Our third encounter was even more special than the first time we spent time together on track in Portugal and then on the back roads of Nurburgring, mostly because we got to know each other well and we both knew what ticks us and what makes us happy.
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Our one week long date was a milestone for us, one that would make or break us. So with that in mind, the porter hands off the keys to her heart and off I go.
As some of you might have guessed, my date is the new 2015 BMW M4 Coupe, the beautiful, curvacious and sexy model that hopes to win my heart.
When it launched last year, the new M4 has taken everyone by surprise. BMW has promised for years that we won’t miss the V8 naturally-aspirated engine, but we were skeptical, mildly put. Yet, the M wizards have outdone themselves and delivered impressive performance from an inline-six 3.0 liter TwinPower turbocharged engine. With 425 horsepower and 560 Nm (413 lb-ft) of torque, and a smaller displacement (4.0L V8 vs 3.0L straight-six), the new engine and its two turbochargers give it even more oomph than before, while reducing emissions and increasing fuel economy.
Use of lightweight materials slashes the kerb weight by 83kg to 1497k (3300 lbs) for the manual transmission. The M-DCT gearbox, the one we tested, adds 40 kg over the six-speed manual.
Now all those numbers sound great on paper and some would say they are perfect for the race track, but our one week long adventure takes place in Chicago, a city equally known for its gorgeous skyline and terrible traffic. So all those ponies on paper are less relevant on the busy and bumpy Chicago roads.
Luckily the winter was fairly mild this year and the craters in the road formed last year have not increased in size and depth. But that doesn’t spare us from the joy of autocrossing more often than we should, and this is one reason why the M4 makes for a good city car. I like to run in Sport mode a lot, it keeps me connected with the car and the road, and helps me with short sprints. So almost every time I get in the car, I change the Adaptive M suspensions settings, tighten the steering wheel and set the transmission’s sequential mode to hard gear changes. These aggressive settings might not work for everyone using the car as a daily driver, but for me it’s the perfect balance, allowing me to have some fun.
I also want my cars to sound good; the 1M in my garage has an Eisenmann Exhaust System, so the exhaust note is important to me. The M4 has been often criticized for its lame acoustics, but I believe those allegations are unstained. Yes, BMW uses a bit of Active Sound to make you feel better about your purchase. Yes, the previous naturally-aspirated V8 unit sounded better. But this new exhaust is good, and can be even better if you open those valves in the SPORT and SPORT PLUS modes.
In lower gears, the exhaust valves are always open; under constant driving, they are closed, but they open up in a split of a second as soon as you change the pace. Even with this exhaust system, the M4 is a head turner and is bound to wake up your neighbors when starting at cold.
The cabin is a step up from the previous generation, from better ergonomics to a beefier steering wheel and amazing bucket seats, the M4 is a joy to drive and ride in. The designers have done a great job combining premium materials with sporty accents – like carbon fiber – while retaining the iconic driver-oriented position. I honestly care more about the ride than all the whistles and bells, but one can find pretty much every tech feature packed inside: BMW Apps, iDrive Navigation System, a great Harman Kardon audio system and the extremely useful Head-Up Display, just to name a few.
Being just a few months on the market, the new M3 Sedan and M4 Coupe are still a rarity on the road, especially in Illinois, a state known for its love for BMW SUVs and xDrive-equipped cars. So I was not surprised to see all the attention the M4 got during the one week drive. It was a combination of exclusivity, polarizing looks and attention-grabbing color – Austin Yellow.
SHOULD I SWIPE RIGHT?
Taking a play from the Tinder playbook, at the end of the one week date, I had to swipe right, or in non-geeky terms, she gets to stay. At least in my heart since BMW sent their porter to quickly pick her up for her next date to wow. BMW has built an impressive sports car and I have no doubt now that it will be an M icon. The M4 Coupe is a car that will put a smile on your face every time you drive off, it will make you feel better even on bad days, it will get you more attention than you can handle and it might even score you a new date. Or two.
Did you think I wouldn’t take her to the track? Well, I did. We spent some quality time at the Autobahn Club in Joliet where I had a chance to do a few laps, enough to remind me that she can be whoever I want to. All I have to do is ask.