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- Highs Seriously quick acceleration, affordable Competition package, still offers a manual transmission.
- Lows Steering lacks tactility, overly firm ride, CS variant yields small performance returns.
- Verdict The M4 is statistically impressive but less engaging than its predecessors.
With two fewer doors and sleeker proportions, the 2020 BMW M4 is a sportier-looking alternative to the M3 sedan. Still, these German siblings have a lot in common, including heady performance numbers. Both feature a brilliant twin-turbo six-cylinder engine that is as refined as it is powerful, and their "M" designation means they're descendants of BMW's storied subdivision. Available as a coupe or convertible, the M4 is zestier than the regular 4-series. While its cornering grip and stopping power are as impressive as any, the two-door Bimmer doesn't reward its driver as much as its forebearers. Despite this shortcoming, the 2020 M4 has the pedigree and stats to attract enthusiasts.
What's New for 2020?
BMW sunsets the first-gen M4 (previously called the M3 coupe and convertible) with the 2020 model year. Before the company announces the next generation, it will offer a special edition. Believe it or not, it's called the M4 Edition ///M Heritage and only 750 copies will be built.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
We prefer the 2020 M4 coupe versus its convertible counterpart, especially since it's $8500 cheaper. Likewise, the M4 CS may appeal to the most ardent BMW fans, but we don't think the marginal performance enhancements warrant its six-figure price tag. We'd replace the standard cloth upholstery with one of the leather options and opt for the Executive and Competition packages. The former includes adaptive LED headlights, automatic high-beams, a head-up display, a top- and side-view camera, and a self-parking feature. The Competition kit adds 19 horsepower, quicker steering, revised damping, and various cosmetic addenda.
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Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Power comes from a 425-hp twin-turbo inline-six, with either a six-speed manual or a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive. The Competition package increases power output to 444 ponies, retunes the adaptive dampers, adds a more direct steering ratio, and introduces new settings for the stability-control system and rear differential. Our M4 Competition test car with the automatic zipped from zero to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds, the same time it took its main rival, the Mercedes-AMG C63 S coupe. The ride is firm but the driver is paid back for the abuse with genuine agility on twisty roads. At the track, the M4 can be dropped into the Sport+ mode, where it will devour corners and blast down straightaways with the best of them. We only wish the steering provided the feedback that we remember so fondly from M cars of old.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The EPA has different estimates between the M4's two body styles and transmission. The coupe is rated up to 18 mpg city and 25 highway, while the thriftiest convertible gives up 1 mpg in the city. The M4 CS has a slightly lower estimate on the highway (23 mpg), but it's expected to earn 17 mpg city. We tested an M4 Competition coupe on our 200-mile fuel-economy route where it exceeded its government rating by 2 with a result of 27 mpg.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
The M4 shares its interior with the decidedly less racy and far less expensive BMW 4-series. That means good build quality but a relatively uninspired design that looks particularly dour in all black. Luckily, BMW offers three two-tone interior options—Sonoma Beige, Silverstone, and Sakhir Orange—to spice things up a bit. The M4's sport seats are supportive and comfortable, and the driving position is perfect for spirited motoring. The rear seat is less spacious than the M3 sedan but can still fit two adults in a pinch; the trunk space is generous for a coupe and fits four carry-on suitcases.
Infotainment and Connectivity
All M4 models come with an 8.8-inch touchscreen that supports BMW's iDrive infotainment software. The system can also be operated via buttons on the steering, a rotary controller on the center console, and through voice commands. Other standard features include Apple CarPlay integration, SiriusXM satellite radio, and a 16-speaker 600-watt Harman/Kardon audio system. Although Android Auto capability isn't offered, a Wi-Fi hotspot, and wireless phone charging are optional.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
The 2020 M4 hasn't been crash-tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The coupe and convertible also offer several driver-assistance technologies, including a 360-degree camera system and self-parking assist. Key safety features include:
- Standard forward-collision alert and automated emergency braking
- Standard lane-departure warning
- Available blind-spot monitoring
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
The limited and powertrain warranty of the M4 is competitive, and its standout feature is lengthy complimentary scheduled maintenance.
- Limited warranty covers 4 years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers 4 years or 50,000 miles
- Complimentary scheduled maintenance is covered for 3 years or 36,000 miles