Yep, the name is a handful, but it deserves a prominent one because this is one of the quickest four-seat drop-tops we’ve ever tested. Say hello to the controversial new BMW M4 Competition M xDrive convertible.

2022 bmw m4 competition m xdrive convertible review (video)

It’s controversial for two reasons. Firstly, that front end design, with the big grilles, has certainly created a stir among fans and critics (including us). Secondly, this is the first M3/M4 generation to be offered with all-wheel drive. If anyone suggested AWD for the nameplate in the past they would have been banished from ever taking part in discussions about the car. This is a big move.

However, BMW M has kindly provided the functionality to convert to rear-wheel drive via the infotainment system. So you can still have the thrills but also the confidence and control if you don’t yet have the skills. What we want to know is does the AWD running gear add too much weight or do the benefits outweigh the drawbacks?

As you can probably imagine, the price of this particular variant is high. In fact, it is the most expensive M3/M4 on the market at the moment, standing at $185,500. That’s close to 8 Series money. In fact, the 840i M Sport convertible retails from $202,900. (All excluding on-road costs.)

2022 BMW M4 Competition M xDrive Convertible – THE SPECS

Engine: 3.0-litre twin-turbo inline-six Output: 375kW@6250rpm / 650Nm@2750-5500rpm Transmission: Eight-speed auto Drive type: All-wheel drive, switchable RWD, active M rear differential Wheels: F: 19×9.5, 275/35  R: 20×10.5, 285/30 ANCAP: Not tested (regular 4 Series 5 stars) Tare weight: 1883kg Power-to-weight: 5.02:1 (kg:kW) Official fuel economy: 10.4L/100km
Economy during test: 11.3L/100km

Fuel capacity/Type: 59L/98 RON Power efficiency: 36.05kW:L/100km 0-60km/h: 1.77 seconds* 0-100km/h: 3.50 seconds (4.14 in RWD mode)* 0-200km/h: 11.82 seconds* 60-110km/h: 2.24 seconds* 1/4 mile: 11.53 seconds at 196.9km/h* Max acceleration: 1.260g 100-0km/h braking: 2.70 seconds at 34.28 metres* Max deceleration: -1.362g Decibel at idle (/Sport mode): 48/56* Peak decibel at 60-100km/h: 91/95*
Priced from: $185,500

* Figures as tested by PerformanceDrive on the day. Factory claims may be different

2022 bmw m4 competition m xdrive convertible review (video)

2022 BMW M4 Competition M xDrive Convertible – THE PACKAGE

The new generation M3 and M4 have been on the market for a little while now. But we still can’t seem to come to an agreement with those front grilles. They do look better in person, however, we will give them that. For us though BMW designs have mostly been about clean elegance. With the M models adding a subtle undertone of attitude and aggression.

This new model, mainly from the front, seems to be all about aggression and look-at-me shock factor, with hardly any cleanness or elegance left. It’s on the offensive rather than where it usually stands, on the defensive. Aside from the grilles we think it portrays a muscular and expensive character, in that it looks like it goes really fast and it’s exclusive. The rear haunches are best viewed from the rear three-quarter angle, because you also get a glimpse of the unmistakable quad-outlet exhausts and chunky diffuser. With the roof down you notice how fat and wide the rear section is, and we suppose it does purvey a distinct level of elegance, especially above the waistline.

2022 bmw m4 competition m xdrive convertible review (video)

BMW has switched to a lighter weight soft-top roof design for the latest model, replacing the previous hardtop. It is an all-new design and mechanism, promising the practical benefits of a hardtop and the elegance of a soft-top. We think so, as the wind noise is very low on the highway and you get that cosy coupe feeling when the roof is up. The clean-cut finish of the bodywork with the roof down gives it that summer esplanade vibe.

Perhaps most importantly, the new roof is around 40 per cent lighter than the old hard top layout. That helps to reduce the centre of gravity while optimising the overall weight. Even still, this is very much the heaviest M4 in the showroom and thus the heaviest M3/M4 generation ever conceived. The tare weight is 1883kg, which is quite a lot against the previous 2020 M4 Competition convertible’s 1752kg tare rating – although, it wasn’t equipped with AWD. The power-to-weight ratio is improved over the old model. Now it stands at 5.02kg:kW whereas before, with the 331kW engine, it was 5.29kg:kW.

