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      07-01-2014, 08:36 AM   #1
karussell
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Detailed M4 Track Review - Back from Spa and Nurburgring

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Finally uncompressed a little after a very busy 2 week trip across the pond. I wanted to write my impressions on the car while everything is still fresh in my mind.

Background. I'm not biased towards any brand of auto. I evaluate all types of cars and the badge on them is the least of my concerns. its not even on the radar. I have however owned and driven and/or raced M3's from every generation up to the F82.

The F8X M3/M4 is the best BMW sports car I have ever driven. In fact I will say its my second favorite car I have ever driven. I am utterly shocked at how good this car is. The M3 has always been a jack of all trades but master of none. This new generation of M3/M4 however raises the bar so high it eliminates any reason for keeping a dedicated track car.

Not since the E30 M3 could you take a bone stock M car right off the production floor and onto a race track and expect it to perform lap after lap. Well the F82 M4 is classic M for motorsport and this is exactly what we were able to do with this car. I managed up to 12 back to back laps between Sabine and myself driving the car hard and there was never a problem with brake fade or overheating. in fact the car never reached the middle mark on the oil temp gauge throughout the day. A stock E92 M3 would be done on the 4th lap at this pace with a spongy brake pedal. Not only did the car endure the 12 laps of hell we put it through it repeatedly performed lap after lap of taxi rides throughout an 8 hour period. no cool down laps. drove in hot. maybe sat for a few minutes and then back out. absolutely the toughest conditions imaginable.

In classic M3 and in general BMW style the F8X begs to be pushed to the limit and excellently communicates that limit with the driver. As with all previous M3's you can push past the limit slightly and back dancing on a sine wave of slip angles and tire squealing. The difference now is that limit has been pushed far higher than any M car before it. At ludicrous speeds this car still begs to go faster. In a Porsche usually at these speeds you breath a sigh of relief that you survived. With the M4 you think well I think I can try that a little faster still. Every driving dynamic of the new M3/M4 is confidence inspiring. And I can't think of a better compliment for a sports car.

Electric Power Asssisted Steering - One of my previous concerns based on driving F30's. The steering on the new M3 is the most accurate and has the best feedback of any steering unit no matter how its assisted I have ever driven. If we call electric power steering digital then the F8X steering is High Definition. Porsche needs to rethink how they implemented the 991's steering feel which I previously thought was okay for electric. I haven't driven the new 991 GT3 yet but the standard 991 and S models cant hold a candle to the unit in this car.

F8X 9/10
E9X M 8/10

Manual Vs. DCT - DCT cars I have driven is better than ever. It still feels slower than the Manual to me however that may be just the gearing. Good system. Still I prefer 3 pedal. The manual on the new cars is greatly improved also over the E92 and E46. the clutch pedal feels like its weighted now. gear shifts are direct and not spongy. the lever could use a slightly shorter throw and some weight in the handle but my preference. seating position is optimal for shifting.

F8X
DCT - 8/10
Manual - 9/10

E9X M
DCT - 8/10
Manual - 7/10

Adaptive Suspension - I got to have a chat with a test engineer at the ring nearly a year ago. He told me the adaptive suspension would be very special on the new M3/M4. Its had so much development time and tuning on the ring with great help from the DTM drivers. It was the only real option I ordered on the car. I can say this suspension is a masterpiece of M engineering. no matter the surface or corner type or condition this suspension works. The car is always neutral even with the narrower front tires. I don't see the need or justification for any type of aftermarket suspension on this car other than for aesthetic purposes.

The adaptive suspension adjusts damping independently on each corner every 2.5ms using a variety of sensors. its also lighter than the standard steel shocks. where this comes into play the most is when you have something unexpected such as a slick area on a track, or you cross onto some smooth painted concrete. they say no lap is the same on the nordschleife. in a sense that case is true everywhere. this suspension had a lot of work put into it and feedback from DTM and F1 drivers. I wholeheartedly endorse them and i would wager its hard for any aftermarket company to come up with a suspension system that would show a tangible performance improvement over them without costing serious money and giving up the comfort for a street car.

