Purist petrolheads have been up in arms ever since it emerged that BMW's latest-generation M3 and M4 would swap the traditional high-revving, normally aspirated power plant for a smaller turbocharged alternative. But as it turns out, there was never any reason for concern: the new M4 delivers a performance car master class.
It's a crisp, clear winter's morning on the Highveld. The temperature is hovering at just above freezing, but parked right in the middle of the Kyalami racing circuit's Second Ess, there's nothing cold about the Austin Yellow BMW.
The car in question exudes an unmistakable aura of performance, expressed not only by the way the sheet metal seems stretched tautly over the wide, muscle-rippling frame, but also by the wheel arch-filling alloy wheels, the fat-footprint Michelin rubber, and the snarl of the cooling apertures below the trademark kidney grilles.
This is the new BMW M4, or more specifically, the coupé version of the latest-generation M3. The Bavarian marque's decision to designate even model numbers to all its two-door cars (2-Series, 4-Series, 6-Series) means that the two-door M-car now wears the M4 badge, while its four-door sibling retains the M3 designation.
Mechanically, the two cars are...