and some black wheels, and you have a looker on your hands.

Compared to the coupe, the M4 Convertible not only gets a retractable hardtop but also gets an additional 250 kilograms of weight for a total of 1750 kilos (3858 lbs). More on the weight and its impact on the driving experience in the following paragraphs.

Back on the hard roof topic. The three-piece folding metal roof can be operated at speeds up to 18km/h, an impressive engineering feature with a roof this large. It also takes 20 seconds to fully retract the roof, another impressive figure.

BMWBLOG Test Drive: 2015 BMW M4 Convertible

Not being a fan of convertibles, I paid a closer look at the experience with the top down. I quickly installed the wind blocker in the back and even at high speeds, the wind blocker allowed for some comfortable chatting without yelling.

When the roof is finally down, you probably should put up the wind blocker (if there’s nobody in the back seat) and BMW now offers a first for an M car – an optional neck warmer. Furthermore, the wind blocker folds into a small space and BMW has thoughtfully given it its own storage area behind the folding rear seats.

One good thing about riding with the top down is the pure sound of the engine. Yes, it is not the V8 we all got to love in the previous generation M3, but the growling sound from the 3.0 liter turbo is satisfying for most BMW fans. Once the top is up, the Active Sound is a bit more obvious, even though BMW says that only about 20% has been improved.

BMWBLOG Test Drive: 2015 BMW M4 Convertible

Taking another lesson learned from the 4 Series Convertible by using a button on the inside of the boot lid which lets you lift the metal roof pieces up and down allowing for easier loading of things.

With the metal roof up, the BMW M4 Convertible offers 370 liter of storage space and 220 liters when the top is down.

BMW now offers a first for an M car: an optional neck warmer.

BMWBLOG Test Drive: 2015 BMW M4 Convertible

Can The BMW M4 Convertible Hide Its Additional Weight?

While the BMW 4 Series Convertible has a hard time hiding the additional weight over the coupe, the M4 Convertible does a better job at it. Despite the 250 kg increase in weight, the M4 Convertible delivers the same handling on regular roads. We have not had a chance to sample the sporty convertible on the track, but most likely an experienced driver would notice the extra bloat.

BMWBLOG Test Drive: 2015 BMW M4 Convertible

The M4 Convertible inherits the S55 six-cylinder 3.0 liter turbo engine from the M3 Sedan and M4 Coupe. Along with it comes a dual-clutch 7 speed transmission (optional) or the six-manual. While a fan of manual transmissions, I came lately to not only admire but also appreciate the precision of the 7-speed DCT. For a car that aims to be a sporty cruiser, the 7-speed DCT seems like the natural choice.

The wheel-mounted paddles can be adjusted for three different types of gear changes. In the calmest setting, the shifting is less violent while in the most aggressive setting, the car thumps at each new ration, reminding you this is, in the end, a sports car.

BMW also fitted the adaptive suspension in the M4 convertible which comes with three settings: Comfort, Sport and Sport+. The driving character in all three modes is similar to what we have experienced before. In the Comfort mode, the M4 Convertible feels less tight and has more body roll than we would like.

The Sport+ is where the chassis really shines, yet it might feel a bit too aggressive and rough for the typical convertible driver.

BMWBLOG Test Drive: 2015 BMW M4 Convertible

Sport setting is what we envision many to select while driving. It’s the best compromise for this type of vehicle, sporty, yet comfortable to drive over long distances. The steering wheel also delivers great feedback and connection with the road.

If you’re into high customization of your ride, the M4 Convertible offers settings for the steering, damping and gearshift, all set individually of each other.

We took the BMW M4 Convertible over some twisties from Munich to Garmisch and experienced the drive with both the top up and down. When the roof sits above our heads, the chassis gets a bit stiffer, as expected, and the M4 Convertible inherits the character of the coupe. With the roof down, it loses a bit of its stiffness and flexes over big bumps, again another trait in any cabriolet out there.

BMWBLOG Test Drive: 2015 BMW M4 Convertible

On the Autobahn, the car is a monster. We took it all the way up to 270 km/h and the M4 planted itself on the road and gave us the confidence needed to ride at such high speeds. The carbon ceramic brakes do a phenomenal job stopping the car in time while the amazing Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires offer a road grip that we have not experienced lately in any other tires. The 18-inch allows and the Super Sports also delivered in tight cornering.

The S55 engine has the same character we’ve experienced in the sedan and coupe: plant your foot down and the engine will shine from 1800 rpm and up. Downshifting and upshifting is fun and gratifying and we’ve had quite some fun moving the needle across the entire rpm range.

 Should I Buy One?

BMWBLOG Test Drive: 2015 BMW M4 Convertible

In all fairness, comparing the M4 Convertible to its coupe brother is not something we would like to do nor any other owner out there should consider that comparison. The car is certainly less sharp than the M3 Sedan and M4 Coupe, but still a great handling cabrio.

Before you even begin the purchasing process, you need to make sure you’re clear on what type of vehicle would like. Once you choose the cabriolet variant, then your choices should narrow down to what the competitors are offering. And in this segment, the choices are quite extensive: Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Audi RS5 Cabriolet and even the Jaguar F-type or Porsche Boxster GTS.