2022 bmw m4 competition m xdrive convertible review (video)

Unlike the exterior, the interior is quite reserved and refined, as per tradition. We like the latest infotainment system and the iDrive controller, as well as the assortment of physical buttons for the common functions. Despite the growing trend of touch-screen everything, we think it is still important to have physical buttons in place because the last thing a driver should be doing is digging around within screens, just to perform simple functions. After all, there is a law in place against doing exactly that; using your phone.

Practicality levels are high, also following tradition for this nameplate, with enough cup holders and storage areas to keep passengers happy. There’s also the usual huge door pockets from BMW for added everyday versatility. These sports seats in the front offer fantastic comfort and support too, and it’s easy to find a perfect driving position thanks to a wide range of adjustment from both the seat and steering column.

2022 bmw m4 competition m xdrive convertible review (video)

Rear seat space is pretty good for a two-door coupe sports car, and the soft-top roof leaves reasonable head clearance when flipped up. There’s also cup and bottle holders available, and even climate vents and temperature control presented on the back of the centre console. You can wind down the rear windows too, even when the roof is up.

Boot space has increased over the previous model by around 80 litres when the roof is down, to 300L. Put the roof up though and the space expands further, to 385L, thanks to a flippable partition. You’ve also got some little netted sections on the sides and a 12-volt socket.

2022 bmw m4 competition m xdrive convertible review (video)

2022 BMW M4 Competition xDrive Convertible – THE DRIVE

Under the bonnet is the S58, 3.0-litre twin-turbo inline-six beast. The power output, at 375kW at 6250rpm, is very impressive for its size. But the monstrous 650Nm of torque is what pushes this thing seriously hard. In AWD mode it really jumps off the line. We clocked 0-100km/h in just 3.50 seconds (bettering BMW’s claim of 3.7), 0-200km/h in 11.82 seconds, and the quarter mile in 11.53 seconds at 196.9km/h. Mid-11 is just insane for a sedan-based, luxury four-seat convertible.

That mind-blowing acceleration is largely thanks to BMW M switching to xDrive all-wheel drive for the first time. This provides an all-new level of dynamics and all-weather capability. Not that convertibles are popular in adverse conditions. But with all-wheel drive, it just provides that extra layer of versatility. And as a bonus for us driving fans, you can convert to a rear-wheel drive mode at the touch of a button. Yep, you can drift this thing until the cows come home if you want to. And then when you’re done at the track you can revert back to AWD for safety and stability on the drive home.

2022 bmw m4 competition m xdrive convertible review (video)

Interestingly, RWD mode is only available in a DSC-off configuration. In other words, switching to RWD automatically turns off the stability control system. Speaking of which, there is a new 10-stage M Traction Control setup as standard in Australia. It allows you to dial in or out the electronic assistance, so you can progressively learn to understand the car’s traction threshold. There’s also a new ‘M Drift Analyser’ with on-screen gauges providing details on length and angle of your drifting efforts.

We, of course, did not try out this tool on public roads before hitting reset for the photo below. Definitely not. But we could imagine the car achieving drift/powerslide distances of about 15 metres in second gear without much effort. The engine has more than enough torque to hold drifts in third gear as well, and perhaps even fourth gear if you have the space.

2022 bmw m4 competition m xdrive convertible review (video)

Just like the regular M4, this comes with a set of staggered-size forged alloy wheels measuring 19 inches on the front and 20s on the back. They wear whopping 275/35 front, and 285/30 rear Michelin Pilot Sport 4 S tyres. The grip levels of these tyres are astounding. And they resist heat quite well for road tyres while also providing good wet weather performance.

On the road the default AWD setup provides all the reassurance and security you need. You can nail the throttle at silly points of a turn – not that we’d recommend doing it – and the system barely flinches. Apply power at the right time though, just outside the apex, and it catapults through the exit. Past models (RWD) would simply not keep up with this on a fast-tempo section of mountain road. Not a chance.

2022 bmw m4 competition m xdrive convertible review (video)

Power is distributed to the appropriate wheels in a rear-biased attitude, and even more so in the 4WD Sport setting. There is some mild understeer if you’re heavy on the throttle during long sweeping bends, but it’s controlled and never feels like it’s going to get out of hand. Perhaps the main drawback for us is the heavier front end feel compared with the regular RWD M4. The steering seems to lose some connection too, as this doesn’t feel as organic or as predictable, particularly compared with past generation models that had a proper mechanical and direct feel.

