Driven: BMW M4 Convertible Competition Package Review
I’ve driven the latest M4 Convertible from BMW, with the Competition Package, and here are my thoughts on the iconic driver’s car.
What’s The BMW M4 Convertible Competition Package All About?
The M division goes as far as the 70s, and ever since then, they’ve been the beacon of driving fun. You can stick an M-badge on anything, and it’d sell like hotcakes. While BMW might’ve made controversial decisions, the M division stays true to the Motorsport moniker.
With that, almost every M cars they’ve put out are desirable, regardless of age. In fact, the E46 M3 could arguably be the most appealing of them all. It hits all the right spots and more. This is why the M3 has been a staple of the M division.
From the outside, the M4 Convertible looks just as much M4-like, bar the roof. An attempt is made to separate the M from the normal 4-series though, with a plethora of badges and more aggressive styling decisions.
Convertible or coupe? From the 3/4 angle, the M4 Convertible Competition Package looks gorgeous, but otherwise I think I prefer the coupe’s suave lines. Perhaps it’s because the M4 doesn’t look quite imposing enough, but still, I’d prefer the convertible in the right conditions.
Our M4 Convertible was painted in Mineral White. If you want those outrageous black forged M4 GTS-esque 20″ 666M M Star-spoke alloys, you’d have to opt for the Competition Package. Those are stunning wheels that look amazing on the M4 Convertible.
Now, the M4 Convertible Competition Package has the same engine from the normal M4. However, the 3.0-litre twin turbocharged straight six has been tweaked to produce a bit more power. Now it makes 444 bhp, and puts out 550 Nm of torque.
To transmit the power, we had the good ol’ 6-speed manual that spins the rear wheels through an Active M Differential. This helps the M4 Convertible Competition Package to go from 0-62 mph in 4.5 seconds, onto a limited top speed of 155 mph. A 7-speed dual-clutch is optional, and with that, you’ll hit 0-62 mph in 4 seconds flat. Pretty brisk.
With the help of downsizing and turbochargers, the M4 Convertible Competition Package achieves 31.0 mpg, and puts out 213 g/km of CO2. Not bad.
How Does It Drive?
A good engine is what we’ve become accustomed to from the M division. The M4 Convertible Competition Package is no exception.
The 3.0-litre straight six here is silky smooth. Turbo lag is dealt with very well here, with most of the torque coming in at around 2,000 rpm. The engine revs quickly and smoothly, while remaining refined when you most need it.
A 4.5 second 0-62 mph time might not sound blisteringly rapid, but trust me, it’s sufficiently quick. At no point did I think, ‘whew, if only this car had more power’. It accelerates hard and has plenty of rev range to sing.
Speaking of singing, the new M sport exhaust wakes the engine up by a bit. It brings a bit more flair and character to the straight-6’s raspy note. It also pops and crackles a fair amount, a new fad that many performance manufacturers are hot on. The engine only really wakes up at 3500 rpm though, where it sings out the signature straight-6 tune.
Most of the Competition Package lies in the handling though. With a revised suspension setup, M hopes to fix the base models’ tricky handling characteristics.
I’m pleased to say that the M4 Convertible Competition Package is a very composed ride. Over bumps, the suspension handles the car really well, keeping it firmly planted and controlled. It’s easy to maintain control over the car even on rough roads.
With a convertible, the chassis is a big concern. With that said, the chassis feels taut and quite rigid, especially for a convertible. It’s pretty well sorted. The steering is also quick and precise, with plenty of feedback to your fingertips.
Of course, let’s be honest here, in handling dynamism, the convertible will lose to the coupe every day. With an addition of 70 kg in the rear, the M4 Convertible is stouter, and weight is generally bad for handling. In this sense, the M4 Convertible is more muscly, while the normal M4 is more sportscar.
The 20″ wheels are good to firm up the ride, but comes at a cost. Road noise is noticeable too on the motorways. However, it’s still a road ready car, as even with low profile tyres, the ride remains bearable.
If there’s a perk that still remains though, it’s the rear wheel bias. Sticking an M badge on something already visualize a sliding coupe with tyre smoke pouring over asphalt. With lots of torque at a very low rpm to the rear wheels means that the M4 Convertible can slide well. It can also be controlled rather easily with the good steering feel.
However, stick it into Comfort mode though, and the M4 Convertible transforms. To drive slowly, the M4 Convertible wins hands down. While the chassis is firmed up, ride quality is still preserved to a degree, making the M4 Convertible a charming drive at sensible speeds.
There is an advantage that the convertible grants over the coupe. While the coupe’s cabin is filled with synthesised engine note, in the convertible, you can hear the real, raw and visceral straight-6 note clearly. Checkmate, coupe.
What’s It Like Inside?
The interior is typically BMW. Nothing much has changed from the normal M4, you still get the carbon fibre and leather. Our seats though are wrapped in beautiful Sakhir Orange Merino Leather upholstery. They hug you tight and hold you in place. They also look stunning, especially with the roof down.
The steering wheel is decidedly normal, with an M badge and multiple buttons on it. The instrument cluster is also very clean, with analogue meters and a few LEDs to spice things up a notch.
Surprisingly, the interior of the M4 Convertible Competition Package is quite focused. There aren’t much distractions. Even the central 8.8″ infotainment display is pretty subtle. Put together, the visibility of the M4 is excellent.
The M4 convertible also has a wind shield behind the back to keep the cabin in check. You can easily drive 100 mph on the Autobahn with the roof down without any issues.
The M4 Convertible Competition Package has one thing going for it, and that’s drama. It’s a very characterful car, and you’ll certainly attract plenty of looks driving it around the street. However, you can always pull the roof up with a button, then you’d blend in pretty well.
While chopping the roof off a full bore sports car is a weird choice to some, it makes sense with the M4. It adds that much theater to the M4, and you’ll want to take more of your time in the M4 Convertible. It still handles exceptionally, but with the added benefit of wind in your hair.
To be honest, the M4 Convertible doesn’t focus on the driving experience. Instead, it accentuates on the whole sensation of driving, and encourages you to take it out for a spin. And in the right weather, I don’t see why not.
As for the Competition Package, it actually doesn’t command that much more premium over the standard convertible. It’s right around £2,000 more expensive than the standard M4 Convertible, and you should opt for it. If not for the better handling, treat it as a smart investment, as this’ll be a sought-after option when you come to sell it.
You’ll want to take it out for a spin, and for me, that makes a car. The M4 may be the epitome of a driver’s car, but the M4 Convertible will be the paragon of a balanced cabriolet. Is it worth it? If you have the money, and like the M badge, certainly, go for it.
BMW M4 Convertible Competition Package
- Price: From £64,660
- Engine: S55B30 3.0-litre twin turbocharged straight six
- Power: 444 bhp
- Torque: 550 Nm
- Transmission: 6-speed manual
- 0-62mph: 4.5 Seconds
- Top speed: 155 mph
- Weight: 1,750 kg
- Economy combined: 31.0 mpg
- CO2: 213 g/km
Author: Paul Hadley