BMW M4

The standalone machine

"Innovative engine technology and a focus on lightweight design"

"It is characteristically and agreeably well balanced"

"I miss the growl of the V8 engine" said Issam

"Is it truly a car you'll ever need?"

The early 1970s were the sunrise of a new age for BMW; an era of power and pursuit of the ongoing success of the company. M3 and God will help you; it depends, according to the well-known Arab saying. Although this is far from perfection - to try two powerful driving forces - it does not diminish our zeal in 2012 to unveil the history and evolution of the German sports car benchmark. It was two years ago and I can still remember the head-to-head comparison drive we did in Dubai of the 1986 BMW M3 E30 (first M) and 2012 BMW M3 E92 (last M).

This year we are again in Dubai to lay our hands upon the new BMW M4. So what exactly happened with the M3 and why M4? The BMW M4 is basically the coupe version from the past. The M3 badge is still there but refers to the 4 door performance sedan. Four generations of the BMW M3 have blended motor sport genes and uncompromised everyday usability into an emotionally rich overall concept. Both BMW M3 Sedan and BMW M4 Coupe represent an ongoing commitment to this philosophy.

What are the things that changed on the new M4 Coupe?
First is the reappearance of a six cylinder engine. Second are the twin turbochargers. The M4 Coupe currently charts an advanced recipe: more powerful, faster, lighter, cleaner. Everyone's question is how these two features will smudge the BMW M4's character.

Exterior
When I first saw the car I stood for about 30 seconds trying to interpret if I still liked the outgoing E92 model. Then I began to get used to its appearance. What does the new M4 Coupe look like? The contoured roofline with central channel continues into the boot lid, emphasizing the even sportier personality of the new model. The newly developed boot lid not only provides extremely effective tail end styling, but its geometry is at the same time precisely tailored for optimized aerodynamics, while the use of carbon fiber and plastics makes for additional weight savings. There is the modern take on the twin headlight arrangement (with optional LED technology), for example, not to mention the distinctive twin-bar kidney grille with black painted grille bars - which reflect the design of the characteristic BMW M double-spoke wheels and bear the M logo - and the powerfully designed front apron with its trio of large intakes supplying cooling air to the high performance engine and brakes. The striking exterior mirrors have a design to optimize the aerodynamics of the car.

Interior
Last month we covered the 435i, so you must have seen the inside, which means you'll be familiar with what's going on inside the M4. I sat in the back of the car which is quite unusual. I was going out with folks and I wanted to get that feeling. I found out that there is headroom aplenty for the front seat occupants. In the rear seat, there is enough legroom and it's quite spacious, with only two seats back there.

Driving Impressions
Although I wasn't that captivated from the exterior look of the car, I'm very impressed by its driving dynamics. The instant lag-free response from the two turbos as soon I step on the gas is marvelously great. This is an amazing option for this engine which means more fun at the wheel and is unspoiled for daily sporty driving. The electronic power steering is accurate, and from my approach as a motoring journalist, that's really significant. It reacts promptly to inputs and delivers outstanding response!

The twin-turbo 3.0 liter inline-6 cries and barks with determination. The M4 comes with a very stiff chassis and a rear sub frame that bolts straight to the body (similar in motorsport). I tried to provoke it many times, especially during late hours at night on traffic lights and on. It is incredibly accurate and feels like planted on the asphalt nevertheless of how openly I provoked it. I immediately felt that it has a low center of gravity and there's a pride that emphasizes all of its violence, when it's being hard-pressed.

Verdict
The new BMW M4 Coupe represents the fifth generation of a pure-bred sports car offering excellent everyday usability. It will raise the bar in the ultra-high performance midsize coupe segment at every turn. When you're just cruising around town the real beauty of the M4 is that it can ride just like a 435i. Surely the price tag will be the issue in such a case. The engine is the heart of every M model. It is precision and agility and I can confess that BMW is back with their M Division cars. 

Pros: good look, powerful engine, interior practicality
Cons: V8 engine's sound, more expensive than before
Rivals: Audi RS5, Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG, Jaguar F-Type Coupe, Porsche Cayman S, Cadillac CTS-V Coupe, Lexus RC F
4 stars
One word: apparatus

Specs

3.0 Liters M TwinPower Turbo, inline-6, 431 hp, 550 Nm
6 speed manual/7 speed double clutch
Top speed 250 kph, 0-100 kph: 4.1-4.3 sec, 8.3-8.8 L/100 km
Weight: 1640 kg

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