If you had any doubt the M4 was positioning itself as a direct 911 competitor, the spec sheet and MSRP of this particular example should lay it to rest. Thus it comes down to a matter of preference — brand, styling, ergonomics or otherwise. I didn’t get to track this M4, but in steering response, braking and overall ride quality on freeways and backroads, the similarities between this car and Porsche’s stalwart sports coupe are uncanny. Hell, BMW’s latest twin-turbo straight-six even sounds like Porsche’s classic flat-six.
Me? I’m not loving the interlaced 20-inch wheels that come with the competition package; the rest of it, including the power bump, makes for a damn fine sports coupe that can squeeze four in a pinch. You pays your money and you makes your choice — I suspect you’ll be thrilled whether you choose an M car, the 911 or even something from Affalterbach.
–Andrew Stoy, digital editor
OTHER VOICES: I took this M4 home for two days so I could bring it out to M1 Concourse in Pontiac and get it on the new track. Unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate, but I figured I’d give it a shot anyway. This car was all over the place.
Now granted, a 50-degree day in sheeting rain is probably not the best time to test the 20-inch-wheeled, summer-tire-shod Comp coupe. It’s surely more at home on a sunny, 70-degree day at Thermal Raceway in Southern California. But here we are.
On new, smooth asphalt, the brakes and steering felt nearly as good as in dry weather. I turned the dial down to about 60 percent in the turns and braking zones and that was all good. But getting back on the gas had the tail end waggling side to side, clawing for grip and never really finding any purchase.
The boost didn’t help. It felt like the torque curve was a heartbeat monitor: Rev rev rev, boom, max power, rev rev rev, boom, max power. I did start in automatic and sport mode. After I switched to paddle shifting, it felt a little better. I could gauge when the boost was going to kick in, and either keep it there or not.
My 2014 GT Mustang, which is demonstrably slower despite having close to the same power-to-weight ratio, would have been much better than this. And that’s probably the only time I’ll ever say that.
On the road, the M4 does have a little of that lurchiness that dual-clutch transmissions (DCTs) are known for. Sometimes it’ll downshift as you’re braking to a stop and it lunges forward, forcing you to push down a little harder on the pedal. But I’ll take that little complaint for all the fun times, which far outweigh the bad.
Getting on the expressway in any mode, the M4 just pulls and pulls until you get to a speed you’re not comfortable with. But the carbon-ceramic brakes make everything feel safe and seem to work well, even when cold.
Inside, it’s easy find a comfortable driving position; the iDrive system works fine and the controls are laid out well and are easy to use while driving. I love the M buttons on the steering wheel, which are a shortcut to whatever settings you choose. I’d probably have one at full sport-plus and one at full comfort if I owned this thing.
I think it looks great in the driveway or on the street. I like the special wheels and rubber-band tires, and the carbon-fiber roof looks cool, too. And it takes off weight in the perfect spot.
Now we’re just waiting for the new-new M4 GTS, with its water-injection system. I’d like to drive that one posthaste.
–Jake Lingeman, road test editor
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