As you sit down to read this review, I may have already raised your blood pressure by simply getting you past the headline. This is, after all, BMW M. And M means Motorsport. Racing. Lightweight. Rigid. Hardcore. A convertible is none of those things. The hate for any convertible M3/M4 is real. Well, I’m here to tell you that you’re wrong: the G83 M4 is the best version of the G8X platform. Buckle up, we’re going topless.
The 2022 BMW M4 Competition xDrive Convertible overview
I was like you once. In fact, I was like you last year. “There’s no way I’m even looking at the convertible.” Historically, they are heavier, slower, and produce a creak when going over ruts that can pop up in 5,000 miles or 50,000. But it would come.
Not so this M4. BMW finally ditched the folding hardtop roof and went back to a cloth dome. It looks better, works just as well, won’t break as often, and adds only 300 pounds when compared to an M4 Coupe with xDrive (the convertible only comes with all four wheels driven). Does that 300 lbs make you cringe? It shouldn’t, because this M4 has all the attributes of its stablemates, with the added benefit of sunshine.
Performance Score: 8. Speed of light.
You, the buyer (me too). We put BMW in this position. We simply demand the latest and greatest tech. And truthfully at this price point, it’s a warranted request. The M4 has it all, maybe minus the massaging seats of an M5. Add it all up, plus that power-folding hard-top, and you get 4,300 pounds, same as that F90 M5. But understand that the convertible need make absolutely no excuses: it is an M car.
503 horsepower is a lot in any context, and I’ve stated that to truly exploit all that power, you need xDrive. The regular ol’ Comp is great, but unless you feel the urge to drive stick one last time, the automatic, all-wheel combo is hard to beat.
Up 30 horses and a whopping 73 lb-ft of torque over the base model, the G83 M4 takes off sort of like that base car, but once the tach hits 3,500 rpm, it leaves the stick for dead. I truly did not notice just what the S58 is missing until I drove the “tuned-up” version. This is one meaty power band.
While you’re enjoying that speed with the top down, you can fully take in the wonderful M sounds these cars produce. With nothing to shield your ears from those 4 pipes in the rear, the symphony of engine burbles and crackles can be heard in stereo. This simply remains BMW’s best inline-six to date, and one of their best M engines ever.
Part of the reason the Competition feels faster comes from the transmission. There’s nothing slushy about this “slush” box, and shifts are both firm and smooth. I don’t even want to hear DCT anymore; this ZF eight-speed is just as positive and snappy in its engagement. It’s the same transmission every BMW gets, including the M5, but BMW gives each model unique programing to ensure they have their own personality.
The powertrain is so well-paired that it’s hard to tell where the added Competition power ends and the automatic transmission begins. The result is a driving experience that’s quite different from the base G8X.
I will say this in the stick’s favor – the auto is eager to shift unless you put the program in Sport+. With all the adjustability, it can sometimes be hard to find the sweet spot of “I want loud” but not “please don’t hang on to revs”. In this one regard, the stick is better.
You might look at the curb weight and four-wheel drive with sadness. As I stated in the opening to this article, M is light and lithe. Park it on a scale next to the lightest version of the G8X and it will read +500 pounds, and yes, that’s a lot.
But it’s not that simple. An M4 Competition Coupe with xDrive comes in at around 4,000 pounds. So here, cutting off the top really only costs you (counts fingers) 300 pounds. Come on – you can bench press that on a really good day.
This is a car that can’t be explained on paper, because when you hop in and drive it, you feel…nothing. Those 300 pounds might as well be luggage you left in the trunk of an M4 Coupe, and there is simply no difference in drive feel as you zoom down the road. It makes choosing the G83 M4 a no-brainer.
Get under the car and you’ll see why. The chassis construction was always designed not only for xDrive, but with the knowledge that a convertible will be a part of the lineup. If anything, it makes the rear-wheel drive versions the silly ones, because they carry around the room for all the xDrive components with none of the benefits. And what a platform it is; rock solid. No creaks or rattles.
There’s simply no difference from behind the wheel. The front end grips just as well with all-wheel drive. Pushed to the max, the car will understeer more than its rear-drive brother, but to get to that limit you must be on a track, a lunatic or ham-fisted.
Speaking of – the same sins of the M3 carry over here too. No feedback or feel from the steering wheel. A ride that borders on harsh when in anything not labeled “comfort”. But if those attributes don’t bother you in a hardtop, they won’t matter here.
The brakes are the same across the G lineup, and you can choose to upgrade to carbon ceramics for $8,500. Nothing new to report. Just put the brakes in “Sport” mode and forget anything else exists. Comfort feels like stepping in a bowl of overcooked spaghetti.
