Launching a new BMW M3, and now the second M4, is a big event for BMW. If not for the entire car world. The two and four door sportscar have often been regarded as the benchmark in the segment, and every premium automaker has their sights on them. So after spending months endlessly talking about its design – more on that soon – I was excited to get behind the wheel. While track time was off limits for now, I had to resume to some driving through the flat areas surrounding Palm Beach.
But I still wanted to learn more about its track capabilities, so I joined BMW Pro Driver and Racing Champion Bill Auberlen for a quick chat inside the new M4. You can catch that video here where Bill talks about its track performance and capabilities. Our tester for the day was a 2021 BMW M4, the non-Competition model with rear-wheel drive, and to my surprise and happiness, a six-speed manual.
While I’m not a huge manual-kinda guy anymore – simply cause of the stop-and-go traffic in Chicago – I still love the purity of a clutch pedal and a manual gear knob. On top of this, a rear-wheel drive, manual sportscar is a unicorn these days and I’m certainly happy that BMW still caters to its community. It also makes up for the controversial kidney grille.
The Elephant In The Room
So before I jump head first into this review, let’s address the elephant in the room. This was my first time seeing the new M3 and/or M4 in real life and while it has a better “presence” from upclose, it’s still quite quirky. One thing is certain though: it works best on the M3/M4 than on the 4 Series. Furthermore, I still think darker colors are the way to go on this new generation since they blend in with the blacked outer rim of the grille. There was no front plate on those press cars, but that’s another story for some other time.
In a nutshell, I’m not a huge fan of the grille, but nor I strongly dislike it. For many years, I criticized BMW (shockingly my team and I still do that from time to time) for its safe design language, or better put: the same sausage, different length approach. While I loved the Fx generation of cars, there wasn’t enough distinction between them to stand out on their own. So I get it: BMW took a play from the Bangle’s playbook and went with a revolutionary design.