2017 BMW M4 Competition Pack Convertible Review

Driven: the BMW M4 Competition Pack Convertible

By Tim Kendall | 26th May 2017

Vital Statistics

  • Model: M4 Competition Pack Convertible
  • Engine: 3.0 6-cyl twin-turbo
  • Transmission: six-speed manual
  • Price: £64,660 OTR (base price)
  • 0-60: 4.5 secs
  • Top Speed: 155 mph (limited)
  • Economy: 31 mpg combined
  • Options fitted to test car:
    N/A

Drop-top M-cars have never been aimed at the purists, but since the first generation E30 M3, there’s been a roofless version of BMW’s best-selling M to tempt those who prefer a breeze-coiffed barnet. DrivingTalk has driven the latest iteration of the breed – an M4 Convertible equipped with the Competition Pack.

What is it?

Introduced last year to address some of the criticisms about iffy on-the-limit handling, the Competition Pack cars get a thorough chassis re-work with new springs, dampers and anti-roll bars. They’ve also given it more power (444bhp vs the standard 425bhp). In fairness, the twin-turbo 3.0-litre six never wanted for grunt. Until Mercedes, as is its wont, upped the ante with the C63. Torque is unchanged at 406lb ft – which means the stability control, Active M Differential and your local tyre fitter still have their work cut out.

BMW M4 Competition Pack Convertible

More power, didn’t really need it.

Anything else?

The test car was equipped with a manual gearbox – giving it unicorn status amongst other roofless M4s, the vast majority of which will be specced with the trendier (optional) seven-speed dual clutch transmission. Also standard fit is an M Sports exhaust system, which BMW hopes will address criticism of the standard car’s underwhelming, synthetically enhanced tune.

BMW M4 Competition Pack Convertible

M Sports exhaust gives CP a fruitier note

 

Is it any good?

The M4 Competition Pack definitely leaves an impression. Initially one of relentless, borderline violent mid-range punch. I say mid-range, but with peak torque arriving at a lowly 1850 rpm, the power lurks malevolently under your right foot from tickover, like a shark waiting in the shallows.

When you arrive at a corner, as you will do quickly in an M4, the pointy, urgent front end comes into play. There’s zero understeer and lots of grip from the sticky 265 section Michelin Pilot Super Sports. Steering ? Quite light but you can place it with confidence and change your line easily. Meanwhile, the much maligned rear axle follows obediently and unless you poke this car with a stick or feed the power in clumsily, it doesn’t feel like the twitchy handful which some reported the non-CP car to be.

BMW M4 Competition Pack Convertible

There aren’t many downsides here, which is no surprise from an M-division job. That said, I did have an issue trying to find a comfortable place to stick my size 11s – the foot rest seems to interfere a bit with footwell space. I came to the conclusion that a three-pedal set up isn’t the optimal M4 configuration for the larger loafered chap. The pricier dual-clutch option puts another nail in the coffin of the old-school manual ‘box.

It also has to be said that on the 20-inch rims which Competition Pack M4s come with, the ride does suffer over broken surfaces, although it’s far from jarring.

That combination of monster grunt and a manual shift is however, quite intoxicating – it reminded me of the car I arrived in – an E39 M5. Stellar torque and three pedals makes for a curious but appealing combination of involvement and laziness. You can leave it in fourth and still hammer out of an apex, or stir that stick and take it by the scruff; your choice; but it’s nice to have that choice. The fact that I climbed back into my M5 at the end of the day and it felt a little asthmatic is testament to the onward march of horsepower in this sector – 400bhp should feel quick, but against the M4 CP it really feels its age. Quelle surprise, I guess.

BMW M4 Competition Pack Convertible

M4 Competition Pack gets spokey 20″ wheels wrapped in Michelin 265 section rubber

 

BMW M4 Competition Pack Convertible

2017 BMW M4 Competition Pack Convertible Review

  • Performance: 9/10
  • Ride & Handling: 8/10
  • Economy: 6/10
  • Equipment: 7/10
  • Want one factor: 8/10

The Verdict

Should you buy one? Most definitely. Ignoring any hairdresser/street pharmacist/regional salesman of the year jibes that might come your way, this is a devastatingly effective performance car. However if you don’t crave attention, or you singe easily when that yellow ball in the sky comes out, then choose the coupé – or cooler still, the saloon (yes, technically an M3).

Summary

  • Breathtaking punch, finessed handling
  • The ride suffers....

By Tim Kendall
26th May 2017

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