BMWBLOG Test Drive: 2015 BMW M4 Convertible

Test Drives | August 31st, 2014 by 22
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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

2015 BMW M4 Convertible
Reviewed by Horatiu Boeriu on
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Just as exciting as the M4 Coupe
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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