BMW is filling out the current M car lineup, and the latest addition is the M4 Competition Convertible with M xDrive. That mouthful is the official name of the model, including the “with M xDrive” part, and, if you were wondering, there’s only one configuration the droptop M4 will be available in. While the M3 and M4 can both be purchased in 473-horsepower six-speed manual base-model form, the M4 convertible is only offered with the Competition Package, which means it’s only offered with a ZF eight-speed automatic transmission. M xDrive is also mandatory, and it doesn’t take a degree in marketing or business to know why there’s only one true flavor of the G83 M4 convertible.
It goes without saying that the purchasing demographic of the modern convertible—which is not to be confused with that of roadsters—is not concerned with outright performance, but instead the entire driving experience, including the open-air aspect. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, and such a reality precludes the necessity for things such as manual transmissions—at least in terms of the thinking of those in charge at BMW. Most of the G83 M4 convertibles BMW is going to sell would have been automatic anyway, and in that vein, the company has given those who will insist on a droptop M xDrive as well, which completes formula for what’s sure to be an exceptionally capable convertible.
Mentioning that the M4 Competition Convertible with M xDrive inherits its styling from the G82 M4 and G23 4 Series convertible goes without saying. As the droptop M4 has just been announced, no one in the automotive press has yet driven one, much less put one through an instrumented test. All we have go on right now are BMW’s numbers and specifications, which serve to paint a more realistic picture of the upcoming M4 convertible.
These include the same 503 horsepower at 6,250 rpm and 479 pound-feet of torque from 2,750 to 5,500 to as the S58 M inline-six of the M3 and M4 Competition, and the same M8HP76 eight-speed automatic transmission as well. BMW lists a zero-to-60 acceleration time of 3.6 seconds, and the droptop M4 tips the scales at 4,306 pounds. To run through the gamut, that’s 476 pounds more than the 3,830-pound G82 M4 with a manual transmission, 426 more than the G82 M4 Competition, and 327 more than the G82 M4 Competition xDrive.
To illustrate difference made by the additional output of the Competition models and their automatic transmissions, consider BMW’s own zero-to-60 acceleration claims. The six-speed M4 can hit 60 in 4.1 seconds, while the the M4 Competition can do it in 3.8. M xDrive is, without question, the biggest differentiator, and allows the M4 Competition to rocket from a dead stop to 60 mph in just 3.4 seconds when so equipped. The M4 Competition Convertible with M xDrive is rated at 3.6, which puts it squarely ahead of its stick-shift counterpart by a full half-second, regardless of the nearly 500-pound weight deficit. It’s almost as if BMW has a way of making the numbers irrelevant, something that couldn’t be more true when you’re actually behind the wheel.
The M4 Competition Convertible with M xDrive has a starting MSRP of $86,300 plus $995 for destination. Production is scheduled to begin in September of this year, with the U.S. market launched slated for October.—Alex Tock
[Photos courtesy BMW AG.]