Unlike the BMW M3, which just arrived in sixth-generation (G80) form, the BMW M4 comes from a family tree that goes all the way back to…2014. The first-generation F82 M4 arrived only six years ago, and while it has made a name for itself in the premium luxury coupe segment, it was evident that the F82 needed to give way to its successor. Enter the all-new, second-generation BMW M4 (G82). The hype surrounding the 2021 M4 G82 didn’t come without any trepidation, thanks in large part to the polarizing kidney grille that it now shares with a lot of Bimmer’s more recent models. But don’t get bogged down by that detail because the G82 M4 has plenty to offer. It comes in two forms like its predecessor — base and Competition — and it’s available with features and options (all-wheel-drive on the M4 Competition) that should make the next-gen coupe a strong challenger in its segment for years to come.

  • 2021 BMW M4 Coupe
  • Year:
    2021
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-6
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    473
  • Torque @ RPM:
    479
  • Displacement:
    3.0 L
  • 0-60 time:
    4.1 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    155 mph
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • size:
  • Purpose:
  • body style:

Exterior

  • New kidney grille is hit or miss
  • New headlights
  • Aggressive bumpers
  • Flared fenders
  • M badges
  • Decklid spoiler
  • New taillights
  • Longer, wider, and taller than the predecessor
  • Low stance
  • Aggressive aerodynamic details
  • Different wheel sizes available
left right

After a long wait, the 2021 BMW M4 has arrived. It’s not a great shock that the M4’s arrival has been met with reactions ranging the full emotional spectrum. These reactions are understandable in the context of what BMW’s design team did to the all-new M4. Just like the 2021 BMW M3, the 2021 BMW M4 is a design evolution of the previous model, none more prominent — for better or worse — than the new kidney grille that BMW seems hell-bent on making a staple across its entire lineup.

The 2021 BMW M4 isn’t absolved from receiving the infamous grille design, and as expected, it’s one of the first things you’ll notice when you set your eyes on the new performance coupe. It’s jarring to see how big the whole grille is — it stretches from the tip of the nose of the front splitter — but, surprisingly enough, the grille design doesn’t look as abhorrent as we thought it would. There are a few reasons for that, including another new design trait of the new M4. Fix your gaze on the sports coupe’s hood and you’ll notice a pair of raised sections that connect to one of the corners of the kidney grilles. It’s a subtle design cue, but it makes the grille look less prominent in the eyes. It also helps that these bulges come with cooling vents that have form and function purposes.

2021 BMW M4 Coupe Exterior
- image 935454

The new M4 also features larger but slimmer headlamps that are angled in such a way that they look like the eyes of someone who’s prepared to eat your lunch. LEDs come standard on the M4, as do the U-shaped fiber-optic daytime running lights. There is an option to go for Laserlight headlamps, but that’s going to cost you extra when it’s invoicing time. The front bumper down below comes with a lot of room for air to flow into the engine, but the sides are also noteworthy for the presence of more lights and aggressive cuts in the design of the whole panel.

Then there’s the grille. Just like the grille on the M3, the M4’s grille is completely frameless. That’s good news since frames or any sort of outline serve to highlight the item in question. These kidney grilles don’t need more than attention than they already receive so going frameless was a good stroke on BMW’s part.

left right

As new and as striking as the front section of the 2021 M4 is, the side section is where there’s a bit of design familiarity, particularly the swooping profile that has become a hallmark for BMW’s M models. It is worth noting that the 2021 M4 is a lot bigger than its predecessor. It’s a little more than five inches longer than the 2020 M4. It’s also 0.7 inches wider, 0.4 inches taller, and has a longer wheelbase by almost two full inches.

