2019 BMW M4

6.6
2019 BMW M4

The Basics:

Egos: Check yourselves before stepping foot in the 2019 BMW M4.

The 2019 BMW 4-Series distills our favorite parts from the related 3-Series and packages them in a better shape.

The two-door coupe or convertible is humbling in its speed and price. The M4 carries the banner on from the two-door M3 coupes that helped make BMW legendary, but the M4 is the most savage version of the breed. It’s quick and precise, with potential for speed that leaves little room for bravado.

Compared to the smaller M2, the M4 feels less like a driver’s car and more like a tech spectacle. It’s less connected but just as raw, impressive but also intimidating.

Our 6.4 rating is relatively high for a high-priced sports car with a narrow focus. It’s not efficient, but not many cars that lap the Nürburgring-Nordschleife in less than eight minutes are. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

This year, the M4 is available as a coupe or convertible as a base model (if there’s such a thing), M4 Competition, and rare M4 CS, which is coupe-only. All M4s are powered by a twin-turbo inline-6 that makes at least 425 horsepower and sends it to the rear wheels via a 6-speed manual or 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. (The M4 CS is automatic-only.)

The M4 is based on the 4-Series that we cover separately, but adds high horsepower and standard adaptive dampers and a high-performance rear differential.

Its speed is alarming; base coupes run up to 60 mph in 4.0 seconds. Competition models add 19 horsepower and subtract fractions of a second from the same sprint. M4 CS adds 10 more horsepower to the Competition model and does the dash in 3.8 seconds.

Unlike the M2, the M4 is about superlative speed—not approachable speed. The M4 is nimble, quick, and precise—alarmingly so.

Like you might expect, the small coupe isn’t comfortable for four. Two fit just fine, but a family wagon, the BMW M4 isn’t.

Compared to other luxury cars with price tags higher than $70,000, the M4 lacks a little. Standard cloth seats and 18-inch wheels spoil the luxury feel, but not many buyers will take a bone-stock version. The M4 runs up to $100,000 without much effort, with available 20-inch wheels, performance packages, carbon-ceramic brakes ($8,150 alone), and other goodies.

The 2019 BMW M4 is available as a coupe or convertible, based largely on the 4-Series. It doesn’t stray far from the formula we like in the base model. It gets a 7 for style. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Read more about the 4-Series here.

The 2019 BMW M4 doesn’t surpass our driving abilities, it runs laps around them. And we’re just talking about the regular version.

High-test M4 Competition and M4 CS versions add more power and more performance.

It gets a 9 on our performance scale because perfection costs magnitudes more. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

All M4s start with an twin-turbocharged inline-6 that makes 425 hp and 406 pound-feet of torque that drives the rear wheels only.

Base coupes and convertibles can be equipped with a sharp 6-speed manual or rapid-fire 7-speed dual-clutch automatic that rifles through gears to propel the two-door to 60 mph in 4.0 seconds. We like the 7-speed because it’s faster than we are; the M4 is all about speed.

Most of our time has been spent in base M4 cars and the speed and power is profound. Critics take issue with the sound created by the turbo-6; it’s hardly as mellifluous as the V-8s that graced former M3 two-door coupes but the speed is just as disarming and more abrupt. A wall of torque surges just past idle and pins driver and passenger back in their seats. The M4’s speed requires some mental adjustment, road imperfections arrive exponentially quicker. The standard adaptive dampers toggle between normal and sport settings, the latter too firm for anything other than well-kept interstates or glassy major arterial roads.

The Competition package bumps horsepower up to 444 hp and adds a revised exhaust, revised program for the standard adaptive dampers, and 20-inch wheels that are far stiffer than the standard 18s on the M4.

The M4 Competition rides firmer than the M4, but doesn’t crash over bumps. It’s just the right side of comfortable to drive to the track, on the track, and home, but we’d stop short of calling it a cushy cruiser.

The new M4 CS adds more power (454) and skips the 6-speed manual in favor of a 7-speed automatic only. It runs up to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds and tops out at 174 mpg, and has lapped the famous Nürburgring-Nordschleife in 7 minutes, 38 seconds. We haven’t yet driven the M4 CS, and considering the limited-production run of 500 cars that are headed to the U.S., it’s not likely we’ll see these collector items at all. A handful are available, and cost more than $100,000, and likely won’t go far from there.

Steering in all of the M4 models is light, but laser precise. We don’t take umbrage with the lack of steering feel when the M4 points in to a corner predictably every time; driving the M4 is sensory overload with its speed, sound, and rapidly approaching everything. The chassis is remarkably balanced and the M4 changes direction without drama, our hands wouldn’t have much to detect anyway.

The base stoppers on the M4 are solid, but optional carbon-ceramics scrub speed with alacrity. They cost more than $8,000, and services aren’t cheap either, but track rats will appreciate the consistent confidence of high-performance brakes.

