Select Page

The Complete Guide to the First-Generation BMW M4

Aug 23, 2020

August 2013, during the BMW Group’s opening media reception in Pebble Beach, Munich, came the official launch of BMW’s engineering perfection – the BMW M4.

The M4’s exterior is a bolder transformation from the BMW 4 Series chassis to a performance-supercharged sports coupe. The build remains an agile and well-balanced low-profile, fitting the look of a power racer.

The First Generation of the BMW M4

The dawning of the brand-new BMW M4 generation officially marked a new beginning of the BMW luxury coupe era. The first production version of the BMW M4 came to the U.S. market in the summer of 2014 as the 2015 model, and it was very an instant hit. A number of aesthetic and performance updates were made to the new M4 Coupe in comparison to the outgoing BMW M3 Coupe.

Like the BMQ M3 Coupe, the M4 Coupe is equipped with the latest iDrive and navigation technologies. Comfort Access Keyless Entry and the Harman Kardon Surround Sound System are part of the BMW M4 specification. Additional minor exterior and interior upgrades are seen throughout the cabin such as updates to trims and lighting. Overall, the improvements are focused on performance and luxury.

The BMW M4’s New Engine S55

BMW M4 Coupe S55 Engine

At the heart of the BMW M4 is the new 3.0-liter M TwinPower Turbocharged, Inline 6-Cylinder engine (S55). It is an energy efficient upgrade from the M3 Coupe’s ferocious V8.  The front engine, rear-wheel drive pulls 425 HP at between 5500 to 7300 RPM and a 405 lb-ft torque between 1850 to 5500 RPM. This is an impressive improvement from the M3 Coupe’s 414 HP at 110 lb-ft torque.

Top speed at 159 mph, the BMW M4 goes from 0 to 60 mph in just around 4.1 seconds with the standard 6-Speed Manual Transmission. The M4 finishes the same race in merely 3.9 seconds when equipped the 7-Speed M Double-Clutch Transmission (DCT) with DriveLogic.

The BMW M4 Adaptive M Suspension

The Adaptive M suspension ($1,000 Performance Option) provides the BMW M4 with optimal traction control and road handling. The system adjusts the electronic dampers (Shock Absorber control) and reduces the jolt motions resulting from undesirable road conditions.

M Compound Brakes Versus the M Carbon Ceramic Brakes on the BMW M4

The M compound brakes with cobalt blue calibers came as standard brakes on the BMW M4 Coupe. The upgraded version is the M Carbon Ceramic Brakes glistening in the gold-tone paint.

The M Carbon Ceramic Brakes deliver better heat resistance, durability, and are lighter in weight compared to the M compound brakes. They also come with a whopping ticket price of $8,150 dollars (a Performance Option). The 19-inch wheel upgrade (a $1,200 Performance Option) is also required for the brake system, which racks up the bill to $9,350.

According to Mr. Klaus Dullinger, the mastermind behind the innovative engineering of the brake systems for BMW, the investment not only buys you greater performance, but the brakes themselves may last as long as the lifetime of your car depending on driving habits.

Is it worth the money? Refer to our complete guide to the M Compound Brakes and M Carbon Ceramic Brakes on the BMW M4.

The BMW M4 Engine Sound

There were speculations from the BMW fans regarding the Active Sound in the new generations of the M Models. “Artificial” engine sound through the stereo speaker was the controversy. BMW has clarified that the sound is the true amplification of the actual induction sound produced by the engine.

Carston Pries, Head of Product Management M Automobiles and BMW Individual, has stated during the international debut of the new BMW M4, “The engine note in the cabin is largely pure. The electronic noise is minimized and only makes up 2% to 3% of the sound you hear.”

Love it or hate it, what do you think?

The BMW M4 Engine Sound Test

To conduct our own research on this subject, we’ve made a special trip to the dealership and fired up a brand new M4 in the quiet showroom. Without the speaker on and with the car door closed, the cabin is a tightly sealed capsule with remarkable sound insulation. Brownie points for the excellent noise control barrier.

With the speaker on, we can hear the engine sound audibly better. Then to compare, we stepped outside the car (with the hood popped) and let the full blast of the roaring engine fill our eardrums…

The result of our assessment? Although not as genuine as the outgoing E92 M3 Coupe’s V8 (it’s really not a fair comparison), it still sounds like a sexy BMW M. We like it, artificial or not.