BMW M4 - 2021 vs 2020 model year - exterior dimensions
Model 2020 BMW M4 2021 BMW M4
Length 183.9 inches 189.1 inches
Width 74 inches 74.7 inches
Height 54.4 inches 54.8 inches
Wheelbase 110.7 inches 112.5 inches
2021 BMW M4 Coupe Exterior
- image 935466

The character lines and the smooth curves are familiar designs that are most welcome on the new M4. The shoulder line continues to exude an aura of masculinity, rising from the top of the front wheel arch and extending all the way to the rear haunches. The body lines below are less pronounced, but they should also add depth to the overall look of the new M4 Coupe. It’s nice to know that even if BMW threw caution into the wind with the model’s front section, the side profile looks very M4-like. To an extent, you can say the same thing about the rear section, which looks more like the all-new 4 Series.

left right

The trunk lid, slim taillights, and the entire fascia are all similar to its standard counterpart. There are M-specific elements that are easy to spot, too. The small spoiler sitting atop the trunk lid comes standard on the M4, as do the vertical vents on opposite ends of the bumper and the rather larger-than-expected diffuser with the quad tailpipes. The rest of the rear section looks about as clean as you’d expect from the BMW M4. There are no excessive design bits that ruin the overall look of the new M4’s posterior.

Color choices come aplenty for the new 2021 BMW M4. Some new additions to the catalog include Sao Paulo Yellow (non-metallic), Isle of Man Green (new), and Toronto Red (new). Some old favorites like Alpine White, Sapphire Black, Skyscraper Grey, Portico Blue, and Brooklyn Grey are also available. If none of these colors suit you and your 2021 M4, BMW Individual can open its vault and present you with a staggering array of available paintworks ranging from Frozen White, Frozen Brilliant White, Frozen orange, Dravit Grey, Tanzanite Blue II, and a lot more.

Like most of BMW’s models, BMW Individual plays a huge role in elevating the personalization of each M4 model that comes out of its factory. Customers can choose from a wide range of options that are readily available through BMW Individual. Specific body elements, for example, can either be color-coordinated depending on the coupe’s exterior paint finish or simply finished in black. The roof, which is made from carbon-reinforced plastic as standard, can be changed to steel provided you’re fine with the added weight that it comes with.

Interior

  • 10.25-inch infotainment display
  • 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster
  • New M Steering wheel design
  • Clean and laid out center stack
  • Merino leather comes standard
  • Optional carbon seats
  • Premium materials throughout
  • Suite of driver assistance features
2021 BMW M4 Competition Interior
- image 935529

To the surprise of no one, the 2021 BMW M4’s interior matches the interior of the 4 Series. BMW held back on making any dramatic changes, and that’s a good thing. The interior of the 4 Series is mighty fine on its own and Bimmer played it smart by sticking to the same design formula.

The two-tier dashboard is present in the M4’s interior. A 10.25-inch infotainment display dominates the center stack space. The A/C vents and a smattering of controls are located just below, cramped in a space that isn’t pleasing to the eyes. The front compartment in the center stack is bigger than we anticipated and the control panel — just like in the M3 — is home to even more buttons, knobs, and switches. Some folks might appreciate having all these controls in one location, but the downside to that functionality is that they look too cluttered. I suppose you’ll have to make your peace with that.

2021 BMW M4 Competition Interior
- image 935530

Over on the driver’s side sits a sports steering wheel that comes with M-specific details. Carbon fiber trim is present, though that doesn’t come standard on the M4. I f you don’t want to avail of that option, you can opt for the standard look. It doesn’t shout “BMW M4!” the way carbon fiber trim does, but at least the red accents for the M buttons on the steering wheel and the M logo sitting at the bottom of the wheel will serve as not-so-subtle reminders that you’re driving an M4.

Now, let’s talk about the seats. Sports seats come standard and they’re dressed in fine Merino leather. The improved bolstering should also translate to improved lateral support. That’s important for those who prefer driving their M4s hard. If you’re not down with just the black leather upholstery, you can score some colorful accents like Kyalami Orange and Yas Marina Blue with Yellow.