Like the BMW 4-Series that it’s based on, the 2019 M4 is a supreme package for two.

The M4 gets points above average for its front seats and fit and finish, but loses one for a cramped rear seat. It earns a 6 for comfort. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Its standard front seats are power-adjustable in 14 directions, with plenty of bolstering and support for the car’s high-speed mission.

In terms of space for passengers, the M4 is mostly identical to the 4-Series, except it doesn’t offer a four-door Gran Coupe configuration.

Read more about the 4-Series comfort here.

The BMW M4 lacks official crash-test data. We’ll withhold our score for now, but we’re don’t expect much to change soon—high-priced cars aren’t often tested. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

This year, the M4 is equipped as standard with forward-collision warnings with automatic emergency braking like many other BMW cars. It’s long overdue, but lifesaving nonetheless.

The M4 is equipped with standard airbags and seatbelts, traction and stability control systems, and active rollover protection on convertible models.

Blind-spot monitors are spend-up extras and worth it.

Overall, outward vision in the 4-Series is acceptable, but tall drivers with long torsos may be challenged to see forward due to a low windshield and bulky rearview mirror assembly.

 

The features list for a 2019 BMW M4 and the Oscars gifting suite have more than just a few things in common.

Big-budget materials, flashy packaging, and hi-fi sound delivered in any color you like are part of the shows. Want more power? That comes with a price, but you can have it. (We meant the car, but Hollywood applies all the same.)

The 2019 BMW M4 is for well-heeled buyers who might not scoff at more than $8,000 for brakes. We give it a 7 for its optional extras, infotainment, and its warranty, but take one back for a blunderous Apple CarPlay subscription idea that should’ve hit the cutting-room floor by now. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The 2019 BMW M4 comes in standard coupe and convertible configurations, competition-spec versions of both, or a M4 CS coupe that’s so fast it’s likely gone already from dealer lots.

The M4 starts at more than $70,000 and tops out well past $100,000.

Every M4 gets 18-inch wheels, cloth upholstery, an 8.8-inch screen for infotainment that includes Apple CarPlay compatibility and Bluetooth connectivity, automatic emergency braking, adaptive dampers, and parking sensors. The cloth buckets and 18-inch wheels are a small letdown for the price, but we admit that many owners won’t blink at upgrading both for thousands above the starting price.

BMW's standard warranty covers three years of maintenance, and includes a 4-year/50,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty that's better than most of its rivals.

Two options packages are available for coupes and convertibles. An executive package adds adaptive LED headlights, a head-up display, and speed limit information. A competition package zags and adds more power, more adjustments for the adaptive dampers, and a few appearance items including 20-inch wheels.

A la carte items include more than $8,000 for carbon-ceramic stoppers, a moonroof, wireless smartphone charger, heated steering wheel, and increased top speed.

Our pick? We wouldn’t say no to a M4 Competition coupe in Yas Marina blue with 18-inch black performance tires, Silverstone Merino leather, and higher top speed for just over $80,000. Build code DTK86BIF if you’re shopping for us for the holidays.

The 2019 BMW M4 is less thirsty than V-8-powered two-door predecessors but it’s hardly a hyper-miler.

The EPA rates the M4 coupe with an automatic transmission at 17 mpg city, 23 highway, 19 combined. That earns a 3 on our fuel-economy scale. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Most versions rate similarly.

A manual transmission is more efficient (and more fun). Those rate 18/25/20 mpg.

With the droptop, the M4 convertible is rated 17/25/20 mpg with a manual, 16/22/19 mpg with an automatic.

Competition models and the limited-edition CS coupe rate identically to their base car counterparts.

All versions of the BMW M4 run on premium unleaded.

 

 

Buying Tips:

The M4 Competition is all the power we’ll need for around $80,000. It’s the most compelling option among the M4 lineup.

Other Choices:

  • 2019 Mercedes-Benz C Class
  • 2019 Audi S5 Coupe
  • 2019 Cadillac ATS-V
  • 2019 Lexus RC F
  • 2019 Ford Mustang

Reason Why:

The BMW M4 and Mercedes-Benz C63 go toe-to-toe every year in a high-performance slugfest. Our pick? The C63. It’s newer, with big V-8 power, and hugely entertaining on a track. The Audi RS 5 is a high-power option too, but its all-wheel-drive system and tuning lends itself better to grand touring. The Cadillac ATS-V is similarly powered by a turbo-6, like the BMW, but lacks polish. The Caddy is on its way out though, it should be deeply discounted. The Lexus RC F packs V-8 power and a new track edition on the way could be intriguing. The Ford Mustang finally has the track chops to compete—it already had V-8 power. We suggest looking at the Mustang to save a few bucks.

The Bottom Line:

The 2019 BMW M4 is a scalpel among high-powered sports cars. It cuts cleanly through corners and lacerate new-car budgets.

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