Add all this up, and you get an M4 without the asterisk for performance. Feel comfortable that you leave nothing behind.
Utility Score: 7. Dinner and drinks.
The G83 M4 Convertible is a big car, but the space it has is divided up well.
We start in the back seat, and you know what? It’s not bad! I had to contort myself to sit back there, but once you’re in, you have room. Take off the top and it’s better than the coupe: headroom isn’t an issue. Just watch yourself stepping out – the M4 has wide lower rocker panels.
With the top down, trunk space is eaten up, but because there’s so much you can still grocery shop and enjoy solar rays. Would you make a big Home Depot run in the M4? No. But who’s doing that anyway?
Up front it’s the same spacious cabin. Take out your significant other for dinner by the beach, and on the way home stop for groceries. What’s not to love?
Efficiency: 6. Could be better
BMW says that you’ll get 16 MPG in the city and 23 on the highway, for a combined 18 MPG.
I suppose that’s fine. I get 18 with the stick, and given that the M4 has more weight and more driven wheels, it’s clear just how efficient the automatic is.
But BMW’s reason for ditching natural aspiration was fuel milage. That’s logical, but then they added a lot of weight, power and all-wheel drive to the M lineup. Just throwing it out there.
It’s still better than the alternative, which is coming soon.
Features and comfort: 9. Everything under the sun.
Aside from the power-folding, well-insulated soft top, you get all the same creature comforts that a regular G8X has plus a few extra goodies.
But can we start with the base price, which isn’t really terrible at $89,700. This for the full list: Competition, all-wheel drive and being topless. That said, start ticking options and things can get out of control quickly.
Keep it reasonable, and you can get your G83 M4 for about $100,000. It can be a lot, but remember that an M8 Convertible is $150,000 bananas. The M8 might get that amazing V-8, but it’s not $50,000 better.
A clean and easy affair. From a stop, just press the button by the shifter on the center console, and in less than 20 seconds, the elements are inside your cabin. Both the E93 and F83 featured hard tops, but if they offered any additional benefits, I can’t find them. This soft top is sleeker, offers the same amount of insulation, weighs less, and folds even quicker than that old clam shell.
To battle the elements, the G83 M4 features the Air Scarf system, which is an additional vent in the seatback for the driver and passenger near the neck. Also here are the heated and cooled seats found in other G8Xs without carbon buckets. A wind deflector is attached between the rear seat headrests to help cut down on wind noise. The E93 M3 had a special leather that reduced the amount of heat it absorbed, but that’s no longer an option on the G83.
The M4 probably won’t change your mind if you’re not a convertible person, but it will try its best.
Otherwise, the M4 is as comfortable as the regular 4 Series, with the benefits of an M. The M5 and M8 might be more plush inside, but BMW has really gone above and beyond for their smaller M offerings (though you might remain disappointed with the options in the upcoming M2).
The example here is finished in Brooklyn Grey Metallic over Fiona Red leather, a very fetching combination. It’s a shame that Brooklyn is now available across the entire BMW range and at risk of being overplayed (three such X3s are in my neighborhood alone), because it really makes the lines on the M4 sleek.
Bad things? Not many. For 2023, the M3 gets a curved display, but the M4 is built in a different factory (and the 4 Series isn’t due for an update), so the separate digital displays remain. The center console (Clarkson voice) has many buttons, and they all do many things, so it might take a bit to learn the functions and not press the Auto Hold by accident. And putting the gear selector in D means pushing to the side as oppose to pulling back as in a regular BMW. Not sure we need to be different to be cool.
Overall, this is a luxurious ride that really isn’t missing anything to make it your daily.
The 2022 G83 BMW M4 Competition xDrive Convertible is the best G you can get
There’s nothing wrong with, say, a BMW Z4, or Porsche Boxster, but they are single-use cars. Room for you, a sweetie, and a pair of underwear. And the problem with that is, what happens if you have a nice day on a random Tuesday headed home from work, and you’re in your daily?
The M4 Competition Convertible solves that problem. Take the car to work on that random Tuesday, enjoy the sun whenever you like, and never be inconvenienced by it all. No, the Performance Center doesn’t use the M4 Convertible for your next M School, but that doesn’t mean they couldn’t.
So that’s it. 2,000 words on why the G83 M4 is the best version of the G that BMW currently offers. And if you have $89,700 dollars lying around, you should get a really nice M3 Competition with a sunroof.
Sorry, some things never change.
Special thanks to Keith for donating his beautiful BMW M4!
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