Ah yes, the fully-loaded Bimmer. The car that was once affordable turned almost completely unattainable. There are, of course, many levels to this equation. The top trim of the i8, for example, is a mere $11,000 above starting price, but considering that it takes $136,000 just to get in the door, it’s not really indicative of the overall trend.
To see the full power of the BMW options list, we must go a bit deeper into Munich’s catalog, off to a place that looks more conventional, traditional, and relatively affordable. An everyday model, if you will. Something like the new M4. This vehicle starts at $64,200, which is more than I can afford, but hey, someone is buying it. If you happen to be such an individual, be careful with that pen – check too many boxes, and you’re looking at a number quickly approaching six figures.
Thankfully, not all that money is necessarily put towards a concierge service and parking assist. The wiser consumer would instead opt for things like carbon-ceramic brakes, a steering wheel trimmed in Alcantara and leather, a titanium exhaust system, and carbon-fiber aerodynamic enhancements.
That’s the kind of options package that makes sense to me. You can keep the new floor mats and extra storage pockets. As is evident from this video, such extras are inconsequential when setting a personal fastest lap around an industrial park.
Click past the jump to read more about the BMW M4.
For decades, the M3 sports coupe was considered the yardstick by which all other performance vehicles were measured. When BMW unveiled the new 3 Series, it officially handed that responsibility to the new M4.
While the car looks solid, with the traditional Bimmer front fascia, low swagger, and beefed-up wheel arches, Munich designed the exterior to be as aerodynamically efficient as possible,while creating a good deal of downforce. Lift is reduced, while oodles of cool air swirl into the engine compartment and through the brakes.
Inside you’ll find plenty of M badging, not to mention highly bolstered front seats, paddle shifters mounted to the steering wheel, and a center console brimming with all the electronic doodads your checkbook can muster.
However, the most interesting aspect of this car is what’s making it go. Under that bulging hood, there lays a twin-turbo, 3.0-liter, inline-six engine churning out 425 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque at the rear wheels. Output is actually substantially higher than that of the outgoing, naturally aspirated V-8, especially in the realm of torque, which means the M4 can hit 60 mph in 3.9 seconds. That figure is obtained with the optional seven-speed, dual-clutch gearbox, but there’s also a six-speed manual for those who prefer a third pedal.
BMW didn’t stop at the engine bay when instilling the M4 with performance credentials. The suspension saw major revisions as well, with lightweight aluminum control arms, wheel carriers and axle subframes, all of which help shave precious unsprung pounds. The ball joints are now “play-free,” offering increased rigidity. The rear axle is attached directly to the rear subframe, without rubber bushings or grommets. Lightweight 19-inch wheels wrapped in high-performance Y-rated rubber provide grip.
It’s the kind of set-up that makes you want to go out and buy a pair of leather driving gloves.