What is it like on the inside?
The interior’s basic structure is as per the BMW 4 Series coupe. Which is good news, even if it means rows of buttons from a £40,000 car occupying space in something that’ll scrape £90,000 with a modest brush against the options list. Here is a car interior that incorporates screens subtly, leaving good old-fashioned buttons where they belong: operating lights, air con and stereo shortcuts. Phew.
There are an awful lot of buttons, it must be said, and operating M4 specific features isn’t the work of a moment. Once you’ve got accustomed to the various menus, though, you’ll have quickly programmed your favourite drive settings into the M1 and M2 nipples on the steering wheel, perhaps encompassing ‘road’ and ‘track’, if you plan on taking your heavy and expensive car on circuit, or with ‘comfy but pressing on a bit’ and ‘I want to get home with my shoes on fire’ modes if you’re in the majority who won’t.
The screen in the middle can display lap timers, g meters and that blimming Drift Analyser – on top of the obvious media and nav – while the digital instrument cluster can take the form of traditional (albeit hexagonal) speedo and rev counter, or a big central speedo, rev counter and gear indicator for when you want a quicker readout. You can also get a frankly massive hockey-stick rev counter on the head-up display, but it’s so big it’s almost comical.
All M3s and M4s headed for Britain get an interior carbon pack as standard, reflective of the sheer number of people who specced it on the previous-gen cars. It was as simple a choice for the UK product people as ditching the manual. And yet in both cases, we’d rather wish they’d kept some choice on the table; not all of it looks great, and just take a look at the steering wheel and paddleshifter combo. The latter feel like plastic and give off a ‘blokey toiletries gift set’ vibe where something like an Alfa Giulia Quadrifoglio has gorgeous fixed metal paddles that ting delightfully when you flick them. Given BMW helped pioneer these sorts of transmissions in attainable performance cars, it’s a curiously dropped ball.
The optional carbon bucket seats are fantastic, mind. They’re a bit of an eyeful at first but they’re supremely supportive and superb over long distance – almost an entire day in them didn’t elicit a single ache. They electronically adjust in as many directions as a regular leather seat, too, and leave a reasonable amount of room for passengers to clamber into the M4’s rear quarters when you’ve pulled the M tricoloured fabric and they’ve automatically whirred forwards.
Speaking of which, there’s comfortably room for anyone 5ft 5 or below, while adults will squeeze back there for shorter journeys. There are two seats in the back, as opposed to the M3’s three, but each passenger gets their own air con vent, USB-C port and a cupholder. The middle section of the rear seats flips down to house longer items feeding through from the boot, which at 440 litres, is just 40 litres down on volume compared to the M3 saloon.