The BMW M4’s Dynamic Driving Modes

The Adaptive M Suspension in the M4 enables electronic damper control in three modes:


The steering feels heaviest on SPORTS PLUS (+) mode to keep the drive steady when you are on the tracks or just practicing your new drift moves. COMFORT mode has just the right balance which emulates the drive of a standard BMW 4 Series with boosted performance. This is perfect for handling daily commutes.

The BMW M4 7-Speed Double Clutch Transmission

In the BMW M4, the 7-Speed Double Clutch Transmission works wonders on both manual and automatic gear. When the gear is set in auto, it is perfect for the dry and relatively flat California roads. If you are looking for a speed challenge, the paddle shifters on the steering wheel can be used to quickly switch over to manual gear. The M4 grips corners tightly and keeps well to the ground under fair weather conditions.


It is not exactly Prius equivalent (nor is this a fair association), but comparing to the former M3 coupe’s standard 14 city /20 highway, the BMW M4 has managed to gain more mpg.

The M4 can handle up to 17 city/ 26 highway in manual and 17 city/ 24 highway in automatic according to EPA estimates. For a 425 HP, inline 6-cylinder, it is not too shabby. Consider gas money as opportunity cost for outstanding performance.

The First-Generation BMW M4 Coupe Versus the Last-Generation M3 Coupe

The first-generation BMW M4 Coupe’s athletic physique measures at 183.9 inches of length (2.1 inches longer than M3 E92 Coupe), 73.6 inches of width (1.9 inches wider than M3 E92 Coupe), and 54.4 inches of height (1.2 inches shorter than M3 E92 Coupe).

The wheelbase of the BMW M4 was enlarged to 110.7 inches from the former fourth generation E92 M3 Coupe’s 108.7 inches. It bears a lower and a more prominent stance. It came with Lightweight alloy wheels in the standard 18-inch V-Spoke. The upgrade option is available to a 19-inch double spoke set ($1,200 Performance Option).

The new M4 also received an impressive power upgrade. It is rated at 11 more horsepower and 295 more lb-ft of torque than the outgoing M3 E92 Coupe.

Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic (CFRP) roof flowed into the rising curve of the integrated rear spoiler on the CFRP trunk lid. Redesigned sleek shadow line exterior trim well complimented the fierce facade of the M4 Coupe.

New Paint Choices offered for the BMW M4

BMW M4 Coupe Paint Colors

Paint choice wise, BMW unleashed daring new selections. From the Austin Yellow featured in the 2014 Detroit Auto Show to the eye-popping Yas Marina Blue and Sakhir Orange, the fresh color pallets embody the M4’s distinctive characters. Okay, maybe the yellow was a bit of an over-the-top shade, but you can always change the paint, right?

Except for the standard Alpine White, all metallic paints for the M4 start off at $550. If you want something more extraordinary, BMW Individual paint choices start around $1,950 a pop. If that is not enough to satiate your individualism, more color options are available selectively in “Frozen” or matte finishes as of spring 2015 through BMW. Looking pretty does come with a pretty big price tag.

Aerodynamic Features on the New BMW M4

The iconic bulge on the front hood was a feature that the predecessor M3 E92 was well known for. On the new BMW M4, the bulge has evolved from the “open air vent” concept to a single, distinctive power dome.

A rework of the following aerodynamic features provides enhanced airflow, sufficient engine cooling, and greater energy efficiency:

  • Front Apron: A piece of inner fender which stretches from the front bumper to the doors
  • Carbon Fiber Splitter: A flat piece of modification usually affixed to the bottom of the front bumper
  • Air Intakes: Vents for the engine
  • Air Curtain: Vertical air vents on the side of the Air Intakes


The Full Adaptive LED Headlights on the BMW M4

Full Adaptive LED Headlights with Automatic High Beam ($1,900 Lighting Package) is an energy efficient upgrade option for the manufacture original Xenon headlights. Both options well compliment the Corona Headlight Rings on the M4 known as the infamous “Angel Eyes”.

