The 2021 BMW M4 is arguably one of the most radical redesigns in the company’s storied history. Not only does the two-door version of the also-all-new BMW M3 feature dramatically different bodywork, including a comically large interpretation of the famous kidney grille, the M4 is also profoundly powerful and looks to erase every performance record held by its predecessor. BMW also stuck to its roots by continuing to offer a manual transmission on the latest generation. While the stick-shift won’t be available on the 503-hp M4 Competition, a rear-biased all-wheel-drive system that includes a rear-drive-only mode for ass-out antics and a different type of driving behavior will. Although the 2021 M4 looks to be an extremely exciting reinterpretation, we’ll have to regulate our anticipation and reserve our final evaluation until we can unleash it on our test track.
What’s New for 2021?
The 2021 M4 is all new and represents the nameplate’s second generation. However, it has essentially taken the place of the old M3 coupe. While there’s much ado about its controversially large kidney grille, the new M4 has a host of impressive enhancements over the outgoing version.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
We expect the M4 to eventually be offered with a convertible body style, but BMW has only announced details and pricing for the fixed-roof variant. While we can’t get the Competition model with the manual transmission, we prefer its significantly more powerful engine. We’d also opt for the lightweight and awesome-looking M Carbon bucket seats as well as the carbon-fiber interior trim to really separate the cabin from the more pedestrian 4-series.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The M4 is motivated by a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six that comes in two potencies. The standard version makes 473 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque. It pairs with rear-wheel drive and a six-speed manual transmission. The Competition model generates 503 horsepower and 479 lb-ft, but the lone transmission choice is an eight-speed automatic. While the M4 Comp will initially only be offered with rear-wheel drive, BMW will eventually offer a rear-biased all-wheel-drive system. Every M4 comes with adaptive dampers, adjustable brake-pedal feel, and an electronically controlled exhaust system that gets louder in Sport and Sport Plus drive modes. The loudness can also be turned down at any time by pushing the M Sound button. The regular M4 rides on 18-inch front wheels and 19-inchers in the back while the M4 Competition rolls on a staggered set of 19s in front and 20s in back. Both models also feature a carbon-fiber roof that reduces their center of gravity and they can be equipped with a set of carbon-ceramic brakes. Unfortunately, we still have to wait awhile until we can get behind the wheel to discuss their driving acumen.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
Neither BMW nor the EPA have said how fuel efficient the M4 will be in the city or on the highway. Once those figures are announced and we have the opportunity to test one on our 75-mph highway fuel-economy route, which simulates real-world mpg and is part of our extensive testing regimen, we can report the results.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Although the M4 has the same interior layout and passenger space as the regular 4-series, it boasts a variety of unique materials and some race-inspired options. Its thick-rimmed steering wheel features a pair of red buttons for customizable M drive modes. The cabin can also be enhanced with liberal amounts of carbon-fiber trim pieces and lengthy paddle shifters mounted on the steering column. The standard M sport seats are substantially bolstered and have an illuminated logo, an integrated headrest, and can be had with ventilation for the first time on an M4. The optional carbon-fiber front seats not only look super cool, they’re also lighter than the standard seats and can be lowered even further. While the back seat obviously won’t be as roomy as in the M3 sedan, the space thankfully wasn’t a torture chamber in the previous M4 and the new one offers an extra inch of legroom.
Infotainment and Connectivity
Every M4 is outfitted with a slick-looking infotainment system that features a large 12.3-inch touchscreen. It has myriad control options that allow the user to adjust settings and navigate menus via voice commands, buttons on the steering wheel, and a large rotary controller and buttons on the center console. The M4’s system comes standard with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a Harman Kardon audio system. Those who want even fancier features can choose from popular options such as gesture controls, a subscription-based Wi-Fi hotspot, and a wireless charging pad.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
The 2021 M4 hasn’t been crash tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Despite driver engagement being its primary mission, the M4 has a roster of standard and optional driver-assistance technology. Key safety features include:
- Standard blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert
- Standard lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist
- Available adaptive cruise control
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
BMW provides a competitive limited and powertrain warranty that is identical to alternatives from Audi and Mercedes-AMG. It also has better complimentary scheduled maintenance than both brands, but it’s not quite as good as what Jaguar provides.
- Limited warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- Complimentary maintenance is covered for three years or 36,000 miles