Parting shot

Ballsy all-rounder bolts home, exhaust blaring

NATHAN PONCHARD

UP UNTIL the age of 24, four months was my record for a relationship. Itís that point where you really start to get to know someone and discover it ainít gonna work. Or they stumble across your collection of Cabbage Patch dolls and take off like the Concorde...

So, just a week past the four-month mark, the M4 and I departed ways. Not because it caught me vacuuming in a mankini or hated my tuna pasta but because BMW wanted it back. At which point I discovered that a press car with 10,925km on the clock doesnít just get a polish and a service before being sold off, it gets returned to Ďas it left the factoryí condition.

Unlike some of my car-journo colleagues, I loathe a dirty car, so the M4 was hardly a cesspit of kiddy crap and lolly wrappers, but I did breathe a slight sigh of relief not having to worry about it being parked in my narrow street any longer. That said, the only damage was a scuff on the front bumper and a cracked numberplate cover (see below).

What I will miss massively is the M4ís soundtrack. Not its high-rpm noise, which is a bit muffled and not up to the old atmo V8ís race-car wail, but the exhaustís fabulous, barky, guttural blare at low to medium speeds.

And itís in this environment that the F82 M4 truly soars over its E92 M3 predecessor.

All that torque, transferred via the joy and tactility of a great manual gearbox, made the M4 a supreme urban steed. Decent vision and a highly liveable ride, combined with superb seat comfort and support, was a recipe for effortless, yet still inspiring, commuting. And for most people, thatís what M4 ownership will be all about.

As a fitting farewell, though, I pointed the M4 down the Old Pacific Highway from Somersby to Mt Colah. Brilliant piece of road, formerly 100km/h its entire length though now ruined by ludicrous limits as low as 60, itís still sinuous enough to show off the M4ís cornering talents.

With Sport damping and steering, Sport Plus engine and M Dynamic stability-control modes

Trouble ahead for the M4

HAVENíT driven the new C63 AMG yet, but given how great its twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 is in the AMG GT, if I were BMW Iíd be worried. An all-new C-Class coupe is set to debut at Frankfurt in September, with an expected second-quarter 2016 on-sale date in Oz, including a C63 variant. Given that the M4 scored only a narrow victory over the old Edition 507 coupe in our comparo last year, despite the more textured feedback offered by the Benz, the next round may not play in Munichís favour.

OurGarage

selected, the M4 obliterated the Old Pac, at a higher speed than the lawmakers wouldíve appreciated. And even at an unstressed five- or six-tenths, the M4ís inherent handling poise, switched-on steering precision and stunning mid-range thrust were still palpable.

A pit stop at Pie in the Sky in Cowan provided a pertinent reminder of the history of this great road, and a reflection on the latent potential of the M4. Black-and-white pics of leaning FJs overtaking gutless Pommy shitboxes shows just how challenging Ė and how much fun when empty Ė this road used to be. But at full-lean in the M4, the velocities involved would be seriously stratospheric.

So what would I change about the M4? First, Iíd encourage more punters to buy the manual because it seriously makes the car. Second, Iíd love it if M Division could plumb some induction noise into the cabin at high revs so we could seriously enjoy the straight-six growl.

And finally, Iíd fill out a wish list of potential M3/M4 variants, including a Pure Edition coupe with a one-setting-fits-all approach, and a GTS version with an even harder focus.

Previously, Iíd hankered for the pumped M3 four-door over its coupe sibling, but having lived with the M4 for several months, I now prefer the two-door. Even with its long doors and 12.2m turning circle, we had little trouble getting along in tight spaces. And now that the M4 is no longer around, Iím gonna miss that exhaust note like expats do Aussie coffee.

MANUAL MODE

A sports car deserves a great manual, yet punters buy the dualclutch and miss out on so much of the M4ís character

BMW M4 COUPE

Date acquired: January 2015 Price as tested: $176,790 This month: 605km @ 10.6L/100km Overall: 2759km @ 12.2L/100km