F8X - 10/10
E9X M - 8/10

Engine - well the heart and the soul of a car is the engine and by far its the biggest contested item here and i heard the debate over and over in many languages over the past 2 weeks. my personal opinion is the new S55 is the best M motor ever. I do not miss the S65 at all. The new motor rips and snorts and is angry. there are pops when you lift off the throttle and hissing noises when you stand on it. the throttle response shouldn't even be called response. its throttle telepathy. acceleration is manic. someone told this engine its not worthy of being an M engine so its working overtime all the time to prove its worthy of the S designation. The noises inside and outside the cabin higher rpm is music to my ears. i guess quite literally since its also piped through the speakers...but i sure can't tell. it sounds pretty damn good on the outside too. turbo lag is non existent. the motor still loves to rev and if you aren't careful even in second gear in motion when you squeeze the throttle too quickly it will happily fishtail. 3rd gear chirps also possible. the car out accelerates a 997.1 Turbo in 3rd gear up ex-muhle which is a particularly important corner in the nordschleife. also in my brief impromptu tests with other drivers it pulls on a C63 quite easily and even manages to keep up to my friends F10 M5....however its by no means accurate. simply put the car is fast. E92 on the track at any corner at any speed should watch their mirrors for much faster traffic. The S65 has great throttle response in itself but with such a heavy platform and its lower torque I always found the E9X M a bit lethargic when compared to its predecessors.

F8X - 10/10
E9X M - 9/10


Brakes - stock lap after lap no fade. confidence inspiring. the ceramics are not needed. track work will need a slightly more aggressive pad than stock only because the stock pads will wear quickly with aggressive driving. modulation is superb. brake bias is slightly higher in rear than I prefer. rear end will wiggle when threshold braking. but i am just shocked to be talking about such minute things on oem Brake system for any BMW. the fact they work on multiple tracks back-to-back over several days is truly amazing. Porsche is no longer the sole king in the brake department.

F8X- 9.5/10
E9X M - 7/10

Overall - The maniacs at BMW M have created a masterpiece with the F8X M3/M4. It truly is an every day usable super car. They took every concern and complaint over the past model and the new technologies on this car, perfected them and then turned the dial to 11. I threw everything I could at this car and it asked for more every time. The only limitations I see the car has are the tires as it is begging for more width and stickier rubber and the speed limiter. throw in a set of endurance pads and the car is ready for 24 hours at your favorite race track.

F8X - 9.5/10 - would be higher but i need room for the CSL version!
E9X M - 8/10

My only request for BMW ///M now is to build an F82 CSL and sell them in the US please!

Additional Comments compiled from later posts

DSC On, MDM, DSC Off

After coaching several students I want to say MDM has been tuned so well. I am quite impressed at it. MDM allows for a decent amount of slip and intervenes when its really necessary. It certainly helps a right seat passenger feel more secure when guiding excited students through 4th gear turns. DSC On has to be relegated to just street driving now. It intervenes all the time on a track so I recommend to those learning to start with MDM but also be mindful its not magic. It can't save you from spinning off the course. so be smooth out there. DSC Off rocks. This car will happily drift a day and half non-stop.

Interior


Interior looked great for my tastes. The center console looked like the rest of the car. not at all cheap. but built well. it holds up to a 3 year old constantly jumping on it. i love the carbon fiber accents. all the car needs is some alcantara here an there and its perfect cabin.

Cloth seats are best! very grippy. feels very well built. good amount of butt scoot in the leather seat cars i have driven in. i noticed i'm bracing myself more in the leather seat cars.

I never liked the seat belt mechanical arms in the E92. Then I got in my F82 and with my preferred seating position i had to learn a new way to bend my arm backwards to get the belt. I still prefer simple solutions to problems like this however. would be nice to have a tab on the seat to hold the belt.


