The 2018 BMW M4 Coupe had been scheduled to reside at our El Segundo, California headquarters for a few weeks and I purposefully signed into it for just one night. Being a female staff writer at Automobile and having the freedom to drive a wide range of vehicles puts me in a unique position—one that I sometimes take for granted.
In this industry it is easy to build a sense of entitlement and you forget that driving press cars is a special privilege and not a right. For this reason, I wanted my time in the BMW M4 to be limited and perhaps I would appreciate the ultimate driving machine even more.
When I came up to the Austin Yellow Metallic M4 Coupe shining bright in the parking lot I did a quick walk around and snapped countless mental pictures. Knowing there was no time to waste I found a suitable seat position and sped away from the office. As I drove down Rosecrans Avenue I had to remind myself that I would be in this gorgeous golden coupe for just one night. Even though a time limitation presented a challenge this variable also had the potential to make my M4 date night more interesting.
If you could drive a BMW M4 equipped with the Competition package for a day what would you do? Where would you go? Here was this gratifying car in my hands all to myself and yet I had no idea of where to begin or what driving activity to pursue. To slow down my racing thoughts and help me develop a plan I went home to take a nap. When I woke up, I could hear Thom Yorke’s “The Clock” echoing in my wandering mind which sent me into panic mode. With no plan of action, I grabbed a good pair of athletic shoes and my camera and headed to San Pedro’s waterfront.
After a few loops around the harbor I parked the M4 at a deserted parking lot and stepped out to gaze at the cargo ships cruising by. There was nothing extravagant about this moment, however, knowing the 3.0-liter twin-turbo I-6 engine is capable of 444 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque had my back put a big smile on my face. Every now and then mundane activities yield the most satisfaction. I gave up the idea of having a rigid plan and in that spirit the rest of my night played out spontaneously.
An M4 driving experience would not be complete without a soundtrack to play on the fabulous Harman Kardon audio system. I adjusted the tone settings and put on a mix of my favorite rock bands including Metallica, Korn, and Disturbed. This being the ultimate driving machine I used Sport Plus mode with the D3 level of Drivelogic as my setup and off we went into the twilight zone.
To spare you the details of the magical night drive it ended at In-N-Out Burger under a full moon. I ordered a double-double combo and carefully used the hood of the M4 as my dinner table. While I consumed my delicious burger, I made a thoughtful assessment and what follows are 10 things I love about the BMW M4 Coupe. For the record I did all the photography during my time in the M4 because doing otherwise would have broken the time limit challenge.
1. Minimalist Steering Wheel
From time to time I find that steering wheels have too much going on. The M4 steering wheel on the other hand feels very basic and has an optimal amount of control buttons. An added touch that I really like is the BMW M colors stitching.
2. Interior Material Combination Option
My test vehicle came with the black cloth and leather interior combination giving me the best of both worlds. Since I grew up in a city with 100 plus degree summers I am not a fan of all leather interiors.
3. Door Mirror Design
Do you like lobster? I love lobster with a side of mac n’ cheese and ice-cold beer. The door mirrors on the BMW M4 have a weird shape that remind me of lobster claws. Exterior door mirrors tend to be bland and uninspiring but I give BMW props for implementing a bizarre design.
4. Harman Kardon Audio System
When I had a little fun on the freeway and cruised around downtown Long Beach I played a YouTube mix of Tool as loud as my ears could tolerate—doing this in a 400 plus horsepower sports car was quite a euphoric experience. Maynard’s vocals on the “The Pot” flowed harmoniously through the speakers taking me back to that time I saw him shirtless in a cowboy hat, boots, and jeans rocking out on stage.
5. Black Wheels with Gold Brake Calipers
While there is technically more to the M carbon ceramic brake system speaking on purely aesthetic terms the 19-inch forged black wheels paired with gold brake calipers is a stunning combo.
6. Interior Door Trim Panel Design
Something I thought was very cool is how BMW extended the M4’s front door interior trim design to the rear seating area. Applying the front door panel materials to the rear is not common practice on two-door car interiors where the rear seat is rarely occupied by passengers.
7. Carbon-Fiber Roof
The tester I drove had the carbon-fiber reinforced plastic roof (CFRP), however you can get the optional moonroof. Personally I would opt for the carbon-fiber rooftop any day because it eliminates a few pounds and looks cooler.
8. Illuminated BMW M Logo Badges
When you unlock the M4 the BMW M Logo badges on the front bucket seats illuminate. For the folks at BMW to put that much effort into such a small detail is pretty freakin’ awesome.
In Drive mode this feature gives you the choice of three driving programs: efficient, relaxed, and sporty. In Sequential mode things get more interesting though I did not try it myself. As I previously mentioned I drove mostly in Sport Plus mode and used the D3 level of Drivelogic for a sportier driving experience.
10. Discrete Power Seat Adjustment Button
On the back of the bucket seats there is a button with an arrow pointing up and another pointing down. Initially I had no clue on the functional nature of this discrete button and while photographing the rear seat I discovered it moved the front seats forward and backward.
Bonus: M Double-Clutch Transmission + Launch Control
Launch control on the BMW M4 Coupe is integrated with the 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. Though I did not have the guts to engage launch control I did find this video that explains how to use it.