The braking capacity is outstanding. Even after repeated abuse along a windy mountain road, they continue to provide good pedal feel and resistance to fade. As standard it comes with M Compound brakes (floating disc type with fixed calipers), with perforated discs and six-piston front and single-piston rear calipers. Drivers have the choice of two pedal feel modes, available through the infotainment system. We clocked 100-0km/h in just 34.28 metres, which is just about supercar levels of performance according to our performance results database. You can option up to carbon ceramic brakes for an additional $16,500. Unless you’re a serious track enthusiast, we wouldn’t bother, especially on the convertible.

2022 bmw m4 competition m xdrive convertible review (video)

In our opinion the best and most attractive element to this new model is the engine. It can cruise calmly, better than any predecessor, yet unleash mega almost unsuspecting propulsion when you want it. The engine offers an incredible ‘power-efficiency’ ratio as well. What’s that? It’s a calculation we like to include in our spec box above. Basically, you divide the power output by the official fuel consumption.

So in this case the official average is 10.4L/100km. Divided into 375kW, and you’re left with a ratio of 36.05kW:L/100km. Any value over 20 is decent, and anything over 30 is exceptional. It means this engine has the breadth to extract mega power from every drop of fuel, but it can also sip fuel when max power is not demanded. We averaged 10.9L/100km during our week of testing, which is not bad at all for the performance potential.

2022 bmw m4 competition m xdrive convertible review (video)

2022 BMW M4 Competition xDrive Convertible – THE VIDEO

2022 BMW M4 Competition xDrive Convertible – THE VERDICT

It’s quicker, significantly more powerful, more refined and more luxurious than any predecessor. And thanks to AWD, dynamic capability is expanded to an all-new level for the nameplate, broadening its market appeal. However, in achieving these impressive feats the new model is heavier and more expensive than ever before.

In our opinion, it has also become more disconnected from the driver than previous models. But we must admit, creating a successor for such an iconic model is always going to be a difficult task. We guess it all depends on where your expectations sit, and what you want an M4 to be able to do. In this case, this new model is capable of doing more than any ancestor.

PROS: – Quickest four-seat convertible we’ve ever tested – 3.0TT inline-six offers huge dynamic breadth – In-car practicality remains high for this style of vehicle – Thoughtful and adaptive iDrive system with physical buttons for common functions – AWD/RWD provides all-new level of versatility, and means more drivers can explore performance potential

CONS: – Heavier than any predecessor – AWD takes away some steering feel – Doesn’t sound as good or rev as high as predecessors
– Those front grilles

As always, if you’re thinking about buying a new car don’t forget to click here to speak with our car buying specialists.

2022 bmw m4 competition m xdrive convertible review (video)
2022 bmw m4 competition m xdrive convertible review (video)
2022 bmw m4 competition m xdrive convertible review (video)
2022 bmw m4 competition m xdrive convertible review (video)
2022 bmw m4 competition m xdrive convertible review (video)
2022 bmw m4 competition m xdrive convertible review (video)
2022 bmw m4 competition m xdrive convertible review (video)
2022 bmw m4 competition m xdrive convertible review (video)
2022 bmw m4 competition m xdrive convertible review (video)
2022 bmw m4 competition m xdrive convertible review (video)
2022 bmw m4 competition m xdrive convertible review (video)
2022 bmw m4 competition m xdrive convertible review (video)
2022 bmw m4 competition m xdrive convertible review (video)
2022 bmw m4 competition m xdrive convertible review (video)
2022 bmw m4 competition m xdrive convertible review (video)
2022 bmw m4 competition m xdrive convertible review (video)
2022 bmw m4 competition m xdrive convertible review (video)
2022 bmw m4 competition m xdrive convertible review (video)
2022 bmw m4 competition m xdrive convertible review (video)
2022 bmw m4 competition m xdrive convertible review (video)
2022 bmw m4 competition m xdrive convertible review (video)
2022 bmw m4 competition m xdrive convertible review (video)
2022 bmw m4 competition m xdrive convertible review (video)
2022 bmw m4 competition m xdrive convertible review (video)
2022 bmw m4 competition m xdrive convertible review (video)
2022 bmw m4 competition m xdrive convertible review (video)

TECH NEWS RELATED

2023 Toyota Corolla vs. 2023 Hyundai Elantra: Compact Car Competition!

The Toyota Corolla continues to dominate the compact car segment and is one of the best-selling vehicles in the world. A compact car competitor of the Corolla is the Hyundai Elantra. Find out how they measure up in this 2023 Toyota Corolla vs. 2023 Hyundai Elantra comparison. 2023 Toyota Corolla ...

