Despite it being called a cabriolet, the M4 is really three cars in one.
Engine: 3.0 L turbocharged six-cylinder, 425 HP, 406 lb-ft.
Transmission: Six-speed manual, Seven-speed dual-clutch
Price (US): M4 Cabriolet starts at $73,450 after destination charges, $86,850 as tested
Price: (CDN): M4 Cabriolet starts at $84,500 after destination charges, $98,750 as tested
EPA fuel economy (US): 17 MPG city, 24 MPG highway, 19.8 MPG observed
Fuel economy (CDN): 14.1 L/100 km city, 9.7 L/100 km highway, 11.9 L/100 km observed
With the top up, the car mimics a regular coupe perfectly, much in the same way the Mercedes-Benz SL does. Thanks to the hardtop design, all of the windows are large and offer terrific sightlines. Not only is this almost impossible to replicate in a soft top convertible, but thanks to the lack of B pillars, sight lines might be better than in this cabriolet than in a traditional coupe.
SEE ALSO: 2015 BMW M4 Review
That leads me to the second configuration of the M4: a hardtop convertible. Since there is no B pillar, dropping the front and rear windows on either side of the car produces a nice big airy opening. This allows the M4 to offer all the fresh air benefits of a convertible while maintaining a bit of protection from the beating sun.
Of course, the main reason to buy a cabriolet is for the final body configuration, a top-down convertible. With the roof stowed, the M4 is an attractive, somewhat aggressive looking car. With the top up, it doesn’t look quite right though. It may be where the panels have been cut to fold the top down, but something seems a bit off, as is frequently the case with coupe-turned-convertible vehicles.
Big Power, Big Weight
Like the M3 sedan and M4 coupe, the cabriolet comes equipped with a 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder engine boosted to 425 HP and 406 lb-ft of torque. It can be paired to a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual clutch transmission. My test car was equipped with the dual-clutch, which is a better fit for the drop-top M4. This is a heavy car, tipping the scales at a portly 4,110 lbs. which is 525 lbs. heavier than the M4 coupe. It will never be agile like the coupe with that much extra heft, so what’s the point of opting for the more engaging transmission?
Besides, the semi-automatic DCT is a fine unit and fully adjustable. Driven in the default efficiency mode with the adjustable suspension set to comfort, the M4 Cab is a smooth, subdued grand tourer. Switch it over to Sport or Sport Plus mode and throttle response sharpens, gear changes become quicker and aggressive downshifts the norm.
The car also gets louder through a combination of the exhaust valves opening up and the stereo playing a louder engine note through the speakers. Yes, BMW is still synthetically altering vehicle’s soundtracks. Put a hand up to the speaker and the pulsating of the “engine” can actually be felt at certain RPM. I can’t really blame BMW though, the M4 makes some ridiculous noises on its own and they aren’t always good. So a little enhancement in an $80,000 car should keep owners happy.
Still a Performer
Even if the engine noise is fake, the performance is not. Despite the weight increase, 0-60 MPH still happens in 4.2 seconds with the DSG transmission. Fuel economy is respectably for a 4,000-lb. car, rated at 17 MPG city and 24 MPG highway. During my time with the car, I was shocked that I averaged 19.8 MPG despite my enthusiastic driving style.
Handling, like virtually every other aspect of the M4, is adjustable. In Sport Plus mode, the optional adjustable dampers firm up and the steering gains more precision. Power distribution is rear biased for optimal corning but the overall mass of the M4 Cabriolet can be felt most of the time. Luckily there are optional carbon ceramic brakes that are 15.75 inches in diameter up front to screech this brute to a stop.
The M4 doesn’t feel as connected to the road as some of the other cars you can have for the same money, but there is no denying its capability as a performance machine while it grips through corners. And unlike some purpose built sports cars, the M4 can be switched over to comfort mode that has the car behave like a proper, small luxury coupe. Think of it as a scaled down version of the M6.
Nice Place to be Inside
Inside, the M4 is a nice place to be. Trimmed in the Sakhir orange on black merino leather interior, the M4 is stylish without crossing into garish territory. This is the new generation of BMW interiors and even if some elements feel a bit dated, it’s an attractive, easy-to-use design.
The M4 is a 2+2 that actually offers a usable rear seat. With 33.1 inches of legroom, the backseats are marginally smaller than the coupe’s and can fit smaller adult passengers. When the roof is down, the trunk can hold 7.9 cubic feet of cargo, which isn’t too bad for a convertible. Pop the top back on and cargo space grows to 13.1 cubic feet. That’s actually more than the M4 coupe.
BMW M4 Cabriolet Review: The Verdict
The M4 Cabriolet blurs the lines between being a sports car, a grand touring coupe and a cruising convertible. A true transformer of sorts, it’s not as raw as M3s of old, especially as the hardtop cabriolet. But starting at $73,450, it’s not as expensive as a full-size GT car either. If you want a true M3 successor, wait for the upcoming M2. If it’s a scaled down M6 you’re looking for, grab the M4 Cabriolet.