As a motoring journalist you quickly get used to drawing a crowd when driving something really special. This normally only happens if the test car is something with a retail price of over R2 million, or a supercar from Italy.
You’d never expect an M4 to get this sort of attention. And yes, we’re talking about the GWM, not the new twin-turbo six-cylinder BMW. For the record, GWM claims that it used the name first, so, for once, it might be the Germans doing the copying and not the other way round.
Anyhow, back to the attention grabbing. The GWM M4 seems to get a lot of attention. I’ve been driving it for two days now and I keep on noticing people craning their necks to look at it and I’ve even had a few guys come up to me to ask some questions about it.
I’m 100% convinced that all this attention has to do with the styling, which is best described as windgat. I like it very much and I suspect the young people of today will feel the same.
The M4 also finds itself in a nice position, as market research has shown that the young people of today love the high driving position and aggressive styling of an SUV, but they also don’t want to pay too much for the privilege of owning such a thing.
Even so, the M4 might seem a tad expensive at R190 000, but you do get a lot to brag about at the price.
In addition to the eye-catching styling, you also get a radio/CD/MP3 player with USB and auxiliary ports, remote controls on the steering wheel and Bluetooth connectivity. The interior also looks nice and the quality is on par with other products in the same price bracket.
On the safety side you get dual front airbags, ABS with EBD and Isofix child seat anchors for the rear seats.
The same 1,5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine that does service in other GWM products powers the M4. It produces 77kw and 138Nm of torque, which isn’t much, but the M4 is smaller than it appears in pictures so it really doesn’t weigh all that much. It’s no BMW M4, but it never feels underpowered either.
Ride quality and refinement levels are perfectly acceptable. I got stuck in traffic for nearly two hours on the day it arrived here and afterwards I did not feel the need to amputate my left leg, or any other part of my body for that matter. The average person would be more than happy to live with the M4 on a daily basis.
Having said that, there are a few minor niggles. The boot is ridiculously tiny, the steering wheel doesn’t adjust for reach, the indicator stalk on our test unit simply refused to self-cancel a few times over the past two days and I don’t like those chrome decorations on the bonnet. They just cross that fine line between aggressive and just plain zef.
Other than that it’s been a nice car to live with. In my opinion it’s definitely worth looking at. It’s a rather nice alternative to buying a R200 000 hatch.