Inevitably, though, it lacks the outright aural intensity of the unit it replaces, despite the inclusion of Active Sound Design, which reproduces the sound of the M4 coupé’s new six-cylinder through the audio speakers at various volumes and frequencies based on engine revs, throttle load and speed.
With two mono-scroll turbochargers, variable valve timing and continuously variable camshaft control, it revs quite freely, extending to 7600rpm before the onset of the limiter. This is quite high by turbocharged engine standards, but 600rpm less than the old naturally aspirated engine achieved.
The optional dual-clutch automatic gearbox provides the M4 coupé with the ease of usability to match its fervent on-boost accelerative ability, leading to a highly impressive set of performance figures: 0-62mph in 4.1sec and the standing kilometre, now very much accepted as the modern day acceleration yardstick, in 22.2sec. This is a respective 0.5sec and 0.7sec faster than the old M3 coupé.
As a further indicator of just how much the new engine has transformed the performance, BMW claims the M4 coupé is capable of accelerating from 50mph to 75mph in fourth gear in just 3.5sec. By comparison, the M3 coupé required 4.3sec. Top speed remains limited to 155mph, although buyers can have it raised to 174mph with an optional M Driver’s package.
It is not just the sheer potency of its straight-line acceleration and heaving in-gear qualities that makes the new BMW M4 coupé so exciting to drive hard, though. Few cars anywhere near the £56,635 starting price of the M4 provide such dynamic finesse or engaging qualities. There is a perceptible completeness to the engineering of its chassis that serves to provide the new M-car with a wonderfully fluid feel over challenging sections of blacktop.
Directional stability is exceptional, even at very high speeds. The electro-mechanical steering system also delivers excellent response, impressive directness and more constant weighting through its entire range than the old hydraulic arrangement it replaces. It could do with a little more feedback, but with Sport or Sport+ modes engaged, it delivers suitably urgent turn-in traits.
The front end offers exceptional grip without any premature breakaway provided the surface is relatively smooth. With stability clutch control, which opens the clutches when sensors detect the loss of imminent traction and briefly reduces power to bring the car back on line, it resists understeer in a masterful manner, resulting in wonderfully neutral properties even in tight second-gear corners.
Body control is also superb, providing the new M-car with a reassuringly flat cornering nature even when you begin to nibble at the very last remnants of available purchase. There is a wonderfully composed feel to the handling all the way up to the point where the dynamic stability control (DSC) intervenes.
This is partly down to it boasting a lower centre of gravity than the car it replaces, but, I suspect, more because of the work that has gone into providing its largely bespoke suspension with ultra-stiff anchoring points.
BMW M division’s decision to provide it with a new steel rear suspension sub-frame that bolts directly to the body structure without any rubber bushings gives the M4 tremendous on-the-limit clarity. The lines of communication are amplified to a whole new level, revealing its willingness to oblige beyond the dynamic boundaries of the M3 coupé.