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The BMW F82 M4 has the wrong name

A new name and turbocharged inline-six engine bring a complex legacy to BMW's M4 Coupe, the car that replaced the M3.


By now, you must know that we M faithful hate change, which is ironic because all BMW ever does is change things with each new model. But perhaps no M car has ever sinned as much as the one you see on this very page: The BMW F82 M4.

Turbocharging?! Lowering the redline?! And…that number?! We want an M3, not an M4.

But all of those things aren’t why this is my least favorite modern M car. This M4 commits a much bigger crime.


2015 BMW M4 Quick Take

Get one:

Light and nimble. S55 provides explosive power. Connects directly to your spine.

Don’t get one:

Feel every pebble. The king of dead steering. Cheap bits for a car costing this much.

Soul Score: 7

An excellent sports coupe, but a mediocre M3. I mean M4.

The 2015 BMW F82 M4 Overview

We’ve visited the E36, the E46, the E92, and the G83 (a convertible, but still an M4). All are excellent in their own right, and all unique. And yet, as dissimilar as they all are, you know you’re in an M3. Stop…you know what I mean.

Distilled down to its essence, the M3 is a comfortable family car infused with motorsport DNA. Its success cannot be overstated: nearly every maker has copied the formula by now. But whereas earlier M cars all had high-strung engines that made you work for the speed, this car introduced a new way of doing things.

I remember when this car came out as clear as day. Quite the uproar. I had the opposite reaction. Turbocharging? That’s cool, especially because I grew up with machines that were snailed up to achieve power. No matter how good the S65 V-8 sounded, BMW would never be able to keep up with the level of performance expected from a car like this, not with 295 pound-feet of torque.

Besides, how many of you supercharged it anyway?

No, the problem with the F82 lies everywhere else. The bad ride and lack of refinement. The cheap interior.

The sound…

Felt as if they rushed it out the door.

As we approach this car’s tenth anniversary, let us stand in judgement of it.

Performance Score: 8. F is for freak

BMW F82 M4

The first time I drove an M4 was at the BMW Performance Center, on a track. It was so much better than my E92, so much sharper and faster.

The issues arise once you turn a wheel off the track.


BMW F82 M4
The S55 with 425 horsepower.

You can look at the S55 and lament what was lost. A redline of 7,500 was 800 spins less than the S65, but hey, that’s still a good number.

Ignite it and be welcomed by a buzz saw that emanates from somewhere back there. It could be the worst-sounding M car ever, and it’s rare that I hear one I like with an aftermarket exhaust. What was BMW M thinking?

“It’s the exhaust valve.” Please – your dog biting the mailman isn’t because of sharp teeth, it’s because he’s a bad dog.

BMW F82 M4
Might not rev like the V-8, but still provides plenty of fun.

Once you’re underway the M4 redeems itself, especially bolted to the DCT. Well, after it warms up – the powertrain is grumpy (and clanky) in the cold. Dig into it on the highway, and power is smooth and relentless. This stock example didn’t even exhibit lag as badly as I remember. Sure, the S58 is much better, but since the F82 isn’t a time machine, I can’t hold the future against it.

This being the base model, we get “just” 425 horses instead of 444, and it’s at this point E9X bros say “Hah! That’s just 11 more than us!”. To which I will respond with: 406 lb-ft of torque. Sorry, but the S55 is simply much faster.


BMW F82 M4
The DCT offers a pure driving experiences compared to ZF cars.

The seven-speed DCT in this car, taken from the F10 M5, is terrific. As good as the ZF automatic is in newer M cars, there’s that layer of syrup on each shift that just isn’t present here. It’s something only a connoisseur would notice, but that’s what you and I are. Pull the paddles for satisfyingly fast rips through the gears. It’s easy to get into trouble as the speedometer bites off chunks of numbers.

BMW F82 M4
The DCT is so good, it’s nearly enough to make me pick it over the stick. Almost.

If I get into your BMW and stare blankly at the shift knob, it’s because I can never remember how these are supposed to work. No P, is it in gear, no wait reverse is up here – why? Is it all for that moment when that cute girl gets in the car for your first date, and you impress her because you need to move the shifter with dark magic and a lot of “click, clack.”

