The styling of the BMW M4 is compromised by the curve of the folding hard-top


I’ve always harboured a dream of owning another soft top. I’m not worried about the security of a fabric roof – I don’t care if the a cabriolet is more noisy.

So the M4 convertible will prove the answer for many people because it has a folding roof. It drops in about 20 seconds, eating into a rather large slice of boot space.

The roof is so good that I’ve almost forgotten I can enjoy open air motoring. Except for one thing, the M4 convertible doesn’t look half as pretty as it’s coupe sibling, seen in the photo.

There’s something about the back of the roof that doesn’t quite work aesthetically. The BMW is all sharp lines and aggressive bumps. The gentle curve of the folding roof spoils the profile of an otherwise terrific car.

I love driving the M4 but I simply wouldn’t but the drop top because a £60,000 open car should also be a beautiful thing, not a compromise.

With summer coming to an end, I’m off to Italy for a week to ride a Harley-Davidson on a grand tour. We’re back September 25 with another weekly car test…


Beauty or the beast? BMW’s M4 looks a bruiser from every angle


Faced with the choice of a BMW M4 or a Maserati Ghibli S – which car would you choose?

A friend of mine is faced with with this rather lovely dilemma. It’s either the beautiful Maserati, or the beast-like M4. Both have been styled to opposite ends of the spectrum – both are ‘super’ cars in their own right.

Wherever I’ve driven the BMW this week it’s attracted the attention of a certain type of car enthusiast. Usually the ones who wear a baseball cap back to front and drive a modified Vauxhall Corsa. All those muscular bumps suggest power and aggression.

When Car Couture had the Ghibli on test last year, heads turned for all the right reasons. It’s a glorious car to look at from the inside out, although few could say it is as much of a driver’s car as the Beemer.

If you’re an aesthete, the Maserati should win every time but after days days in the M4, I could be tempted to buy a baseball cap too…

The sound of the M4 – that’s the BMW version, not the motorway…


There’s been plenty written about how this latest M3/M4 doesn’t have the same aura as the old version. It’s all to do with BMW dumping their 4.4-litre V8 and replacing it with a turbo 3.0-litre for improved efficiency.

Nothing beats the roar of a V8 but don’t be fooled into thinking our M4 doesn’t boast a rumble from those four tailpipes. It’s not quite a V8 gurgle – but it’s also a pure sound that hasn’t been manufactured by a man with  laptop, a la Jaguar F-Type.

So when I fired up the BMW this morning, the soundtrack was inspiring. It’s really just a taster of what is to come when the revs pick up – it lures you onto the open road where you can cut loose and enjoy yourself.

The downside? Well, those meaty tyres produce an awful lot of road noise in the convertible. I can only imagine that it is the same in the coupe. The constant hum changes pitch when you drive over different surfaces but it’s always there, forcing the Harmon Kardon hi-fi even louder…

BMW M4 convertible – your flexible friend when the road surface is harsh


I wasn’t sure BMW had delivered the right car when the M4 rumbled up the driveway earlier today. So good is the design of the convertible that it’s difficult to tell it apart from the M4 coupe.

Slip the open top M4 on a set of scales though and it weighs in almost 180kg heavier – mostly thanks to a complicated roof folding mechanism that is jaw-dropping to behold.

And there’s not doubt that first impressions of this brute of a sports car suggest all that extra weight does have an impact on handling – especially over rough surfaces at speed.

It’s astoundingly quick in a straight line but there’s definitely some flexibility in the chassis. This is still a fantastic car to drive but there’s also a price to be paid for choosing the open top option…