2020 BMW M4 Competition Convertible
BMWs are deeply impressive cars at the best of times, but the M cars take a humbler offering, and turns it into grunty perfection.
M3 goes back many decades. BMW spent millions on it, and people knew what that badge meant. For some inexplicable reason, not content with their naming regime, BMW split the 2 door models off into their own nomenclature. Even numbers are 2 door cars, unless you include the 4-door coupes of course. Odd numbers, like 3, 5, and 7, have 4 doors and a boot. There are X’s too, which are the crossovers, and they have AWD. AWD can also be found on some of the normal sedan and wagon models. Confused? Yes, me too.
To me, it seems like a bit of a mess, but that’s enough about me.
Sydney Lord Mayor, Clover Moore, and Sydney State MP, Alex Greenwich took our M4 for Mardi Gras last weekend. Riding on the rear roof cover, Alex and Clover looked like the duck’s nuts.
Gay readers might know Alex from his days as spokesperson for the Gay Equality movement. He was especially loud and proud during the vile Marriage Equality Survey inflicted on GLBTI Australians by a deeply religious conservative government. That fight was won, but the war is not yet over.
A posh car seemed a fitting thankyou for Clover and Alex’s efforts.
The M4 takes cues from her roofed coupe sibling. Strong lines are given a sensual twist, especially on our black-on-black convertible.
Common or garden variety M4s get 18” wheels which grow to 20” on Competition models. There are many boxes to tick if you want to spend even more shekels on personalisation. You could have ceramic brakes and a host of other useless upsells, if that’s your thing.
You see, on the road, you can go 110kph, and that is it. Or, you can visit a track as many owners think they will do, but never actually manage to do.
Surely, only a complete fool would risk $180,000 worth of car, mashing their loafers into the carpet on a racetrack. Given that most people are not complete fools, where to you use all that power? Well, more about that later.
The Complex Roof –
Is a folding metal affair. At the press of a button, motors whir while the M car performs a mesmerising ballet as metal and glass flies through the air. As the roof stacks one section on top of another, the rear window gracefully slides up in-between them. Meanwhile, the boot has arched backwards in some weird yoga pose, then the roof glides down, landing with a heavy clunk. The boot slams down again, like one of those old money boxes with the that hand came out of a lidded hole, then slammed shut after grabbing your dosh.
The boot space is almost entirely taken up with roof. While it makes your ride nice and secure when deployed, weekends away can be a problem. If you want to put anything larger than a 24pack of bog rolls in the back, you have to press a button on the bootlid. The roof lifts itself out of the way for a moment.
Even putting your groceries in would require holding your mouth a particular way, and several minutes of faffing around.
Personally, I’d rather a good, old-fashioned, folding fabric roof, security be damned.
The Interior –
Has been lavished with a bevy of badges. You might think the exterior was festooned with more badges than a scout troop, but the cabin takes the cake.
Even the front seats have badges lit from inside with little LED pods. The seats are heated, and have powered adjustment in case your plumb tuckered out from all that tracky butchness. The side bolster can be made to hug your love handles even tighter.
The centre console houses controls to the beating heart of the beast. You can fettle the throttle, subdue the steering, make the suspension even angrier. If that wasn’t enough, you can make the gear changes so snappy, that you risk whiplash.
The Driver –
Gets techy niftiness like a Heads Up Display, but misses out on such things as active lane control, and active cruise control.
That seems damned mean of BMW, who expect a buyer of a 180 grand car to go without something you get in a base model KIA as standard.
That doesn’t seem to matter once you light a fire under the cackling, spitting chunk of metal under the bonnet. The starter button is red, signalling a warning the inexperienced would do well to heed.
Took us through achingly beautiful countryside.
Starting at the old Pacific Highway at Cowan, we descended from the escarpment along a track cut into the sandstone cliffs. Switchbacks lead down to the water’s edge in a quiet bay. The Berowra Ferry then takes motorists and pedestrians across the narrow inlet to the marina on the opposite shore.
If you aren’t stopping for a fish and chips lunch, a rewarding drive lies just beyond.
Gentle twists and bends take you up onto a green plateau, and after several kilometres, back down into a deep, narrow gorge. Again, the road is cut into the sandstone cliffs. They seem to cling perilously, defying gravity, and while it makes the drive exciting, it is also very, very dangerous.
You cross a one lane bridge that clatters as the loose boards bump and grind under spinning wheels. In a thrice, you climb again, through one switchback after another.
All the while, the M4 spits angrily between gears.
She grips the road tightly, completely unaware that she isn’t on the Nürburgring. Handling is a triumph. Unfortunately, the cacophony under the bonnet entices owners to keep gears low, revs high, and sound loud. It is a recipe for a rather expensive party as the economy plummets like a PM’s poll on the nose.
M4 is Practical,
But only if you have no friends with bags. You can fit a couple of vertically-challenged chaps in the back, but their gear will have to stay at home.
In many ways, that’s a good idea. It cuts down on the freeloaders.