There’s a six-speed manual available, and like usual it’s not as well-suited to the car as the DCT. Still, consider it. I’m sure your date would be more impressed with that.

Chassis and Steering

BMW F82 M4
The handling…sigh.

We arrive at easily the worst part of the M4 – steering feel. It’s difficult to distill down into just a few sentences, but the biggest issue I have is buildup. As you turn the wheel in a normal sports car, effort builds naturally and provides an indication as to just how much grip is left. In the M4, it’s effortless and limp two degrees off-center, at full-lock, and everywhere in between.

BMW F82 M4
Make me feel anything. Please.

Putting it in Sport mode makes it worse (even the Performance Center left theirs in Comfort), by adding heft instead of feel.

And the chassis. It’s much more responsive, and lighter, than the previous generation. Pop the hood and peep the beautiful carbon fiber bracing, and it becomes clear that structural rigidity was a BMW priority.

BMW F82 M4
A carbon fiber brace from the factory is beautiful.

But Hans went overboard. The ride is bone-crushing, rough, and god forbid you hit a pothole – you’ll have an out-of-body experience, and I’m not talking about your first bite of chocolate cake. If you can get past that, the M4 can grip with the best of them. I find inducing oversteer to be a bit of a butt-clenching exercise until you get used to it – previous M3s were much more linear without the tendency to snap.

Perhaps you’re thinking they fixed things with the Competition Package and then the LCI, but rest assured, they did not.

“Yea yea Mike, this is an M car.” Right – meaning that a hard edge is somewhat tempered by the need for refinement. What’s the point of all these drive modes if they all produce the same terrible ride?

Some huzzahs before we go – this is one of the lightest modern M cars, nearly 300 pounds less than a G82, and you absolutely feel it with a much more light and toss-able feel.


BMW F82 M4
You don’t need carbon ceramics, but you might as well.

Spend $10,000 on carbon ceramic brakes if you must, but as is typical, BMW gives you plenty to work with in the base package. Since the car is out of production, maybe look for the ceramics because the initial cost will be reduced, but be aware that if you do need to replace them, it still ain’t cheap.

Either way, it’s a huge improvement over the E9X’s single-pot units.

The brake pedal itself is firm and progressive – maybe the only bit of linear feedback in this car. Oddly, the DCT has a small pedal like a manual, but it never bothered me. Not like you’re going to heel-toe in here.

BMW F82 M4

So what happened? Did BMW hear the complaints about the E9X, then stand on a balcony in the rain at night swearing “Nevaaaa again!”?

The M4 is a fun car, but a rough one. And while I can give a sharper edge to an E92, I can’t dial it back here.

Utility Score: 7. Head games

BMW F82 M4
Watch your head.

If the comfort is lacking, at least the utility is here. Let’s start in the front seats, which are a huge improvement over the F30’s and the E92’s. It’s the only BMW I can remember that has M Sport seats without a bottom cushion adjustment, but it doesn’t need it because it’s long enough. They offer plentiful lateral support and look great to boot.

BMW F82 M4
A comfortable place to do work.

The back seat is just okay. The M4 has added a sexy slope to the rear window, so unlike the previous upright cabin, the rear can get a bit tight. It’s still useful in size, and can easily accommodate car seats. Make it your daily without concern for space.

Same goes for the trunk. One thing the F generation did was offer a great package with daily living in mind, and the M4 benefits from the regular 4 Series being its mommy.

Fuel Economy: 8. Here we go again

BMW F82 M4
Expect better economy than the S65, but not by much.

Drive this M4 like a saint, and I have no doubt you’ll reach the 20 MPG the government says you will. In reality, you’re going to say “Watch this” to yourself at least once a day. So let’s call it 18 MPG.

Wow, that’s like, the same as my G80, and the same as…the E92! Not really – all different kinds of combinations of power, weight and transmissions will skew the results, and the S55 is more efficient, but nothing will move the needle enough to justify the “no more natural aspiration” rule. It’s all bullshit.

