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BMW’s roofless yet ruthless M4 convertible


MANY people think that convertible cars are for show-offs and I would agree, in some respects. You see, I don’t see the point of driving around in traffic, Monday to Friday, with the roof down. You end up getting sunburnt on your arms, ears, nose and the back of your neck. All you smell is exhaust gasses and everyone looks at you funny. However, when that one perfect day arrives, probably a Saturday or a Sunday and you decide to go for a drive and the weather’s just right, it’s then that a convertible makes sense - especially when it’s the all-new BMW M4 convertible!

Although the M4 convertible is roofless, it sure is ruthless. (See what I did there)? It has 317kW of power and 550Nm of torque. It might seem like a boulevard cruiser but it’s far from it. The M4 convertible has been designed for mountain passes, coastal drives and everything about it has been designed to thrill the driver and scare the passenger half to death.

But firstly, let me admire the looks of the car. Our test car arrived featuring a beautiful Smurf blue paint job; it’s actually known as Yas Marina blue. It sparkles in the sun and sure does make the car stand out even more than usual. The car was also fitted with carbon ceramic brakes, which, apart from being able to rip your face off when braking hard, it also has the callipers finished in gold paint to identify them as carbon ceramics. With the roof up, the rear-end of the car looks a bit odd; the boot is long and the rear window is not as slanted as on the coupé however, once the roof has been lowered though, a topless Smurf blue M4 with gold brake callipers, yes… I’m drooling again.

The car sits low and its nose is focused on the road, much like a shark focuses on a baby seal. Its rear-wheel arches are flared to house the big 20-inch Michelin rubber and from the attention that I got from onlookers, it is, without a doubt, a marvellous-looking specimen.

But do the looks come at a price? Well yes and no. For those out there who want a razor sharp, apex dominating car, then a convertible is not for you. It’s heavier than the coupé, which makes it slightly slower, by one-hundredths of a second or so and because of that added weight, the handling and driving characteristics are somewhat compromised. Don’t think the M4 convertible handles like a bowl of jelly - it doesn’t. In fact, you’d probably need the same tools that brain surgeons use to measure the difference between the convertible and the coupé. I found the M4 convertible to be extremely entertaining at times and isn’t that what counts?

Our test car was fitted with BMW’s M Driver Package which, amongst other things, increases the car’s top speed from 250km/h to 280km/h, for reasons we are unsure of; the previous M3 convertible, with its fantastic 4.0-litre V8, produced one of the best sounds in motoring. These new M cars from BMW have come under fire about sounds, but I quite like it. It’s aggressive and there’s a loud bark when changing gears.

All said and done, once you’ve had your fun and decide to act normal and dignified, you can just pop the car’s drive select function out of Sport Plus mode and back into Comfort Mode. Set the steering into comfort and the suspension - as well and the car - settles down; it becomes quiet, comfortable and normal. But, this is an M car and normal is not what this car was designed for.

After spending time with the M4 convertible I must say, I was pleasantly surprised by it. I envy people who can afford it however, if it were up to me, I’d opt for a coupé. Not because I care about apex-dominated handling, no, but because I found that with the roof up in the convertible it did rattle now and then on some bumpy roads and if you think about it, how often do you drive with the roof down… that one Saturday or Sunday? Sure when it’s down, the experience is great but a hardtop coupé is less fuss and slightly cheaper too, as the car that I was given came with a price tag of around R1.4 million with some added luxuries.

Article written by Justin Jacobs
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