2021 BMW M4 Competition Interior
- image 935500

Anthracite and Silverstone accents are also available if you prefer subtler accents. The real treat with those seats, at least if you’re willing to spend a little bit more, is the optional electrically powered M Carbon bucket seats that are 21 pounds lighter than the standard seats. These seats are made from carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) and come with a fixed headrest, an illuminated M4 logo, and numerous cutouts on the side bolsters and setbacks. Put on your thinking hats and imagine the many ways you can dress up these M Carbon bucket seats. The combinations are seemingly endless.

2021 BMW M4 Competition Interior
- image 935496

On the tech side of things, the new M4 comes equipped with BMW’s Live Cockpit Professional infotainment system. The automaker’s new Intelligent Personal Assistant is one of a suite of tech features that will be available to the performance coupe. Those who are familiar with Mercedes’ MBUX system will recognize the similarities that Bimmer’s tech provides. Not only does it bring next-level connectivity, but, more importantly, it puts BMW on even standing with its fiercest rival in this department.

Creature comforts are likewise available, some available as standard features while others at added costs. The three-zone automatic climate control system comes standard, as does LED ambient lighting, and a hi-fi audio system. If the latter isn’t sophisticated enough, a Harman Kardon audio system with 16 speakers and 464 watts can be had at an added cost.

2021 BMW M4 Drivetrain and Performance

  • New S58 3.0-liter twin-turbo inline-six engine
  • Engine produces up to 503 horsepower in Competition form
  • Up to 479 pound-feet of torque in Competition form
  • Six-Speed Manual on the base M4; Eight-Speed Automatic on the M4 Competition
  • Optional AWD on the M4 Competition
  • New platform underneath
  • Improved suspension and brakes
2021 BMW M4 Competition Drivetrain
- image 935509

The all-new BMW M4 deserves an equally new engine. Fortunately, BMW has one in the form of the recently introduced 3.0-liter twin-turbo inline-six S58 engine. The engine was introduced in 2019 in the M and M Competition versions of the X3 and X4 crossovers. Now, the M4 — and M3 — receive the same engine. Output on the M4’s inline-six engine reaches 473 horsepower, though that could be bumped up to 503 ponies if you opt for the Competition spec. The M4 redlines at 6,250 rpm while peak torque hits at 406 pound-feet of torque from 26,50 rpm to 6,130 rpm on the standard model. The torque figure shoots up to 479 pound-feet from 2,750 to 5,500 rpm in the M4 Competition.

2021 BMW M4 Coupe Exterior
- image 935452

A six-speed manual transmission counts as the only transmission available on the standard M4, making it the only model in its segment with a manual gearbox. If you are looking for the eight-speed automatic, you can score that if you opt for the M4 Competition. Purists should be doing cartwheels knowing that driving enjoyment will rest on their skills and prowess. The manual gearbox also comes with the benefit of being 50 pounds lighter than the automatic and offering better weight distribution in the process.

The base M4’s six-speed manual sends power to the two rear wheels and it’s the same case with the M4 Competition’s eight-speed automatic. The latter does come with a rear-biased all-wheel-drive system that will eventually become available as an option.

Is the BMW M4 more powerful than its predecessor?

2021 BMW M4 Coupe Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 935446

Yes, it is. The 2021 BMW M4’s new S58 engine provides a huge improvement over the S55 engine, at least as far as power is concerned. With the old S55 unit churning out 425 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque, you don’t need an advanced degree in mathematics to know that output has increased by 48 horsepower and 67 pound-feet of torque over the outgoing model.

Compared to other special trims from the previous-generation M4, the new M4’s output of 473 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque is 29 horsepower more than the old M4 competition and 20 horsepower more than the special edition M4 CS that BMW released in 2017. On the other hand, the new M4’s output is fewer by 20 horsepower compared to the M4 GTS and the limited-run M4 DTM Champion Edition that was launched in 2014.