Features and Comfort: 8. A mix of old and new

BMW F82 M4

I must say that M has always equipped their cars pretty well, and the F82 is no exception. Hop in even today, and the cabin is still relevant. It remains a gold standard for ergonomics and comfort. Just not quality.

What BMW am I in?

All F-generation cars suffer from that crappy plastic build, but the more newer cars turn to screens instead of buttons, the more I appreciate the cabin here.

Sit down and look into the last real dashboard BMW would create for an M car – complete with M badge on the tach, something E9X owners always wanted. We have real carbon fiber trim, a real e-brake handle, and real HVAC controls (with little red pixels like on a 1998 E39). I lament the loss of the SYNC button though – kills my OCD. The CD player will become more fun as the car ages.

BMW F82 M4
I know they don’t look fancy, but they are easy to work. Missing the SYNC button though.

BMW tried to dress up the interior with extended leather options on the doors and dash, but this car did not have it, meaning you get acres of black rubber plastic. It’s an awful lot like my old 335. But that’s okay – it wasn’t a luxurious place even with dead moo on your dash.

BMW F82 M4
Don’t you miss this sound these make?

iDrive works well, and you can add Apple CarPlay via the aftermarket, so the screen remains relevant. Funny, when the car came out I thought the display huge, but now it’s laughably small, with that big black border around it. Whatever – less distraction.

BMW F82 M4
iDrive 4 is still relevant today.
BMW F82 M4
Carbon trim does its best to help dress up the interior.
BMW F82 M4
Badging on the seats – this was the start of adding M to everything, and everywhere.

It might not be high quality, but you can do good driving work here, and that matters more to me than a gigantic TV screen or fancy leather in newer M4s.

Looks to thrill

BMW F82 M4
M quad tailpipes are here, along with upgraded OLED lights from the GTS.

Sunroof. Chrome badges. No 666M wheels. And yet, still looks great.

Great, but the M3 with its sexy fender flairs looks more aggressive. Needed because the 3 Series has a narrower body than the 4 Series, the flairs have since become an important part of M3 lore. The M4 feels a bit slab-sidded by comparison.

BMW F82 M4
Chrome means base model – no Comp was available at launch.
BMW F82 M4
Don’t judge – it’s great on a beautiful morning.
BMW F82 M4
Pre-LCI models had the headlights you see here.

If you can find an LCI model with new headlights and tail lights, that’s fine, but you’re not missing out with an original model. No matter what you paint it or how you option it, the F82 is a great-looking car. That’s not something you get to say with every BMW.

The BMW F82 M4 has a complex legacy to live up to

BMW F82 M4

Time is a car’s greatest enemy, until it becomes its best friend. Upon release, it’s fresh, new, and exciting. By the time it goes out of production and a new model replaces it, we’re been trained to go “Ohh, looks dated.”

But then something funny happens after 15 years or so – we become nostalgic for a car. The F82 M4 ain’t there yet – its quirks aren’t charming, just annoying.

BMW sold a ton of these, and you can buy them all day long for less than $40k. Hell, here’s one that sold for $24,000. Despite the flaws, that’s a good deal for a ton of talent. The looks remain fresh, the car easy (but not cheap) to maintain. Takes a liking to tunes. I get it, I really do.

BMW F82 M4

And yet – despite what you think of the G82’s looks, it’s a better M4. So is an E92, for reasons too numerous to name. BMW has hinted that the 4 Series nameplate will be discontinued soon, which is a shame because the kids growing up picking an M4 in a video game instead of an M3 probably aren’t even able to buy a car yet.

Unrealized potential. Perhaps that’s this M4’s legacy.


2015 BMW M4 Coupe Specifications

Vehicle Type: Front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, four-passenger, two-door coupe


Base: $65,150


3.0 liter twin turbocharged inline-six
425 hp @ 7,300 RPM
406 lb-ft @ 1,850 RPM


Wheelbase: 110.7 in
Length: 184.5 in
Width: 73.6 in
Height: 54.4 in
Curb Weight: 3,615 lbs


17 city /24 highway / 20 combined

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