Originally published September 14, 2014
It is 96.3 kilometres from the parking lot at BMW Canada’s headquarters to my office. With the exception of a few clicks of urban street driving, it’s a soul-sucking drive across the top of Toronto on one of the world’s busiest mega-highways.
So I suppose it’s no wonder then that when I arrived at work, a co-worker spotted the Austin Yellow M4 and eagerly asked what I thought of it.
“Well…” I said, pausing to look back at the car and consider my drive for a moment, “it’s very nice.”
My colleague looked at me half perplexed and half disgusted that the car that has been doused in praise by every other automotive enthusiast on the planet was just regarded with such nonchalance.
Really? That’s all I could come up with?
This is the car I eagerly anticipated driving all summer. A car, whose paint virtually glows in the daylight (never mind at night!); whose gaping air intakes look as if they’re about to Hoover up pets and small children; whose squat, muscular stance and carbon fibre roof simply scream performance, and I’ve just called it “nice.”
But it is nice and pleasant, and that’s not a bad thing.
96.3 km earlier, I flopped down into M4’s bucket seat for the first time. There are fewer adjustments on this throne than I’m accustomed to for a BMW sport seat. The headrest is fixed, there’s no under-thigh retractable bit, and yet even without adjustable bolstering, it fit like a glove. And the M-badge on the seat is illuminated, so that’s cool too, I guess.
Outward visibility is very good thanks to thin pillars and, for a sports car, lots of glass, which is also nice and helpful when trying to watch out for the endless, highway-clogging SUVs being driven by texting sheep.
There is a meaty three-spoke steering wheel framing up a pair of prominent gauges – one for tach and one for speedo. The centre stack on the dash is littered with little black buttons and a few knobs, some rectangular vents and a bright, wide screen stuck on top of the leather-covered dash.
Everything is just as I’d expect it and just as it should be in a BMW. My phone was connected, route input, mirrors adjusted and sensational Harman/Kardon stereo blasting my music all within a minute or two. Easy peasy.
2015 BMW M4, dashboard. Click image to enlarge
When traffic is moving, the M4 settles into an easy lope on the highway, butter-smooth inline-six whirring away politely, sipping premium at a surprisingly prudent 9.0 L/100 km as I saw it (which is exactly what BMW claims). Wind noise is suppressed and the ride isn’t as harsh as a last generation 335i – though this is no luxo-barge cruiser. You can amuse yourself by watching the head-up display show you how flagrantly you’re breaking the law. All in all, it’s a really decent highway cruiser.
But there’s more niceness. The back seat – while more challenging to access than in its four-door M3 cousin – is spacious enough for me to toss in a couple of car seats and a pair of four-year-olds who commuted in fashion to gymnastics camp all week. Two agile adults will fit back there too (but not at the same time as the kids). The trunk even holds 445 litres of cargo.