In-depth reviews

BMW M4 Convertible review

“The soft-top BMW M4 Convertible isn’t as focused as the coupe, but open-air thrills and massive performance still appeal”

Carbuyer Rating

3.7 out of 5

Owners Rating
Be the first to review

Pros

  • Ferociously quick
  • Four usable seats
  • Impressive tech

Cons

  • Not quite as composed as coupe
  • Smaller boot
  • Not exactly good value

The BMW M4 Convertible aims to balance sports car performance with the ability to make the most of good weather. Depending on your point of view, that might make the M4 Convertible seem conflicted or the best of both worlds.

Of course, that applies to any performance coupe, although at the time of its launch the fabric-roofed M4 is curiously short of rivals. There’s no fast version of the Audi A5 Cabriolet any more, and the Mercedes-AMG C 63 Cabriolet is off sale too. A Porsche 911 Cabriolet might be the best alternative, but at that price you’d probably be looking at the BMW 8 Series Convertible instead.

The best sports cars 2023Top 10 best sports cars 2024

Convertibles tend to be heavier than the coupes they’re based on, because the chassis needs to be strengthened to compensate for the missing roof. The extra weight of the M4 Convertible is slightly noticeable compared to the coupe, both in terms of its straight-line acceleration and through the corners, but BMW has ensured the M4 Convertible still drives sweetly.

Given that the M4 Convertible tips the scales close to two tonnes, its incredible acceleration is all the more noteworthy. Four-wheel drive is standard (there’s no rear-wheel-drive version of the convertible) and helps marshal the power output to enable a 3.7-second 0-62mph time. Like the M4 Coupe and the BMW M3, the M4 Convertible uses a 3.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine with 503bhp.

You can share the performance with three mates, because the M4 Convertible is a usable four-seater. Headroom is tight in the back with the roof in place, as it is in the coupe, but peel the roof back (which can be done at up to 31mph) and there’s unlimited headroom to enjoy. The boot is smaller than the coupe but, even with the roof down, there’s as much space as some family hatchbacks.

The occupants in the front seats get the same level of equipment as in the M3 and M4, including a top-drawer infotainment system and heated front seats.

MPG, running costs & CO2

Heavier weight means the M4 Convertible is slightly less efficient than the coupe

In a time where every Porsche 911 Cabriolet has a six-figure price tag, it’s not all that surprising that the BMW M4 Convertible starts north of £85,000. Just don’t think about the fact that, even adjusted for inflation, that’s around £20,000 more than the starting price of the last-generation M4 Convertible.

BMW’s official figures suggest that you can extract 27.7mpg from the current car, which might be possible if most of your journeys are at a steady cruise. Use the car as it’s intended and you’ll probably struggle to reach 20mpg. Road tax (VED) costs over £500 for the first five times you renew it, and group 46 insurance means premiums will be high too.

You’ll also pay the ‘M tax’ when it comes to servicing and maintenance. A three-year service plan costs £45 per month for the M4, compared to £25 per month for a regular BMW 4 Series. Parts and consumables (such as tyres and brakes) will also cost more than they would on a less powerful car.

Engines, drive & performance

Grippy, fast and agile, but the M4 Coupe is even more so

The BMW M4 Convertible follows the same formula as the M3, M4 Coupe and BMW X3 M. A 3.0-litre turbocharged six-cylinder petrol engine provides 503bhp in M4 Competition spec (the only one offered to UK buyers), and that power is managed by an eight-speed automatic gearbox. While the M4 Coupe gets a choice of rear-wheel drive or BMW’s xDrive all-wheel-drive system, there’s no two-wheel-drive option on the convertible.

The four-wheel-drive system isn’t short of grip, but the extra weight that the convertible carries improves it further. In any of the lower gears, the M4 shoots forward with impressive urgency. You’re unlikely to care that the convertible is two tenths of a second slower than the coupe; the 3.7-second 0-62mph time is certainly fast enough.

With the ability to send varying amounts of power to the front and rear wheels, the xDrive system imbues the M4 Convertible with agility that you wouldn’t expect given its heft. There are numerous settings to play with to tune its handling and engine response just how you like it.

You’re better off with the M4 Coupe if you’ve got a lot of racetrack driving planned, because the extra weight (and some flex in the chassis) is noticeable on the Convertible. To some extent, that flex can be felt on the road too, and the ride is firmer to cope with the necessary strengthening. Drop it back into Comfort mode and it’s a little more forgiving.

Somewhat disappointingly, the engine noise isn’t much better or louder with the roof down. With a lot of the sound piped through the speakers, there’s no aural reason to buy the convertible over the coupe.

Interior & comfort

BMW’s luxurious interior gets added sporty bits in the M4 Convertible

The interior of the BMW M4 Convertible might not look all that different from the old model, and it might not have the theatricality of a Porsche 911, but that’s no bad thing. It is intuitive, with physical, easy-to-use buttons still featuring. This analogue approach to touchpoints is contrasted with a set of crisp digital dials and a great infotainment touchscreen.