180 grand puts a very expensive smile on your dial. It is a nicer drive than her Münchnerin mates, but it isn’t perhaps as refined or as elegant as the offerings from Ingolstadt.
As in all things,
It is horses for courses. Some prefer a blue and white roundel, but for others, only a 3-pointed star will suffice. Some like 4 rings, and there are those who think something British is the cat’s whiskers.
Whatever fetish you want to feed, M4 makes people notice. If you’re shy and retiring, move along, there is nothing for you to see here.
Do I like it? Hell yeah.
Price: $181,000 9approx – on road in NSW)
Twin turbo in-line 6, 331kw/550Nm, 98ron, EURO 6
Suspension 10mm lower, active, adjustable
Trick diff Active M
- Model Code: 4Z92
- 7-Speed M Double-Clutch
- 2,979 cc, 6-Cylinder
- 331 kW / 550Nm
- Fuel Type: Petrol
- Consumption: 9.1 l / 100km 1
- CO2: 213 g / km 1
- 0-100kmh: 4.3 sec
Powertrain and technology
- M TwinPower Turbo inline 6-cylinder petrol engine
- 7-speed double-clutch transmission with Drivelogic incl. gearshift paddles
- Active M differential
- Adaptive M suspension with new springs, dampers and anti-roll bars, along
with reconfigured driving modes (Comfort, Sport and Sport+)
- Brake-pad wear indicator
- M Competition Package, power increase to 331kW Auto Start/Stop function
- M Drive, enables driver to program two individual driving profiles
- M Servotronic power steering
- Active Protection
- Airbags, for front, front-side and head in both front and rear
- Alarm system with central locking with electronic immobiliser
- Inner-vented front and rear disc brakes, perforated, blue painted
- Complimentary BMW Intensive Driving Experience course (offer redeemable
for one customer per vehicle purchase)
- Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Cornering
Brake Control (CBC), Dynamic Traction Control (DTC) and dry braking
- Rollover protection system
- Tyre pressure monitor
- Warning triangle and first aid kit
- BMW M Head-Up Display
- Cruise Control with braking function
- Driving Assistant incl. Approach Control Warning, Lane Departure Warning,
Pedestrian Warning with light city braking function
- Lane Change Warning System
- Speed limit device
- Speed Limit Info, camera-based detection of speed limit
- Surround View and Rear View Camera, incl. Top and Side View
- Park Distance Control (PDC) front and rear
Light and sight
- Adaptive LED Headlights incl. cornering lights, variable light control and
daytime running lights
- High-Beam Assist, automatic operation depending on traffic situation
- Interior lights package with LED elements and light in the centre stack, inner
door handle scoops, front footwell and exterior door handles, ambience
lights for B-pillar, incl. vanity mirror lights and luggage compartment light
- Heat / sun protection glass
- Heated exterior mirrors
- Interior and exterior driver-side mirrors with automatic anti-dazzle function,
incl. Automatic parking function and electric fold-in function
- Rain sensor
- Rear lights with LED technology
Exterior design and equipment
- 20” M light-alloy wheels, Star-spoke 666 M, forged with mixed tyres
- BMW Individual High-gloss Shadow Line
- Bootlid ‘M4’ insignia in high-gloss Black
- Exterior M gills in high-gloss Black
- M Competition exhaust tailpipes, double, round, left and right in high-gloss
- Signature BMW ornamental kidney grille with M double rods in high-gloss
Interior design, comfort and equipment
- Upholstery, full leather ‘Merino’
- Interior trim, Carbon fibre with Black chrome accents
- Air collar, neck warmer with variable air stream
- Automatic air conditioning, dual-zone incl. active carbon microfilter
- BMW Individual roofliner Anthracite
- Comfort Access System, keyless access
- Door sill finishers with ‘M’ designation
- Electric front seat adjustment incl. memory function for drivers seat
- Floor mats in velour
- Foldable rear seats with 60:40 split
- Gearshift lever with M badge
- Lumbar support for driver and front passenger, electric
- Seat heating for driver and front passenger
- M leather steering wheel with multifunction buttons
- M Sport seats for driver and front passenger with illuminated ‘M4’ logo
- Storage package with 2 additional 12V power sockets
- Wind deflector
- Intelligent Emergency Call
- BMW Online incl. News and Weather*
- Remote Services
- Real Time Traffic Information (RTTI)*
- Concierge Services*
* 3 year subscription
Entertainment, communication and information
- AUX-IN, Bluetooth and USB connection incl. 12V socket in centre console
- DAB+ digital radio
- Enhanced telephony with extended Smartphone connectivity incl. voice
- harman/kardon Surround Sound system, 600W digital amplifier and 16 highend surround loudspeakers
- Instrument panel with extended contents with M-specific display
- Navigation System Professional with brand new interface design and Touch
Display function, 8.8” colour display, iDrive Touch Controller, DVD drive, 3D
and satellite map display, Voice Control, and 20GB storage for audio files *
* 3 year subscription for map updates
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