If you love BMWs and adore the M brand, and live in a sunny state, the M4 Convertible is, in our opinion, a more fun to drive than the M6 Convertible, for example. Cheaper too and quite a looker.

BMWBLOG Test Drive: 2015 BMW M4 Convertible
BMWBLOG Test Drive: 2015 BMW M4 Convertible

2015 BMW M4 Convertible
Reviewed by Horatiu Boeriu on
.
If you love BMWs and adore the M brand, and live in a sunny state, the M4 Convertible is, in our opinion, a more fun to drive than the M6 Convertible, for example. Cheaper too and quite a looker.
Rating: 4.5
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  • Broderick

    What color is the exterior? And I think that this is the best looking BMW built yet.

    • http://www.bmwblog.com Horatiu B.

      Moonstone

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  • Derek Wong

    That colour combo looks great! I really love that shade of leather. I was at the Nürburgring this week to drive the M4 Coupe, and they had 20+ of them there in yellow, with only a few instructor cars in white. It would have been nice if they had a range of colours so we could compare them in person under the same lighting conditions. Anyone interested in a longwinded write up of the BMW M Insider event can read about my day here: http://workhardgofast.wordpress.com/2014/08/31/bmw-m-insider-experience-aka-my-first-time-driving-the-nurburgring/

  • ActuallyDrivesaVert

    “When the roof is finally down, you probably should put up the wind blocker” You might consider that convertible buyers don’t have “eliminate wind” on the top of their must-have list. Seriously? Did you read that in your convertible review before you published it?

    Next you could review a M4 coupe from a convertible lover’s point of view: “the coupe is ok, but it lacks the open air characteristics of its convertible sibling” Also compare it to the X5m: “while the coupe is sharper at turn-in it lacks the luggage capacity of its stable mate”.

    What are you thinking with this review? Journalistic tip: to be useful compare it to the e93; you know, something that’s actually comparable.

    • http://www.bmwblog.com Horatiu B.

      I did say that I won’t compare it against the coupe. And yes. You’re right. An E93 comparison is in order.

      And I also said that it’s the perfect cruiser.

      • ActuallyDrivesaVert

        It’s the world’s only 4 seat hardtop sport convertible, maybe you could mention that and talk about the pros /cons compared to soft top rs5… people who buy verts already know that the chassis will flex, but how much? Is it jittry over bumps like the rs5 or more composed like the e93? You were lucky enough to drive this car top down through twisties and your only comment is the chassis flexes? Uh we know that. How about the performance feel vs a 4-series-convertible? If you cant do any of that because youre not a convertible guy then just say so

        • http://www.bmwblog.com Horatiu B.

          It wouldn’t even make sense to comment on performance versus a regular 4 Series Conv. Clearly is well above. It’ s an M car.

          Now as far as the RS5….different story, but I haven’t driven the latest one yet, it’s on our radar tho.

  • JoeMosely

    Just curious.why are you not a fan of convertibles. In daily driving most sedans generate a similar experience especially in urban areas with traffic. Your in a box with four wheels following other cars until you reach your destination. A convertible alters that daily experience. I understand the bias if you’re choosing a track machine and maybe that is the reason.

    • http://www.bmwblog.com Horatiu B.

      I guess prolly cause Chicago has 6 mo of winter. Yes, on the road it delivers the same experience.

      I just wanted to point out that I’m not a fan of convertibles yet I liked it. I liked hearing the engine sound especially.

      • Joe Mosely

        Yeah Chicago does have rough winters with that Lakes’ effect snow and arctic cold. I live here in the Boston area and its a bit better. But I know what you go through. My porsche stays in the garage in the winter. I use a quattro A4 or an SUV in the winter. I recently test drove the M4 and thought about replacing the A4 with it for daily driving and winter duties. But the rear wheel drive is not ideal for use on our snowy roads. Especially hills. Even with blizzaks. But even with all that fantastic power of the M4 it still felt too similar to the A4 on the road and fettered by suburban traffic. I find driving a convertible changes the driving experience even when doing the daily suburban commute. It approaches the experience of a motorcycle. The one where you are part of the environment rather than being in a cage traveling through the environment. You feel the air, the warmth or cold, the sunshine, even the scents. Hey, Sunday morning I can smell the bacon and eggs.

        • Horatiu

          Yes, last winter my 1M suffered quite a bit also.

          Again, the M4 Conv is a great car and for its demographic, is perfect. We always try to wear many hats when reviewing a car and point out everything we might think is less perfect.

        • ActuallyDrivesaVert

          Exactly – you smell oil, exhaust, pine trees… You hear everything: the engine, intake, exhaust, brakes, every other car, rocks wizz by you ears, your tires squeek over lane markers, air suction when you thread the needle between 2 semis, you feel the wind, sand…

          You want an extreme motorsport? Drive a vert top down at 80 mph in heavy traffic.

          • http://www.bmwblog.com Horatiu B.

            We did.

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