by Jay Traugott
Convertible sales aren't anywhere near what they once were, but this hasn't stopped BMW from building them. Not only has it pressed ahead with the second-generation 4-Series Convertible, but it's done so with the high-performance version. Meet the 2022 BMW M4 Competition Convertible, a 503-horsepower, German-built, roofless road missile. Available only in Competition guise, the new M4 Convertible is also only sold with the xDrive all-wheel drive system, something the previous generation lacked.
Another major departure from its predecessor is that it's equipped with a folding soft-top instead of a heavy retractable hardtop. Why these changes? Because the latter saves a substantial amount of weight which in turn allows for better performance. Why no rear-wheel-drive? The likely answer is because BMW determined there wouldn't be sufficient demand. Having AWD (with a rear-drive bias) allows BMW to expand M4 Convertible sales to parts of the country facing harsh winters and other adverse weather conditions. But make no mistake about it, the 2022 M4 Convertible is a true M model through and through.
See trim levels and configurations:
Controversy surrounded the second-generation M4 Coupe when it debuted last fall due to the new grille styling. This has been directly carried over to the convertible for better or worse. Most of the M4 Convertible's body are completely unique compared to the regular 4-Series Convertible, the exception being the doors, soft-top, trunk, lid, windows, and headlights and taillights. A frameless signature kidney grille with M brand horizontal slats is up front. A honeycomb mesh covers the apertures flanking each side of the grille.
Buyers can opt for BMW Individual Shadowline lights featuring darkened inlays to further enhance the slim LED headlights. The flared fenders and extended side sills offer a more aggressive look and are functional aerodynamic tools. Other familiar M-specific components include the side mirrors and a rear diffuser housing the exhaust system's twin tailpipes.
The Black or Moonlight Black soft-top is 40 percent lighter than the old retractable hardtop, which helps lower the center of gravity and allows for 1.2 cubic feet of additional cargo space. It also has a glass rear window and has been designed to reduce cabin wind noise. Opening and closing it requires just 18 seconds at speeds of up to 31 mph.
The convertible's dashboard and console layout are identical to that of its coupe sibling, meaning a 12.3-inch digital driver's display and a 10.25-inch touchscreen hosting the iDrive 7.0 operating system. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, and a head-up display is available.
Other typical M touches include red accents for the M buttons located on the steering wheel and start/stop button. The leather-covered gear lever has an embedded M logo with the branded color stitching. Carbon Fiber inlays are another option for the steering wheel and shift paddles.
Supportive M sports seats upholstered in Merino leather are standard as is aluminum trim. Carbon fiber and Piano Black will cost you extra. A range of upholstery and trim color combinations are offered.
Under the hood lies the same twin-turbocharged S58 3.0-liter inline-six rated at 503 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque - a 59 hp and 73 lb-ft boost over the previous-gen model - as the hardtop. The sole gearbox is an eight-speed Steptronic automatic - no manual is offered. Total weight comes to a hefty 4,306 pounds though 0-60 mph happens in an impressive 3.6 seconds. Top speed is 174 mph when equipped with the optional M Performance Package.
The xDrive all-wheel drive system has a rear bias which will please driving enthusiasts. Drivers have a choice between three modes: 4WD, 4WD Sport, and 2WD, the latter requiring the stability control system to be turned off. BMW says the convertible's long wheelbase, coupled with the wide front and rear tracks and balanced weight distribution creates the ideal blend of performance and comfort. The Adaptive M Suspension, beefier brakes, and performance tires are standard as well.
Safety-wise, driver-assist systems like Park Distance Control, Automatic High beam, and Active Driving Assistant are standard. The Driver Assistance Professional Package tacks on Active Cruise Control, Lane Keep Assist, Active Blind Spot Detection, and Evasion Aid and Emergency Stop Assistance.
The 2022 BMW M4 Competition xDrive will carry a starting price of $87,295 including destination. Production gets underway this September and we expect deliveries to commence shortly thereafter.
Like before, the M4 Convertible's main rival is the Mercedes-AMG C63 Cabriolet, which has a similar price, features, and general capabilities (though the new M4 is faster to 60 mph). Audi doesn't build a convertible version of the RS 5 Coupe and nor does Lexus with its RC F. The high-performance luxury convertible segment, therefore, remains limited to the BMW and Mercedes, and higher-spec versions the Porsche Boxster and Jaguar F-Type Convertible. Buyers willing to stretch their hard-earned dollars further can select from the Lexus LC convertible and the Mercedes E53 drop top.
BMW has no intention of giving up convertibles, and its latest creation proves the German automaker is fully committed to the cause.
The most popular competitors of 2022 BMW M4 Convertible: