Publisher's note: Normally, the cars you read about here at MikeHagertyCars.com are loaned to us by the press fleets of the various manufacturers for several days. Seven is typical. Occasionally, we'll get a longer period of time, and sometimes it'll only be three or four days. Our "30 Minutes With" series features cars we spent half an hour driving during this spring's Western Automotive Journalists Media Day in Half Moon Bay, California.
Needless to say, these are quick drives and brief impressions that we hope to be able to flesh out with a full review of the vehicle at some point in the near future.
Media Days is a driving program, with journalists taking cars from the staging area at our host hotel, the Aristocrat, down Highway 1 to Highway 84, onto Stage Road (named for the former stagecoach stop still---but barely---standing on the corner), past the historic (since 1889), socially-aware and only-in-Northern-California funky San Gregorio General Store, through some marvelous twists and turns that lead back to Highway 1 and ultimately back to the hotel.
At the hotel, support teams from Page One Automotive and DriveShop sanitize the vehicles as they return while journalists choose their next vehicle from a total of 20 cars, trucks and SUVs provided by their manufacturers. This goes on for eight hours on day one, minus a 90-minute lunch break, and for three hours on day two.
BMW brought two of its latest---and journalists were jockeying for their chance to get behind the wheel of the 2022 BMW M4 Competition xDrive Convertible.
Last summer, I professed my love for the BMW 430i Convertible (and my weakness for convertibles in general), but there's a big difference between these two similar-on-the-surface droptop Bimmers.
The 430i is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with rear wheel drive making 255 horsepower. It's a nice cruiser with athletic handling. The M4 Competition xDrive Convertible has a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged inline six-cylinder and all wheel drive. It has 503 horsepower---almost double that of the 430i. Sprints to 60 miles an hour from a standing start happen in just 3.6 seconds. Top speed is an electronically-limited 155 miles per hour, capable of being bumped to 174 (which would require speed-rated tires). And it's not all just engine. Choosing the M4 Competition brings an M Sport differential, adaptive M suspension, M compound 4-wheel ventilated anti-lock brakes, and dynamic stability control with M Dynamic mode. It is all wheel drive, but the differential can switch to pure rear-wheel drive mode. With a 7,200 rpm redline, the M4 Competition xDrive Convertible is a screamer. The engine note is intoxicating, and with the top down, you hear it clearly. You'll want to hear it more. Just know---the police can hear it too (CHP and San Mateo County Sheriff patrols increased along the drive route as the day went on, and I have no doubt that the M4 Competition xDrive was the siren call that brought them our way) and it absolutely will impact the EPA-estimated fuel economy of 16 city/23 highway.
It should be no surprise that none of this comes cheap. The base price of the 2022 BMW M4 Competition xDrive Convertible is $86,300. That brings all the mechanicals we discussed earlier, plus 19 and 20 inch bi-color wheels, a convertible wind deflector, auto-dimming mirrors, lumbar support, heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, M Sport seats and an anthracite headliner for when you put the soft top up (you have to sometime).
What should also be no surprise is that there were extra-cost options, and that, in the finest tradition of European sports and luxury makes in general and BMW in particular, they added up fast. In this case, $17,000 worth.
$550 went for the Isle of Man Green Metallic paint, $2,550 for the Kyalami Orange and black leather interior, $1,700 for the Drivers Assistance Pro package, $800 for the Parking Assistance package, $1,350 for the Executive package (remote engine start, heated steering wheel, Icon adaptive LED with LaserLight, head-up display, wireless charging and a Wi-Fi hotspot), $900 for M Drive Professional, $950 for carbon fiber trim, $650 for a neck warmer, $350 for ventilated front seats, $2,500 for the M Driver's package and $4,700 for the M Carbon Exterior package. With $995 destination charge, the as-tested price of the 2022 BMW M4 Competition xDrive Convertible is $104,295.
No, that's not a run-of-the-mill price tag, but then the 2022 BMW M4 Competition xDrive Convertible is not a run-of-the-mill car. Truly capable high-performance convertibles are rare. BMW has made one of the best ever.