2021 BMW M4 Coupe Exterior
- image 935463

Just like the M3, the new M4 also gets a higher-spec model in the form of the M4 Competition. The latter uses the same twin-turbo S58 engine, but output has been raised even further at 503 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque. That’s 59 horsepower and 36 pound-feet of torque more than the outgoing M4 Competition.

How fast is the 2021 BMW M4

2021 BMW M4 Coupe Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 935494

Oddly enough, the gains in power attributed to the use of the twin-turbo S58 engine doesn’t translate to the coupe’s performance times. Even with the extra horses, the 2021 M4 can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 4.1 seconds. That’s the same time it takes the outgoing M4 to cover 60 mph from a dead stop. The new M4 Competition is no different. Bimmer claims a 3.8-second, 0-to-60-mph time, which is also identical to the performance time of the outgoing M4 Competition.

2021 BMW M4 Coupe Exterior
- image 935466

Weird as that is, there might be some method to BMW’s madness, particularly when it comes to room for improvement in performance times. So while Bimmer claims these performance times as “identical,” I don’t expect those claims to hold up for a long time.

Top speed, on the other hand, should remain where it’s always been. The new M4 peaks at an electronically limited 155 mph but that figure could be bumped up to 180 mph if you avail the M Driver’s Package.

Is the BMW M4 more powerful than its rivals?

2021 BMW M4 Coupe Exterior
- image 935450

First, we have to understand who those rivals are. The M3, for example, counts the Mercedes-AMG C 63 as its biggest foil. The coupe version of the same high-powered AMG model counts as a serious rival to the new M4. It’s powered by a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 engine that produces 469 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque. The new M4 has a 10-horsepower advantage over the AMG C 63 Coupe, but the latter offers way more torque than its cross-town rival.

The Lexus RC F is another noteworthy M4 rival. Like its German counterpart, the RC F looks and performs like a proper performance car. It comes with a bigger 5.0-liter V-8 engine that produces 467 horsepower and 389 pound-feet of torque. The new M4 Competition holds the edge between the two in that department.

Chassis and Brakes

2021 BMW M4 Competition Exterior
- image 935514

When you’re working with this much power in a car, you’re going to need the car to feature the kind of chassis and suspension that can handle what its engine is giving out. BMW knew that all too well so it developed a completely re-engineered chassis for the M4 — and M3 — that not only boasted an ideal 50:50 weight distribution, but also improved body stiffness, increased torsional rigidity, and impressive all-around stability.

Not content with all that, BMW also developed tech-specific components that would improve the M4’s handling. That’s why the sports coupe is fitted with a fully Adaptive M suspension and a high-performance M-specific braking system that gives the driver complete control over the car he’s driving without worrying about what outside elements do to the M4. It helps, too, that the improved chassis is complemented by an M Servotronic steering system that combines the qualities of the electric power steering that’s normally used in non-M BMWs with a variable steering ratio. What this does is improve the amount of steering torque needed to turn the wheel, calculated to the extent that the sports coupe’s drivability becomes second-to-none, specifically when it comes to turning in sharp corners and parking at low speeds.

2021 BMW M4 Coupe Exterior
- image 935437

All of it is next-level German engineering, something that BMW is famously known for. This kind of ingenuity even extends to the coupe’s braking system. Just like the new M3, the just-as-new BMW M4 comes with standard M Compound brakes with a heat- and fade-resistant architecture. Six-piston caliper brakes with discs measuring almost 16 inches in the front and 15 inches in the back provide tremendous stopping power. The calipers come in good metallic and bear the M logo, but you can have the blue discs replaced with either red or black.

How much is the 2021 BMW M4?

2021 BMW M4 Coupe Exterior
- image 935484

The base BMW M4 starts at $72,795 and the M4 Competition starts at $75,695. These prices don’t include the $995 destination tax so you’ll have to account for that, too. Opt for the AWD option on the BMW M4 Competition, and expect to add another $2,000 or more on your bill. The prices represent an increase of around $3,000 to $4,000 compared to the 2020 BMW M4. That’s not a big increase in price relative to what you’re getting with the next-generation 2021 BMW M4. Consider that a good account of a good deal.

