It doesn't feel like long ago we were expecting the BMW M4 as a then-new car, it feels now they're a completely established part of the M-car portfolio. There's no denying the new age of M-cars work particularly well, whilst many enthusiasts snubbed the 6 cylinder turbo route BMW took with the F platform I'm sure the time we've had with these platforms has allowed for that initial sour taste to pass. An extremely well balanced chassis coupled with a forceful drive-train makes for an exciting experience in either of these very capable cars from a drivers point of view. The M4 has everything a proper flagship of the range should and is right at home on the high class daily chart, as it is on a weekend track star chart. It was an absolute pleasure to have this car straight from the dealer and for as long as we did.
The M4 has a huge enthusiast following that was just getting traction when BMW dropped the highly anticipated M2, essentially a stub-nose M4 with less of the frills.. Whilst this model technically sits below the M4 in BMW's line up it's by no means the lesser car in my opinion. I was blown away by the drive of this car. It feels old, in the best way. It feels light and well pinned, noisy and a bit rude like cars from the late 80's. BMW have used less of everything in terms of trim and fittings but kept the level of magic the M4 has turn up to the same increment. Simple things like the shut of the door, the M2 is twice as loud so less sophisticated ? Yes. Rawer and more 'thugish'? Yes, and I loved every part of it.
I could rattle on about how great these two cars are, we received both of these mineral grey examples with factory miles to press on with.
We all know where this post is heading, after all you're on our blog, Studio Incar, it's what we do. The only area you can guarantee a BMW to lack, be that an M car or not is the stereo. It's completely reasonable to assume the Hifi department of BMW cars have 52 bank holiday weeks and only work Saturday mornings after a hard Friday night. Fortunately it seems someone did a little overtime and installed a link between these cars multi media systems and the cars MOST digital circuit, allowing us to extract a 'direct from source' signal, they threw us one bone, basically.
This digital link allows us to extract the signal from these cars systems in its highest quality, noiseless, digital signal. From here we do some coding and send the signal out to one of our supplied processor. In both of these cases the Audison Bit One processor. We know the Audison Bit One seems like its been around forever and there are new kids on the block, but can any of them spit digital CAT5E signal out to amplifiers to complete a full digital network minimising possible interference to zero and maximising resolution? We'll probably be waiting a while for the rest of the world to get on the format that should already be an industry standard.
Both of these car's had similar cabin area briefs, minimal if any modifications to factory panels/lines and utilising standard locations as best we can. The M4 having sail panels made and trimmed in alcantara to house the Hybrid Audio L1 pro dome tweeters that compliment the door fitted L4 carbon SE and under seat Gladen audio 8" midbass. The M2 has Hertz Mille legend 3" midrange in the doors and Mille legend tweeters in the factory tweeter mount, Again with a complimenting under seat midbass. Rear speakers are faded out on both.
The briefs for the boot area couldn't be further apart. The M2 was to follow an OEM theme whilst the M4 was to have us work at a very high level of display fabrication. Both excellent spec's that we welcome with open arms. The fit and finish of either needn't be in question, they just needed to be exacting in their finish.
Both car use Audison "Full DA" technology, brushed on earlier this is a CAT5E connection between the processor and amplifiers allowing the cleanest signal possible to reach the amplifiers from the processor, it's a particularly big deal for us that we keep signal transfer chains with as minimal links as possible be that digital or analogue.
The M4 uses Audison's flagship Thesis amplifiers, Two Thesis Quattros and one Av Uno on sub bass. The M2 uses Audisons high end AV Voce level amplifiers, 2 x Quattro, to run the front end an subwoofers.
A factory looking load cover was built for both systems to allow use of the boot space.
The sub box for each sits behind the rear seat panel, using the ski hatch access to pass bass through into the cabin. These are sealed of from the boot area in both cars. The M2 with a more subtle approach uses two Hertz Mille Legend 8" subwoofers in a sealed common enclosure. In the M4 Mark opted for two 13.5" JL Audio Tw5 subwoofer drivers, these work exceptionally well in platforms such as this, allowing a slim mount a shallow box can be made the width of the boot space minimising impact on the boot area and not sacrificing output. Great subwoofers.
Both cars utilise our WIFI streaming upgrade for High resolution audio streaming from supporting tablets and smart phones, in both of these cases Apple Carplay. It's worth noting that this is what we call an "indulgence source" for times when you're due to be in the car for a while, maybe a road trip where we want the highest levels of playback and don't have to play around with our devices whilst driving, a big no-no and not something we recommend with any hand held source. This option allows streaming of Airplay supporting devices to play back directly to the new system with no loss, it needs to be heard.
Up front we have the DRC controllers, the M2 using the conventional brushed aluminium DRC and the M4 using one of the new DRC-MP for more finite control of the system. Each is mounted in the front centre compartment (Can they be called ash-trays anymore?) with minimal to no modification in order to return each car to standard at request.
These take control of balance/fade/sub control in their most basic control. They also take care of multiple preset options (upto 4 different sound presets can be tuned in), control of volume in the digital and analogue domain depending on your selected source, switching of which it also takes care of. Small and discrete enough to be hidden behind lids, in pockets/panels but decent enough looking to be kept on display. We get a lot of enquiries about these controllers so it's worth us writing about what they do and why they're used with all of our systems.
The sound in these two cars has been brought right up to spec, further than you'll get in any factory system but deserved of these two fantastic platforms. Extensive tuning has been carried out and period return tuning as the speakers burn in to keep things in check.
Two exacting installs with the same end game of high level sound quality with two different outlooks in similar platforms. Confusing as it may seem, it's true and has been an utter pleasure as always to work on this great pair.
Questions can be sent to - firstname.lastname@example.org or you can call us for sales, booking and information on 01489 877987.
Following are a few images on our behalf by the fantastic Nick Williams of @NWVT fame, check him out!
As always, thanks for getting this far. All product and work in these pages are sold and taken care of in house, our installations are subject to a lifetime guarantee.
Shakey - Studio incar