ROAD TEST: 2022 BMW M4 Convertible review
Friday 10th June, 2022 - 6:30am
What is it?
The follow-up to the new-generation M4 sports coupe, the M4 Convertible. This is designed for those who love the feeling of the wind in their hair but still want the performance the M4 offers.
For some the idea of a ‘performance convertible’ is a strange idea, as convertibles are often heavier and typically lack the torsional rigidity of a fixed roof car. While that’s true to a point, the modern convertible is vastly superior than before, so the overall performance loss is much reduced.
BMW’s engineers managed to keep the weight difference between coupe and convertible to 145kg, a 105kg saving over the out-going model. And to further help matters, this latest Beemer drop-top is only available in the more potent ‘Competition’ specification, complete with all-wheel drive.
In terms of its looks, with the fabric roof down it does give the M4 a different shape and stance on the road, but the much-discussed new grille remains the same, so the styling remains as polarising as ever.
Does it have any racing pedigree?
BMW obviously doesn’t race a convertible (not unless you consider its former Le Mans Prototypes convertibles!) but as with the rest of the M4 range, much of this car was developed side-by-side with the new M4 GT3 racer.
The road-going and race-prepped M4 share the same 3.0-litre turbocharged six-cylinder engine and engineers from both sides of the business shared notes on the chassis and other aspects to ensure it lived up to M Division’s reputation for building memorable performance cars.
What’s under the bonnet?
It gets the same 3.0-litre inline six-cylinder twin-turbo engine as the M4 Competition coupe. That means it makes 375kW of power and 650Nm of torque.
In comparison the standard M4 makes 353kW and 550Nm, so the Competition adds notably more performance, which compensates for the extra weight.
As mentioned above, the M4 Competition Convertible gets BMW’s ‘xDrive’ all-wheel drive system that transmits all that grunt to the road via an eight-speed automatic transmission.
While a departure for the M4, which has traditionally been rear-wheel drive, it’s a major plus because of all the torque. By switching to all-wheel drive the M4 is able to more smoothly get all the power to the road.
As we discovered in the M4 Competition Coupe this latest model is balastically fast, packing enough punch to genuinely shove you back in your seat.
BMW claims the M4 Convertible will run 0-100km/h in just 3.7 seconds, which means regardless of its extra weight and moveable roof, this is a super-quick performance car.
How does it handle?
The latest M4 is built on new underpinnings that are a step forward from the model it replaces. Unlike the uncompromising handling package of the previous M4, this new generation retains similar levels of dynamic performance with more compliance from the suspension to create a better overall package.
The M4 is equipped with BMW’s adaptive M system, which incorporates electronically-controlled dampers with specific tuning that provides a tangible difference in ride quality between the ‘Comfort’ drive setting and ‘Sport’, so you can choose the setting to suit the circumstances.
The M-specific steering is a particular highlight, as it was in the coupe. Despite the switch to all-wheel drive it still provides precision and feedback to the driver that makes it an engaging car to drive.
Crucially for the M4 Convertible, BMW and M Division made major changes to ensure the body structure retained suitable torsional rigidity. To that end this model comes equipped with an aluminium shear panel in the front-end structure, underfloor bracing elements, a rear axle subframe with a rigid connection to the rest of the body as well as torsion struts at the rear of the body, all of which work together to ensure the body stays strong even without a roof.
Where would you most like to drive it?
When we drove the M4 Coupe we said we’d love to experience it on a racetrack like Phillip Island or the new Nurburgring. While the M4 Convertible would no doubt be quick around a track, it’s not really meant for that.
This feels like the type of car you’d love to drive through the Swiss Alps on a summer’s day or blast along a snaking coastal road with the wind in your hair. It’s a car to experience as much as drive.
What’s the interior like?
Obviously it carries over the same interior design as the coupe, which itself seemingly carries over much of the same design as the majority of the BMW range. Clearly the BMW designers like their cabin layout and want to subtly evolve it over time.
It’s perfectly functional and it looks suitably high-quality, especially the M4 with its sporty carbon fibre trim elements, but if you’ve been in a BMW in the last decade or two it will feel very familiar.
One notable new addition to the convertible, is the standard fitment of seats with a so-called ‘air collar’, which can blow warm air directly onto your neck if you’re getting a little chilli with the room down.
How much does the BMW M4 Competition Convertible cost?
It’s priced from $182,500 (plus on-road costs), which is an $11,000 premium over the M4 Competition xDrive Coupe. Interestingly, beyond the typical rivals (Audi S5 Cabriolet and Mercedes-AMG C63 S) at this price it also lines up as a potential rival to the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray 3LT convertible, which starts at $175,500. Food for thought…
Would I buy one?
Personally I’m not a fan of convertible performance cars, because despite BMW’s best efforts and ability to save 105kg over the old model, the M4 Convertible is still heavier than the coupe.
But for someone looking for a very quick, stylish and sophisticated car that they can enjoy the open-air in, then this should definitely be on your short-list.
2022 BMW M4 Competition Convertible price and specifications
|Price:||From $182,500 plus on-road costs|
|Engine:||3.0-litre six-cylinder twin-turbo petrol|
|Power:||375kW at 6250rpm|
|Torque:||650Nm at 2750-5500rpm|
|Transmission:||Eight-speed automatic, all-wheel drive|
|Wheels:||19-inch alloys (front), 20-inch alloy (rear)|
|Tyres:||275/35 ZR19 (front), 285/30 ZR20 (rear)|
|0-100km/h:||3.7 seconds (claimed)|