View more: 2023 Toyota Corolla vs. 2023 Hyundai Elantra: Compact Car Competition!

Volkswagen’s Scout EV truck will not use its MEB platform: ‘This is an AMERICAN truck’

Volkswagen seems determined to make its Scout EV pickup truck as American as ever. A Scout enthusiast recently met up with the Scout Motors team and shared a few interesting tidbits about the upcoming all-electric pickup truck. Jeff Bade—the Director of Information Technology at Budde Marketing Systems, Inc. in Illinois—recently ...

View more: Volkswagen’s Scout EV truck will not use its MEB platform: ‘This is an AMERICAN truck’

ITHL: Toyota Celica - Inner Peace

With the advent of new-age technology, we take for granted how easy everything is nowadays. Want a meal? Order it online. Want something? Order it online. Need a service? Again, order it online. Modern cars are the same, with each new generation one-upping the last, cramming technology to the ...

View more: ITHL: Toyota Celica - Inner Peace

Another EV confirmed to launch in Malaysia soon, Volkswagen ID.4 to be previewed at VW Fest 2022

Volkswagen Passenger Cars Malaysia (VPCM) will be previewing the all-electric (EV) at the VW Fest 2022, happening at the historic Sentul Depot in Kuala Lumpur on 15- and 16-October. The Volkswagen ID.4 is a -sized EV that is set to rival the in Malaysia. Globally, there are two battery ...

View more: Another EV confirmed to launch in Malaysia soon, Volkswagen ID.4 to be previewed at VW Fest 2022

iKamper's New Hardshell Rooftop Tent Is Perfect for Overland Adventures

It'll protect you from the elements — and from having to buy another rooftop tent — for a long while.

View more: iKamper's New Hardshell Rooftop Tent Is Perfect for Overland Adventures

Video: drifting a 900bhp, 2JZ-powered BMW M3 at 9,000rpm

Modified Believe it or not, this lairy Bimmer started out as a humble 320d… 32 minutes 21 seconds What’s it like to drive an 850bhp drift car? Pretty full-on it’ll turn out, as three-time Formula D champion James Deane gives us a Dunsfold demo we won’t forget in a hurry ...

View more: Video: drifting a 900bhp, 2JZ-powered BMW M3 at 9,000rpm

New Top Gear magazine out now: it’s Speed Week 2022

Top Gear magazine This month we gathered up 2022’s greatest performance cars (and the Stig) for a road and track mega test “How the hell can you compare a £50k, 118bhp Morgan three-wheeler to an 818bhp Ferrari supercar, or a 2.3-tonne Aston Martin SUV? This test is RIDICULOUS,” says the ...

View more: New Top Gear magazine out now: it’s Speed Week 2022

What's the best EV for reliving the past?

Top Gear Advice The Volkswagen ID.Buzz's brand of electro-nostalgia is the good old days, but with fewer emissions The thing about a nice petrol engined car is that the format is inherently old-fashioned (don’t @ me), it’s a dying format that immediately lends itself to a bit of retro tomfoolery. ...

View more: What's the best EV for reliving the past?

New 10-seater Hyundai Staria launched in Malaysia – from RM179,888

Tesla Model Y floods market as “clear trend” to EVs kicks off

10-seater 2022 Hyundai Staria launched in Malaysia; from RM 179k, 3 variants, 2.2L turbodiesel

Toyota quashes dreams of new Celica and MR2 - confirms no more GR model, GR86 is last

bravoauto – A new way to buy used cars in Australia

2022 Hyundai Staria 10-seater Launched - 3 Variants, Lite, Plus and Max - Priced From RM180k

2023 BMW XM Due in Australia First Half of 2023

Battery Health – Charge Your Car Day Raises Awareness

Cupra Formentor and Leon PHEVs hit online showrooms

Tesla Model 3 tops Toyota Camry sales! Electric car brand outsells Volkswagen, MG and Subaru in Australia as EV sales soar

Jeep Compass completes 15k km: Workshop & car service observations

October issue out now

OTHER TECH NEWS

Top Car News Car News