The “Wing” Auto Dimming Side View Mirrors in the BMW M4

The power adjustable, auto dimming side view mirrors in its distinguishable cut-out wing shapes is present on the new BMW M4. The side mirrors’ aerodynamic contour, along with the body curves, reduces drag and pushes air down to the side of the car and towards the rear during your (hopefully legal) high-speed pursuits.

Aesthetic and Functional Modifications on the BMW M4

A few aesthetic and functional modifications in the BMW M4 give the coupe an upgraded look. First, there is the added M4 emblem on the black kidney grilles. The M side gill is redesigned to serve performance purposes as well as to please the eyes. Then, there is the optimized aerodynamics of the Air Breather and the Air Curtain. This assemblage works effectively to ventilate the wheel arches and to deliver improved airflow and cooling.

Redesigned Quad Exhaust in the BMW M4

The back of the BMW M4 can be quite a showstopper. It is a perfect platform to show off this well-engineered sports car. Steel rear fender and quad exhaust with chrome plated exhaust tips give away to the M4’s sporty persona.

New Taillight Design in the BMW M4

The new flat taillight design compliments the defined shape of BMW M4’s rear view.

According to Thomas Hausmann, Head of Light Systems Development and Functionality, a new lighting technology will come to form in the near future – the Organic Light-Emitting Diodes (OLED) which was originally featured in the M4 Concept Iconic Lights during the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) Las Vegas, Nevada.

The material used in the OLED was similar to what is being used in the recent year’s televisions.

Advantages of the OLED Taillights:

  • A longer lifespan
  • Less invasive to the vehicle’s bodywork
  • Much more energy efficient than traditional taillights


The First-Generation BMW M4 Convertible

If you can envision yourself cruising down the Golden Coast Highway in California sunset with the wind in the hair and the engine sound in your ears, you have probably contemplated about going topless – for the car of course.

The BMW M4 Convertible has the same great M4 figure with a power folding retractable hardtop that retrieves into the trunk in just around 20 seconds. The M4 Convertible is also fitted with Convertible Wind Detector and the integrated window defroster.

The Upgraded Interior Space in the First-Generation BMW M4

Sitting in the BMW M4, our first impression is the comfort of a more spacious cabin. The front driver and passenger space were widened while the roof is slightly lowered compared to the last-generation M3 Coupe.

Having the body of a two-door saloon, there is still reasonable leg room for the two back seats equipped with Active Knee Protections. They make just enough space for extra guests, shopping bags, or your pet pal.

Interior Trim Options in the BMW M4

The BMW M4 is certainly performance-focused in all its design aspects. Our personal favorite Carbon Fiber Interior Trims with Pearl Gloss Chrome Accent is included in the MSRP (free is always welcomed). If you are into fancy, BMW Individual trim such as the Piano Finish Black tickets around $1,080.

Of course, the good old signature M tri-colored stitching on the leather-wrapped steering wheel comes with a default design and is always our favorite.

Upholstery Options in the BMW M4

BMW M4 Coupe Interior Upholstery

Speaking of leather, my friends, the beautiful Full Merino Leathered upholstery will add $3,500 to your invoice. You can, of course, go for the more economic Extended Marino Leather which still looks the part at a much affordable price of $950. If leather is not your thing, the Anthracite Carbon Structure Cloth/Leather combination that comes with the manufacture base model is easy to maintain and does not cost extra.

New Lighting Options in the BMW M4

We love the new M logo backlit concept on the front seats’ backrest. They add a sportier look and feel to the interior space of the M4.

There are more things you can do to spruce up your interior (besides your bling-bling or Hello Kitty). For instance, the interior LED ambient lights in “Classic” (orange) or “Sport” (white) can set you in the mood for the road ahead.

The New BMW M4 Cockpit

BMW M4 Coupe Interior Cockpit

Having the ergonomics and the utilitarianism without sacrificing aesthetics is always a big plus in user experience. According to a recent study conducted by the Harvard Health Watch, the average Americans spend about 101 minutes a day driving. So, it is important for your car’s interior space to be as enjoyable as possible.

The BMW M4 driver’s space can be customized to your liking. The M manual adjustable steering wheel comes with audio, wireless phone, and dynamic cruise control. The three-stage heated, 10-way power M-Sport bucket seat is equipped with the 4-way lumbar support and power-adjustable side bolsters. It also includes two memory settings for seat positions and for the outside mirrors.

