BMW enthusiasts are second to only Porsche enthusiasts in their fussiness. If BMW changes any of its norms, they break out the pitchforks and torches and revolt. However, when BMW M announced the M3 and M4 would get xDrive all-wheel drive as an option, there was a surprising amount of acceptance from the enthusiast community. The success of the all-wheel drive M5 likely had a lot to do with that acceptance. Still, the idea of an all-wheel drive M4 is foreign for most enthusiasts.
Which is why I was so excited to drive it. I love testing new products and new ideas from a brand and I was incredibly curious to see if all-wheel drive made the M4 better or worse. I was also optimistic. After my last drive of the BMW M3 Competition, I felt that all-wheel drive would actually make it better. And I was right.
After driving the BMW M4 xDrive, I’m actually wondering what took BMW so long to add all-wheel drive to the M3/M4’s arsenal. Not only do you not notice the difference in balance or feel, as it feels every bit as rear-driven as the standard car, but it’s so much faster and more controllable. So you get all of the added stability of all-wheel drive with none of the typical drawbacks, such as understeer. And if you want, you can switch the front axle off with the push of a button, turning it into a normal rear-wheel drive M4. Be warned, and potentially bring extra pants, as switching it to rear-wheel drive fully defeats the traction and stability controls. So if you slide, you’re on your own with 503 horsepower to just the rear wheels.
Though, unless you want to rip off massive burnouts, I don’t see a reason to switch the all-wheel drive off. The BMW M4 is better with all-wheel drive, which is something I never though I’d say. If it were my money, and I was in the market for an M4, I’d have the xDrive model and I wouldn’t think twice.