Standard equipment includes a head-up display, a Harman Kardon sound system, wireless phone charging and electrically adjustable heated front seats. The M4 also gets carbon-fibre trim and red ‘M’ shortcut buttons for a sportier feel than a standard 4 Series. Despite its price, there are still a number of options to choose from; packs with added technology or comfort features are appealing, while there are M packs that add performance features or BMW’s snug carbon-fibre seats.

Practicality & boot space

The M4 Convertible is relatively practical for a drop-top

Buyers of the M4 Convertible may well have practicality somewhere on their priority list, because it’s more usable than a BMW Z4 or Porsche 911. There are four seats and you can get adults in the rear ones, although legroom is on the tight side, so back-seat occupants might not want to go on huge journeys. Headroom is also limited when you have the roof up, but then the coupe isn’t the last word in spaciousness either. At least with the convertible you can drop the roof.

Boasting 385 litres with the roof up, the M4 Convertible’s boot is a decent size. While it’s down on the coupe, it’s about the same size as what you get in the Volkswagen Golf R hatchback, albeit with a much smaller boot opening. Retract the roof and it takes up 85 litres, or about half the space that the old M4’s folding metal roof took up.

Reliability & safety

BMW’s customers could be a lot happier if our Driver Power survey is anything to go by

BMW was ranked 21st out of 29 brands in our 2021 Driver Power survey, with just under a fifth of owners reporting faults in the first year. Value for money was something that was criticised – that doesn’t really apply to the M4 – but it scored well for acceleration, handling and interior quality. In our 2022 survey, the BMW 3 Series, which shares a lot of parts with the M4, came in a respectable 33rd position in our list of the best 75 cars to own.

Being based on the 3 Series, the M4 can claim an excellent safety score; the 3 Series scored 97% for adult protection in Euro NCAP crash tests. A lot of standard safety features including lane assist and autonomous emergency braking are fitted, and you can add more on the options list.

Richard is a former editor of Carbuyer, as well as sister site DrivingElectric.com, and he's now Deputy Editor at Auto Express. Having spent a decade working in the automotive industry, he understands exactly what makes new car buyers tick.

Recommended

Porsche Cayenne review – one of the best-handling SUVs
Porsche Cayenne SUV
In-depth reviews
1 Mar 2024

Porsche Cayenne review – one of the best-handling SUVs

New Mercedes CLE Cabriolet released, costing from £53k
Mercedes CLE Cabriolet front quarter
News
22 Feb 2024

New Mercedes CLE Cabriolet released, costing from £53k

Top 10 best driver's cars 2024
Best drivers cars
Best cars
21 Feb 2024

Top 10 best driver's cars 2024

Cupra Formentor review – our favourite hot SUV
Best Hot SUV: Cupra Formentor
In-depth reviews
16 Feb 2024

Cupra Formentor review – our favourite hot SUV

Most Popular

Best new car deals 2024: this week’s top car offers
Carbuyer best new car deals hero
Deals
1 Mar 2024

Best new car deals 2024: this week’s top car offers

Hot car deal: quirky Nissan Juke hybrid for £172 a month
Nissan Juke dynamic
Deals
26 Feb 2024

Hot car deal: quirky Nissan Juke hybrid for £172 a month

10 smallest cars on sale 2024
smallest cars on sale
Best cars
28 Feb 2024

10 smallest cars on sale 2024

More on M4 convertible

2024 BMW M4 Competition gets 523bhp, ditches rear-wheel drive
2024 BMW M4 Competition tracking front
News
31 Jan 2024

2024 BMW M4 Competition gets 523bhp, ditches rear-wheel drive

The German sports coupe and convertible gets a facelift but is four-wheel drive only from now on
New BMW M4 Competition Convertible scorches in for summer
2021 BMW M4 Competition Convertible M xDrive - front 3/4
BMW M4 convertible
26 May 2021

New BMW M4 Competition Convertible scorches in for summer

New M4 Competition Convertible boasts 503bhp and sprints from 0-62mph in 3.7 seconds
BMW M4 M Heritage Edition special model launched
BMW M4 M Heritage Edition cars
News
3 Sep 2019

BMW M4 M Heritage Edition special model launched

Only 75 of the limited-edition BMW M4 Heritage Edition models are coming to the UK and they’re on sale now
New BMW 4 Series and M4 revealed - pictures
News
16 Jan 2017

New BMW 4 Series and M4 revealed - pictures

The BMW 4 Series and M4 are to receive a number of interior, exterior and mechanical tweaks

Tips & advice

View All
Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
Car dashboard symbols and meanings
Tips and advice
19 Dec 2023

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide
Public EV charge point
Tips and advice
11 Jan 2023

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?
PCP vs HP
Tips and advice
17 May 2022

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?

Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Tips and advice
12 Apr 2023

Average speed cameras: how do they work?

Best cars

View All
Top 10 best car interiors
Peugeot 208 hatchback
Best cars
25 Jun 2021

Top 10 best car interiors

Top 10 best electric cars 2024
The best electric cars 2023
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

Top 10 best electric cars 2024

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2024
The best cheap-to-run cars 2023
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2024

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2024
Fastest hot hatchbacks hero
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2024