Drop-top M4 proves a civilised, muscular car – albeit one that's not as involving as it should be

What is it?

A drop-top version of BMW's recently launched high-performance M4 coupé.

There are two major advantages to having a roofless BMW M4. One is the obvious fact that you can be much closer to process of achieving motion, the rush of scenery that much more apparent when there’s only a windscreen over your head.

The other is that you can much more prominently hear the magnificent, controlled cacophony of the straight-six turbo’s exhalations via a tuneful quartet of pipes.

What's it like?

Removing the roof from a coupe that’s all about performance and direction-changing dynamism is not ideal what with the weight gain, torsional rigidity sacrifice and the fact that 70kg of heft motors towards the rear axle when you open the roof.

But the M4 suffers less for this reworking than the lesser 4-series convertibles, whose handling is more noticeably disturbed by the weight shift. Much more apparent is this car’s essential character, which feels very much like that of a civilised muscle car.

The appeal of this is not to be underestimated, the pulsing growl of this engine doing plenty to goad you into the bounding pace that this car is capable of. Although it revs to an electrifying 7600rpm, this is a crank speed that you’ll rarely see unless you have plenty of space, the chunky spread of torque, handily kicking in from 1850rpm, and the seven-speed gearbox ensuring substantial pace even without working the engine hard.

The M4 has plenty of traction, but give it a fat bootful and the rear tyres will slide, especially in the damp, while the generally meaty feel of this car robs it of some of the delicacy that earlier M3s provided. On a track, as our Britain’ Best Drivers’ Car feature recently revealed, the M4’s habit of tipping into oversteer a bit too readily tends to trip up its fluency.

On the road, however, you’ll need deserted Tarmac or a greasy sequence of hairpins to discover this. But when you do, your corrective efforts will be aided by quick-acting and accurate steering, although its feel can sometimes feel foggy around the straight-ahead position. Nor does it tell you much about the shape of the road below. The brakes, on the other hand, are impeccable.

On a more practical and equally vital note, with the wind-stop in place the management of air around the cockpit is excellent for those up front – even at 140mph (on an autobahn) it’s easy to hold a conversation; you’ll be little troubled by unwanted draughts and the air-con remains effective.

Also better than average is the rear seat package. The backrest is less upright than it is in others of this breed and there’s just enough width, only your outside elbow slightly tight for space. It is however, rather breezier back there.

Also impressive is the M4’s ride quality on British roads, the dampers delivering some suppleness even in the sport mode, and enough in comfort that you’re rarely aware that this is high performance machine.

Should I buy one?

If you're in the market for a fast, upmarket cabriolet that's easy to live with, the BMW M4 is certainly a worthwhile candidate.

Back to top

Admittedly it’s not the sharpest tool in the high-performance drawer, and that’s shame given this model’s heritage, but you could hardly call it unexciting.

BMW M4 Convertible M DCT

Price £63,375; 0-62mph 4.4sec;
 Top speed 155mph (limited); Economy 32.5mpg (combined); CO2 203g/km
; Kerb weight 1790kg; Engine 6 cyls, 2979cc, turbo, petrol
; Power 425bhp between 5500-7300rpm
; Torque 406lb ft between 1850-5500rpm
; Gearbox 7-spd dual clutch automatic


Add a comment…