Throttle Blip

Auto throttle blip I really don't like and wish it had a separate deactivation button. i would prefer to use the normal throttle mode without it rev matching for me.

HUD
Personally I think the HUD is distracting. I don't see the benefit of it at all on track. nav instructions in gauge cluster on non-HUD which is very handy. I would not order HUD even if it was stand alone option.

I need more time sitting in right seat with drivers using their HUD but I think they are less smooth because no matter how subtle it is their focus is diverted momentarily from driving to looking at the info flashing in front of them. its not connect the dots and every corner will be slightly different each time around.

Streetability
the car is so entertaining to drive. and its fun on a nice country road at normal speeds too. don't worry about it being too much for you. the m3 has always been a companion rather than an adversary when it comes to driving. its very forgiving and a good teacher in the way it communicates precisely whats going on up front and out back. The hooligan gene is definitely present in this car though

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Last edited by karussell; 07-07-2014 at 03:01 PM.
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      07-01-2014, 08:48 AM   #2
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Note on DSC On/Off MDM

After coaching several students I want to say MDM has been tuned so well. I am quite impressed at it. MDM allows for a decent amount of slip and intervenes when its really necessary. It certainly helps a right seat passenger feel more secure when guiding excited students through 4th gear turns. DSC On has to be relegated to just street driving now. It intervenes all the time on a track so I recommend to those learning to start with MDM but also be mindful its not magic. It can't save you from spinning off the course. so be smooth out there. DSC Off rocks. This car will happily drift a day and half non-stop. omg i miss my car! i hope mine gets on the faster boat across the pond!
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      07-01-2014, 08:52 AM   #3
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a glowing review from someone who has owned some amazing cars and tracks them. thanks for the write-up.
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      07-01-2014, 08:55 AM   #4
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That's good to read that the standard breaks are okay for the track days, so waiting for the Pagid pads + better track tires and it will work good!
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      07-01-2014, 09:01 AM   #5
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Great review and nice read. You have much more insight than I do on this. I didn't think the "actual" weight difference was really that much. Sounds like its significant. Maybe different power delivery and chassis amplifies the weight difference even more?

Quote:
Originally Posted by karussell View Post
The S65 has great throttle response in itself but with such a heavy platform and its lower torque I always found the E9X M a bit lethargic when compared to its predecessors.
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      07-01-2014, 09:02 AM   #6
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Amazing review, July 8th cant get here fast enough.
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      07-01-2014, 09:13 AM   #7
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great review, thank you

can you outline your driving / track experience for those here who don't know. it would be helpful to put your comments in context.

it is KILLING me that I don't have one of these

hopefully in a year or so........
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      07-01-2014, 09:19 AM   #8
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Coming from you, that is quite an endorsment of the F8X M3/4

I am impressed about your comments on the stock brakes. So much abuse on stock pads and they survived...

Regarding gear ratios, IIRC they are very similar this time around between the DCT and 6MT. The extra gear on the F8X DCT essentially only provides an additional overdrive rather than be leveraged for tighter ratios as it was the case on the E9X. Its interesting that you feel that the 6MT is quicker, I have been speculating for a while that the increased losses and weight of the DCT slows it down compared to a 6MT. The DCT then makes up for it through faster shifts.

Thanks for sharing. I can't wait to get mine

Last edited by CanAutM3; 07-01-2014 at 10:49 AM.
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      07-01-2014, 09:27 AM   #9
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This is the feedback I was really hoping someone would post, thank you. Although I am still not completely sold on the brakes.
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      07-01-2014, 09:35 AM   #10
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Excellent write up.

As kennypowers noted, it would quiet the inevitable debbie downers if you added (as an edit/postscript?) a short summary of your track and driving experience.
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      07-01-2014, 09:57 AM   #11
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Wow James, this is indeed high praise!