When is the 2021 BMW M4 Coming to Dealerships?

2021 BMW M4 Coupe Exterior
- image 935487

Just like the BMW M3, BMW expects deliveries of the 2021 M4 to begin sometime around March 2021. The all-wheel-drive M4 Competition will be launched at a later date, though it’s unlikely that its launch date extends past the summer of 2021.

Is the 2021 BMW M4 Better than the 2020 Mercedes-AMG C 63 Coupe?

2019 Mercedes-AMG C 63 Coupe
- image 776192

The arrival of the 2021 BMW M4 is great news for everyone, albeit with a few exceptions. Mercedes-AMG isn’t expected to introduce the next-generation C63 until 2021. That gives BMW at least a few months to a full year to leverage the new M4 against what amounts to a walking duck 2020 AMG C63. Fortunately, and status notwithstanding, the coupe version of the 2020 AMG C63 is still one of the finest compact luxury coupes in the market. It’s still powered by a noteworthy 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 engine — the 2021 model is expected to ditch the V-8 for something that Al Gore would (probably) be more in favor of — that produces 469 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque. Opt for the more potent AMG C63 S and you’re looking at an output from the same V-8 that adds up to 503 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. The latter makes for an intriguing rival to the new M4 Competition, though, if we’re being honest, the 2020 Mercedes-AMG C63 Coupe, in both its forms, is more of a stand-in against the new M4, at least until the next-generation model arrives. Only then can we have a proper rumble between these two German titans. For now, though, the 2020 AMG C63 still holds court with pricing starting a tick under $70,000.

Read our full review on the 2020 Mercedes-AMG C 63 Coupe

Is the 2021 BMW M4 Better than the Lexus RCF?

2015 Lexus RC F High Resolution Exterior
- image 567556

Give Lexus a lot of credit. There once was a time when a BMW M model would wipe the road with the face of anything Lexus had to offer as a competitor, at least if it had one in the first place. But Toyota’s premium brand has come a long way; since 2014, Lexus has rolled out the RC F as its representative in the compact luxury coupe segment, but, more importantly, as a foil to the German establishment, BMW M4 included. Now, I wouldn’t go so far as to say that it’s outright better than the 2021 M4, but the RC F has made plenty of strides as a performance coupe. For instance, it’s powered by a 5.0-liter V-8 engine that produces 467 horsepower and 389 pound-feet of torque. It comes with a lot of the same modern tech features as other Lexus models. Most importantly, though, the RC F was developed to be a performance car, and it has lived up to that billing. It still has a few bits to go to be on equal footing with an all-new model like the 2021 BMW M4, but give Lexus time and we that day might arrive sooner than later. For now, though, the M4 still holds court against the RC F.

Read our full review on the Lexus RCF

Final Thoughts

2021 BMW M4 Coupe Exterior
- image 935465

The 2021 M3 is a significant evolution for the nameplate. It finally comes in two flavors with a more powerful version to take on the Mercedes-AMG C 63 S, and BMW has finally taken a more modern route by offering an all-wheel-drive system. The cool thing is that BMW isn’t forcing M3 customers to drive an all-wheel-drive model as Audi does with the RS4. It’s an option to consider, and if you add it, its rear-biased layout will still provide that desirable RWD feel most of the time. Another cool feature is that the M3 continues to offer a manual transmission. Sure, it’s on the less powerful model, but at least you have this choice, something you can’t dream of if you purchase an AMG C 63 or an RS4. Yes, the massive kidney grille is a bit controversial and might keep some customers away, but it also makes the M3 stand out from the usual M-badged pack.

  • Leave it
    • That kidney grille is polarizing
    • More expensive than current model
    • Next-gen Mercedes-AMG C63 Coupe is coming
Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert - kirby@topspeed.com
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read More
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