Once in a while a chariot comes along that, for any lover of sexy, open-top, wind-in-the-follicles, fast-as-heck convertibles, checks all the boxes.
May I humbly present to you that car; BMW’s latest-and-greatest 503-horsepower M4 Competition xDrive Convertible. A mouthful of a name, I know. We’ll go with M4 Convertible.
This is a pretty rare beast. Only available in hard-core Competition spec, and only with BMW’s xDrive all-wheel drive, and an 8-speed automatic. There’s no manual-shifter option, so don’t ask.
But it’s a pure “M” car from BMW’s fabled Motorsport division. And being such means that it’ll likely be built in teeny numbers, easily justifying its $87,495 sticker.
Yes, there’s an M4 Coupe, but this is the new Convertible that’s perfect for star-gazing and soaking up those evening summer breezes.
And it’s all the better for hearing the tailpipe symphony that erupts from the wonderfully vocal, twin-turbo 3.0-liter straight-6 as it lunges the car from standstill to 60mph in a slingshot 3.6 seconds. Top speed? A follicle-ruffling 155mph.
It also makes a terrific convertible. Toggling a switch triggers a choreographed ballet of panels, hinges and fabric that sees the top drop in a mere 18 seconds.
Yes, there was a previous M4 Convertible. But that had a heavy metal roof that added weight, complexity and gobbled-up valuable trunk space.
This tight-fitting cloth roof is 40 per cent lighter, looks sleeker and only sacrifices three of the 13.6 cubic feet of trunk space when folded. Pity, however, that the roof only comes in shades of black.
See this new M4 Convertible in the metal, especially in our test car’s retina-frying Pantone of Toronto Red metallic, and it looks like it’s about the lap Sebring or Daytona.
Yes, it has those painfully-swollen kidney grilles up front. But on the M4, they’re painted stealthy black, and flanked by equally-engorged black carbon fiber intakes. They just add to the car’s aggressive look.
Settle into the well-bolstered driver’s seat, press that racy-red start button, and hear the big inline-six exhale through its quartet of tailpipes.
This is one of the world’s great engines. Silky-smooth, eager to rev, properly potent with its 479 lb-ft of torque to add to the 503 horsepower, and truly sonorous in its soundtrack.
And off the line it delivers rock-out-of-a-catapult acceleration, the turbine-smooth straight-six revving passionately to its 7,200 rpm red line.
Where the M-DNA shows through loud and clear is when you fire the Convertible down a sinewy backroad. The rear-biased xDrive all-wheel drive adds a bucket-load of poise, balance and true agility to the handling.
Couple this with laser-precise, perfectly-weighted steering, sticky, mile-wide rubber, and adaptive M suspension, and the ragtop seems to lose little to its track-focused M4 Coupe sibling.
As you’d expect, the ride is pretty firm—even in cushier Comfort mode. But plenty of body strengthening has dialed out any shimmy and shake, even over the most gnarly of surfaces.
Top down, sun on your face, wind in your hair makes the cockpit this new M Convertible a lovely place to be. Yes, there’s a small gale that swirls around the cabin at speeds over 60mph. Raising all four windows helps. But with the top raised, there’s hardly a rustle of wind noise, so good is the top sealing.
While no one would call this new M a full four-seater, it does have back seats that are fine for kids, or ferrying grown-ups on short jaunts to the beach. Getting in the back with the top raised however, is best left to limbo dancers.
Right now the M4 Competition Convertible has little in the way of actual competition. The departure of Mercedes-AMG’s thundering twin-turbo V8-powered C63 and the fact that Audi doesn’t offer an RS5 Cabriolet, leaves only Porsche’s pricier 911 Cabrio, and maybe Lexus’ LC 500 as alternatives.
No alternatives are necessary. Here is arguably the best all-round performance convertible under six figures out there. A chariot indeed.