2015 BMW M4

What's new for 2015? Every 2015 BMW M3 comes standard with antilock brakes, traction and stability control, front side airbags, side curtain airbags and front knee protection airbags.

Last year BMW introduced its new 4 Series as the newly named version of what used to be the 3 Series two-door coupe and convertible. Now, for 2015, the company has brought out the performance version of that car, the new M4. It might be an unfamiliar name, but the performance and image fit right in with the legacy associated with the more familiar M3 name.

There is still an M3, actually, but it's now just the four-door sedan, and both cars feature the same M division upgrades. The transformation starts with the engine. There was a time when all M cars had naturally aspirated engines. But this time around, BMW has gone with a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6 that cranks out 425 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque. Both figures handily outgun the output from the 4.0-liter V8 used in the previous-generation M3 coupe and sedan. It's suitably aggressive and sounds like nothing else on the road.

Putting that power to the ground is either a standard six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission (M-DCT) that's connected to a carbon-fiber driveshaft and an electronically controlled limited-slip differential. This is the kind of specialized equipment once reserved for pure racecars, but now has trickled down to high-performance street cars such as the M4.

Exterior Highlights
Two-door, five-passenger high-performance car available in coupe or convertible body styles, based on the 4 Series

The 2015 BMW M4 is a two-door, four-passenger high-performance car available in coupe or convertible body styles, based on the company's 4 Series.

The M4 includes 18-inch alloy wheels with summer tires, adaptive xenon headlights, auto-dimming mirrors, leather upholstery, heated 10-way power front seats (with four-way power lumbar), driver memory settings, fold-down rear seats, adaptive cruise control and dual-zone automatic climate control. Technology features include Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, an 8.8-inch display screen, a navigation system, a suite of smartphone and online applications under the BMW ConnectedDrive banner, BMW's iDrive controller interface and a nine-speaker audio system with HD radio, a USB/iPod interface, an auxiliary audio jack and a CD player.

An optional Executive package adds headlight washers, front and rear parking sensors, keyless entry and ignition, a head-up display, a heated steering wheel, a rearview camera and satellite radio. The Lighting package further adds adaptive LED headlights and automatic high-beam control. The Driver Assistance package gets you blind-spot monitoring, lane-departure warning, a side- and top-view camera system, speed limit info, frontal-collision warning and automatic braking for collision mitigation.

Some items within the bundled packages are available as stand-alone options. Other stand-alone options include 19-inch wheels, upgraded carbon-ceramic brakes, adaptive suspension dampers, automated parallel-parking assist, extended- and full-leather treatments, a power rear sunshade, enhanced smartphone connectivity and a 16-speaker Harman Kardon surround-sound audio system.

On the coupe, you get your choice of either a visible carbon-fiber-reinforced-plastic (CFRP) roof or traditional steel roof with sunroof. In place of that roof, the M4 convertible has a power-retractable hardtop with a wind blocker, as well as extended leather upholstery and door trim that incorporates sun-reflective technology. When equipped with the Executive package (see above), it also includes front-seat neck warmers.

Navigation system, large display screen, touchpad iDrive controller, solid build, easy to use iDrive interface, comfortable front seats

The 2015 BMW M4 gets the same general cabin design of the 4 Series, which is to say understated, though you do essentially get the 4's Technology package (navigation system, the larger display screen and the touchpad iDrive controller) as standard plus the requisite M badges and some snazzy carbon-fiber and aluminum trim. Overall it's solidly built and of high quality.

The company's classic analog gauges provide a historical link with BMWs of previous decades, while the optional head-up display provides digital information projected on the windshield. The standard iDrive interface is pretty easy to use, thanks to straightforward menus, crisp graphics and quick processing times.

The front seats are both comfortable and supportive for aggressive driving, and there's plenty of front headroom and legroom. The backseat is decently sized for this class of car, with enough headroom and legroom for two average-size adults. Luggage space is generous, even in the convertible. Lowering the convertible's top takes about 20 seconds.

Every 2015 BMW M4 comes standard with antilock brakes, traction and stability control, front side airbags, active front knee protection and rollover protection (convertible). The BMW Assist system for the M4 includes emergency services (SOS button and automatic collision notification), plus remote services (stolen-vehicle recovery and remote lock/unlock).

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