BMW M4 2014 review
Peter Anderson road tests and reviews the 2014 BMW M4, with specs, fuel consumption and verdict.
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Porsche's design icon handles the school and shop chores - and relishes the roads less travelled.
Making the daily duties more amusing is one way to reclassify them. For trips to the shops and hardware store (less of a chore), or the school run on the way to the office, a vehicle needs a bit of cargo and crew space.
None of these chores will rank high on the grin factor scale - unless the chariot of choice is something from Stuttgart with two doors and two turbos, four driven wheels and four (just) seats, propelled by a flat-six engine in the rear. Combine these and you have the design icon that is the Porsche 911 Turbo.
Getting down and into this little coupe, with its broad hips and muscled flanks, the driver might expect a hyperactive, temperamental machine that strains at the leash when in suburban traffic.
It's anything but - it's almost docile, with its dual-clutch auto seamlessly swapping cogs and the stop-start smoothly killing the engine to save fuel.
It might seem incongruous given the twin-turbo flat six is punching out 520 horsepower in the old currency, but its thirst is inversely proportional to the performance.
The trip computer remained in the teens throughout our time in the Turbo, finishing at 13.0L/100km despite plenty of provocation and metro running - in the same conditions, a Golf GTI recently returned 11.0L and a Toyota Kluger 14.0L.
Wrestling the young son's booster seat into the back seat is akin to doing a yoga class but once installed, the little prince was perfectly content - if snug - behind his older sister, who was similarly cosy for legroom.
But ride quality meant the school run was completed with no complaints of the jarring ride - if anything compliments were paid for the car's demeanour despite 20-inch wheels wrapped in 30 and 35-profile rubber.
They didn't mind a few solid prods on the throttle either - purely for merging seamlessly with the traffic of course.
Bootspace for bags of books or groceries - 115L in the nose is useful without being enormous - and there's space in the cabin. Get a Cayenne if you want to deal with cargo.
Rare blue skies presented. Once students were deposited, the coupe had its nose pointed towards the hills and roads less travelled.
Sport mode button pressed, the coupe comes alive - the first series of corners renews the love of a 911's steering, now electric and devoid of the wriggle of its forebears, but still very tactile.
Now there is also rear-wheel steering and it's astonishing what sort of lateral force the driver can feel through his neck without any apparent strain on the vehicle - I wish I could drive well enough to truly exploit the abilities of this machine.
The tombstone buckets don't look comfortable or heavily bolstered, yet manage to avoid numb-bum and keep the occupant well located.
The full force of the twin-turbo flat-six borders on terrifying, prompting more than a tinge of adrenalin. Getting a fast flow through a series of bends isn't difficult - the toughest thing is resisting the temptation to turn around and do it all again.
The new Turbo benefits from the rear wheels' ability to turn against or with the front wheels. Up to 50km/h, the rear wheels steer in the opposite direction to the fronts, sharpening response; above 80km/h, the rears turn in the same direction, aiding high-speed stability.
For the record, it's a $366,500 proposition, inflated by the addition of the Sport Chrono package for $9680 (which adds a few trinkets and overboost to punch torque up for short bursts), a sunroof for $3890, $2190 worth of seat ventilation and electric-folding exterior mirrors for $690 - bringing the Turbo to $382,950 as tested.
But Porsche packs in plenty - it weighs 1595kg and sits on a platform built from aluminium and steel, with plenty of aluminium panels, super-smart all-wheel drive, the active rear steering, adaptive aerodynamics and LED headlights.
Two variable-geometry turbochargers on the flat-six engine team up to produce 383kW between a manic 6000rpm and feral 6500rpm. Maximum torque of 660Nm is spread from a burbly 1950rpm to a ferocious 5000rpm.
With the Sport Chrono package that rises to 710Nm on overboost between 2100rpm and 4250rpm when in Sport Plus mode.
It drinks 98 RON from a smallish 68-litre tank but at a far more frugal rate than you'd expect - fuel consumption is down by 16 per cent on its predecessor to a claimed 9.7L/100km. Not bad for a supercar that can hit 100km/h in 3.2 seconds (200km/h in 10.8), on to 315km/h.
Epic. A lot of money for a car. A lot of car for the money.
|Carrera||3.4L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO||$111,980 – 128,700||2014 Porsche 911 2014 Carrera Pricing and Specs|
|Carrera 4||3.4L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO||$119,570 – 137,390||2014 Porsche 911 2014 Carrera 4 Pricing and Specs|
|Carrera 4 S||3.8L, PULP, 7 SP MAN||$134,420 – 154,550||2014 Porsche 911 2014 Carrera 4 S Pricing and Specs|
|Carrera S||3.8L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO||$129,800 – 149,160||2014 Porsche 911 2014 Carrera S Pricing and Specs|