Standard amenities in the M4 cockpit also include Auto Climate Control with dual temperature and air distribution controls. The controls provide individualized temperature settings for the driver and the front passenger.

In addition, four 12-V power outlets are individually located in the center and rear console, the glove compartment, and even in the trunk. That is plenty of plugs for all of your gadgets.

Harman Kardon Surround Sound System in the BMW M4

The Harman Kardon Surround Sound System was previously an $875 Entertainment Option in the first-year M4 model. In the new BMW M4, it becomes a standard feature. The Harman Kardon system delivers exceptional sound qualities which we consider to be an essential part of an enjoyable journey.

The Updated iDrive and Instrument Panel in the BMW M4

BMW has kept up with technology in the functionality department. The M4 is fully equipped with the latest and greatest iDrive, the updated Instrument Panel with extended settings, and the Navigation System Professional.

The Latest iDrive Control in the BMW M4

The iDrive control is a round button located near the shift stick in the M4. The iDrive allows the driver to select M setting options. There are now two configurable M buttons available – the “M1” and “M2” memory functions. Both can be accessed easily from the steering wheel, and both buttons allow you to save two sets of preferences for all eight of the programmable settings available within the iDrive.

The Updated Instrument Panel

Instrument Panel in the BMW M4 is the dashboard located directly in front of the driver. It displays information such as the trip calculator, mph, and gas consumption. The instrument panel has been upgraded to display newly added content such the outside temperature with freezing temperature warning.

The New Navigation System Professional in the BMW M4

The updated BMW Navigation System Professional is located within the center console of the M4. It is the center “dashboard” that contains the GPS and all the essential buttons. It features a high-resolution, 8.8-inch widescreen display containing multimedia, the updated 3D map navigation with voice command, and various vehicle setting switches with expanded check controls.

The New Head-Up Display in the BMW M4

Our favorite new function in the BMW M4 is the Head-up Display. It is part of the fee-based Executive Package. The Head-up Display is a display projected onto the driver’s front windshield exhibiting information such as speed, directional arrows for navigation, as well as selective warnings and Check Control information. Safety is improved with this function. However, the display will disappear if the driver is wearing polarized sunglasses.

Generous Cargo Space in the BMW M4

Trunk space is generous in the BMW M4 Coupe. A 445-liter capacity is enough to fit a few bags for a long weekend getaway. If you’ve opted for the M4 Convertible, the trunk space is reduced to 370-liter with the rooftop up, leaving only 220-liters after hardtop retrieves into the trunk space.

Added Safety and Visibility Measurements in the BMW M4

Going above and beyond in visibility and safety, BMW provides optional Side and Top View Cameras (a $750 Safety Option) for a complete 360-degree view around your M4. In addition, Park Assist (a $500 Convenience Option) helps with parking by displaying visual guides and controls the steering while the driver handles the accelerator and brakes.

For even more enhanced driving safety measurements, BMW provides the option of Drive Assist Plus ($1,900 optional Package).

Drive Assist Plus includes Frontal Collision Control, City Collision Mitigation, Pedestrian Protection (instrument panel displays warning sign with audible system warnings for pedestrians), and lane-departure warning (steering wheel vibrates to warns drivers when lane change happens at approximately 40 mph without signaling). Blind Spot Detection, Side and Top View Cameras and Speed Limit Info are also part of the package.

Side Story: Cup Holder Fiasco in the BMW M3 Coupe

On a side note, we would like to give a big standing ovulation for the engineers that redesigned the cup holders on the new BMW M3 and the M4.

The BMW M3 E92 Coupe had cup holders tucked away neatly into the front passenger seat’s dash space right above the glove compartment. Personally speaking, it was quite an inconvenience pushing these things in and out of its hidden spaces.

It was not particularly exciting either when you discover cup holder malfunctioning after you bought a 16-oz. drink while trying to combat the traffic. Of course, BMW dealership took care of it right away, and being outside of the maintenance plan, the bill came out to be $150 for fixing that piece of plastic.

This is a good reminder to us that the extended maintenance plan is probably worth the money when it comes to the pricier BMW M models.