I am looking forward to playing in the rallye environment -- any thoughts on the extent to which the F8x will perform in the dirt?
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      07-01-2014, 09:59 AM   #12
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Wow, comprehensive and detailed review. Many thanks for taking the time to write and post

Only problem is I'm picking my car up in 3 days time and am now even more excited

Edit: just out of interest you said this was the 2nd best car you've ever driven- what was no1?!
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      07-01-2014, 10:01 AM   #13
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So for those of you that don't know Karussell here is an intro:

http://f80.bimmerpost.com/forums/sho...light=chambers
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      07-01-2014, 10:05 AM   #14
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I get that the new F8X is good but its essentially from folks who have bought the car and will be paying for it over the next couple of years.

I get the feeling that these reviews are a way to justify your purchases.
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      07-01-2014, 10:20 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tornrider View Post
I get that the new F8X is good but its essentially from folks who have bought the car and will be paying for it over the next couple of years.

I get the feeling that these reviews are a way to justify your purchases.


...and this is exactly what I was hoping to avoid.

Anyway, a few points:

(1) It should be obvious that most reviews will be done by people who purchased the car - and those will be the substantive ones. People who purchased the car are the ones with the most seat time. Otherwise, all we get are some "I drove it for 15 minutes, here are my test drive comments" reviews (and there are plenty of those too). But they won't be as detailed and, thus, get much less attention.

(2) There are two ways to react to positive reviews. One, they review it well because they want to justify their purchase. Two, they review it well because it is a good car.

Now I am a professional cynic and skeptic, so I get trending to option one, but having read likely every single professional review (in addition to those on this forum) I think it is safe to say that it is a really good car.

Whether it is the best ever is not something that can be objectively measured or that will be decided by people on this forum, but there surely cannot be anyone out there who doesn't say this is a great performance car.
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      07-01-2014, 10:25 AM   #16
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Great review! Thanks.
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      07-01-2014, 10:30 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tornrider View Post
I get that the new F8X is good but its essentially from folks who have bought the car and will be paying for it over the next couple of years.

I get the feeling that these reviews are a way to justify your purchases.
Seriously, wtf is up with people on these forums? Yeah thats it, the guy is stuck with a car and has to justify the purcahse lol. GTFO and go to the car forums you enjoy, the man took the time to write a very good and detailed review and it comes from a member that has a long standing history with some great sports cars. Wtf is in it for him?
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      07-01-2014, 10:33 AM   #18
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Thanks Jim! A good follow up to the trip!

To those who may question the write-up, Karussell's review is one of the few you should trust. Why? How many other reviews are actual race car drivers and have competed in the 24hrs of Nurburgring?

My skill level is laughable compared to his, but over the 1400 miles I put on mine I echo his praise. My only complaint is that the cabin is a bit loud over 90mph, but that shouldn't matter to anyone who doesn't live in Germany.
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      07-01-2014, 10:40 AM   #19
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      07-01-2014, 10:42 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew115 View Post
Great review and nice read. You have much more insight than I do on this. I didn't think the "actual" weight difference was really that much. Sounds like its significant. Maybe different power delivery and chassis amplifies the weight difference even more?
Car and Driver just weighed an M4 at 3570 lbs IIRC. Essentially the same weight as the E92.
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      07-01-2014, 10:42 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oakleyguy View Post
Thanks Jim! A good follow up to the trip!

To those who may question the write-up, Karussell's review is one of the few you should trust. Why? How many other reviews are actual race car drivers and have completed in the 24hrs of Nurburgring?

My skill level is laughable compared to his, but over the 1400 miles I put on mine I echo his praise. My only complaint is that the cabin is a bit loud over 90mph, but that shouldn't matter to anyone who doesn't live in Germany.
^^^^My name is Suave and I fully endorse and second this message!^^^^^
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      07-01-2014, 10:44 AM   #22
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Thanks so much for the review. Considering your level of expertise, this is very surprising. I honestly didn't think you'd like the car on paper.

I'll have to agree with the brakes. The feel is SUPERB. Totally matching the 991S that my buddy has. The only thing I didn't know was whether it would fade or not.

Adaptive suspension was not something I considered because I almost never use EDC on my car. I might have to review that.
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