by Ian Wright
When BMW decided the 3 Series Coupe deserved a unique model designation, the 4 Series was born, and BMW's M division immediately got to work. The M division's take on the two-door model was that it should be lighter and stiffer, making it sportier than the BMW M3. While a convertible version of a car is typically a softer drive aimed more at lifestyle buyers, for 2022, the all-new M4 Convertible comes in one trim only, and that trim is the Competition. That means it comes with the M xDrive all-wheel-drive system and 503 horsepower generated by its turbocharged six-cylinder engine. For 2022, the folding hardtop is gone and replaced with a lighter fabric roof.
BMW has gone all out for 2022 with the M4 but doesn't face strong competition from traditional rivals, with only the Mercedes-AMG C63 Cabriolet still competing, albeit in its final year before an all-new one comes along with half the cylinders. Has BMW done enough to fend off the competition for years to come? We got behind the wheel to find out.
The 2022 BMW M4 Convertible is all-new, based on the M4 launched early in 2021. There are quite a few differences between this all-new model and the previous generation. BMW moved away from a folding metal hardtop in favor of a lighter soft-top.
The M4 is only available in Competition trim with the M xDrive all-wheel-drive system and an eight-speed automatic transmission. Why? It makes the M4 Convertible more applicable in the real world and all weather conditions. The M4 Convertible is the most expensive M4 you can currently buy, and at this price, only the most powerful engine will do.
See trim levels and configurations:
|Competition xDrive Convertible||
3.0L Twin-Turbo Inline-6 Gas
With all-wheel-drive as standard and the ability to drive with the wind in your hair, the M4 Convertible shapes up to be a performance car for all seasons. We didn't get a chance to venture into the snow, but we had a wild time in the car around Palm Springs and the canyon roads of California. The M Division's take on the turbocharged straight-six engine is a raucous treat, making convertible's extra weight on the road unnoticeable without driving it back-to-back with the coupe or on the track. When scything through canyon roads, the M4 convertible has all the precision of a metronome, but it's keeping time for the engine equivalent of your favorite rock band at its loudest. We criticized the numbed feel of the last generation M4's steering, but BMW has listened, and there's a drastic improvement that brought us a sigh of relief. Mix that with the rowdy-yet-smooth engine, dramatic changes in sport mode to the dynamics, crazy-fast gear shifts, and you have what feels like a return to form for BMW.
With the M4's top brought down, there's more buffeting from the wind than we find with cars designed from scratch for open-air driving, and at higher speeds, we recommend putting the roof up. For normal driving, it's not distracting. From what we remember, the 2022 M4 Convertible drives just as smoothly as the last iteration, and out of sport mode, it becomes a more sophisticated car - you wouldn't call it docile, which is a good thing as nobody wants a docile M car.
NHTSA safety ratings are not available at this time.
BMW's M4 is a consistent gem in what seems to be an ever-expanding range of vehicles from BMW. At this point, BMW is seemingly happy to slap an M badge on everything it makes, but the M4 is the enthusiast sweet spot for luxury, tech, and bombastic thrills on the road. If you want all that and to feel the wind in your hair, then the convertible is a no-brainer if you have around $100,000 to spend and get exactly what you desire in color and features.
It's a spectacular car to drive, whether cruising through the countryside or attacking a back road. The obvious car to cross-shop the M4 Convertible with is the Mercedes-AMG C63 Cabriolet, which cranks the grin factor up a notch at the cost of precision driving. If you're not looking to shave hundredths of a second off of lap times, then the C63 Cabriolet is worth test driving as well. For the same sort of money, the Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet is also an option, and that's where you'll likely find those hundredths of a second, even with the top down. To us, the M4 Convertible sits between those cars as the best of both worlds.
Both are four-seat convertibles with soft tops, producing 503 hp. And that's where the similarities end. The Bimmer only produces 479 lb-ft, while the Merc has 516 lb-ft available from 2,000 rpm. Both have 503 hp, when you opt for the C63 S, although a more affordable C63 is available that matches the BMW's torque but only has 469 hp. The Merc is a bit more simple than the BMW. It sends all its power to the rear wheels via a nine-speed automatic gearbox. The BMW is quicker. It gets to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds, while the Merc gets there in 3.9. The C63 has a 180 mph top speed.
The BMW is a scalpel-like canyon carver merged with a boulevard cruiser, while the C63 is a rabid animal of a thing thanks to that mega V8. Even with the nannies switched on, it will happily twitch sideways on anything resembling a damp road.
Droptops are all about enjoying the sun and fresh air, as well as the noise provided by the engine. Since they'll never be as rigid as their coupe cousins, you go into the purchase knowing about the sacrifices. We much prefer the old-school sledgehammer-like approach of the C63 S and that it will be the last of its kind. We'd happily spend our money at Merc, if you can find one that is.
It always feels unfair to put a car up against the seminal sports car of the 21st century. It's annoying how good the Porsche 911 is, whether you have it with a roof or not. And, since it's not that hard to get an M4 Competition Convertible to near the $100k price, you're within spitting distance of the cost of the base 911 Cabriolet.
The Porker uses a twin-turbo flat-six producing 379 hp and 331 lb-ft of torque. That's way down on the BMW's 503 hp/479 lb-ft, but as we've seen before with Porsches, it's not all about power. Porsche 911s are about balance and engagement. The base model gets to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds, but the top speed is capped at 180 mph. You can also have it with a manual gearbox. Yet the Porsche wins this battle, not because of speed. Instead, it's a combination of steering feel, accuracy, responses, and phenomenal grip. It also does the slow cruising thing exceptionally well. Also, it's a Porsche.
We hate to sound like a broken record, but anything that goes against the 911 is somehow destined to lose. Drive one, and you'll understand.
The most popular competitors of 2022 BMW M4 Convertible: