BMW M4 Problems: 6 Common Issues (Explained)

The BMW M4 is a beloved modern muscle car, built for style and performance. Owners are enamored with its mix of power and beauty.

Even with all of the lovable attributes of this vehicle, there are some disadvantages to be aware of so that you can keep your car performing at its peak.

Below you’ll find the most common issues associated with the BMW M4 along with tips for addressing them.

Check also: BMW M5 – typical problems explained


1. There’s a Smell of Burning Oil and Fluids Leaking Beneath the Car

Several M4 owners have discovered they have an oil leak.

Usually, it becomes apparent due to high oil consumption but it might show up through a burning smell or seeing fluids beneath the vehicle.

Having an oil leak isn’t an uncommon thing, but it is something you want to take care of quickly.

Your car’s engine oil plays a vital role in how the vehicle runs. When it leaks, it can create several issues in the engine.

If you notice that your BMW M4 is leaking oil, it’s likely due to either an issue with the valve cover and gasket or with the oil pan gasket.

What’s Wrong With My Valve Cover and Valve Cover Gasket?

The BMWs that come with the S55 engine have been known to have valve covers and valve cover gaskets that crack.

This typically happens because the seals quickly wear down at high temperatures.

When this occurs, you’ll notice an oil leak. You’ll probably also smell something burning and might notice some smoke.

This particular issue often shows up between 20,000 and 50,000 miles. You can easily address this issue by replacing these parts.

Why Are There Leaks in the Oil Pan Gasket?

If you notice these leaks over 100,000 miles, it is most likely due to a worn-out or damaged oil pan gasket. However, it is possible for it to happen before you reach that mileage marker.

The oil pan gasket also cracks over time like your valve cover gasket, eventually leading to oil leaks. And like that gasket, you can fix a worn-out oil pan gasket simply by replacing it.

It’s best to take your M4 to a mechanic so that they can pinpoint the exact issue.

You don’t want to spend money replacing the oil pan gasket if it’s your valve cover gasket – or vice versa.

A mechanic can help ensure you put your money towards the correct issue.

2. Malfunctioning AC System

Some owners notice that their AC system stops working properly.

For some, it might stop forcing air out at all.

In other cases, it might only force out air in one setting. For example, it might blow air out on low but not on medium or high.

If this is the case, it’s likely due to a failing final stage fan resistor.

Typically, this failure is due to overheating but can sometimes be due to corrosion.

To get your air conditioning system back to operating properly, you’ll just need to replace this resistor.

3. Vehicle Shakes and Turns Off On Its Own

Some M4 owners have noticed some unsettling characteristics of their beloved cars. One of the most common is the car beginning to shake out of nowhere.

Another is that the vehicle sometimes cuts off when it’s idling or put in “Drive.” This can be a bit alarming but typically nothing to fear.

At times, they notice that the transmission seems to get stuck in one gear.

All of these are indicators of a Drivetrain Malfunction. Such a malfunction can occur for several reasons, including:

  • Weak battery
  • Worn-out spark plugs
  • Lack of adequate pressure coming from the fuel pump
  • Low-quality fuel
  • Damaged fuel injectors
  • Misfire due to a failed ignition coil
  • Failed catalytic converter, which is more common in high mileage vehicles

Many owners find that pulling over safely and restarting their engines takes care of the problem – at least temporarily. However, you don’t want to stop with a temporary fix.

To ensure you address any issues within the Drivetrain properly, consider investing in a BMW Scanner. You can plug it in and get codes specific to the issues in your vehicle.

Typically, owners will notice a Drivetrain Malfunction error on their screen prior to these issues.

Once you notice a Drivetrain Malfunction error, make an appointment with your BMW dealer. They can help ensure that your vehicle stays operating smoothly.

4. Fuel Efficiency and Performance Are Low

Some BMW M4 owners find that they’re suddenly paying out more for fuel than before, that their car seems to be overheating, or that the vehicle just isn’t performing as well as before.

These issues can be frustrating, but they don’t have to be permanent or cause a high repair bill.

And you don’t have to sell your car to get rid of them.

More often than not, these types of issues are due to a failure of the thermostat. And it either fails in an opened position or a closed one.

If it fails in an open position, the coolant will constantly flow. This can lead to a decrease in horsepower as well as poor fuel efficiency.

It usually takes a while for the vehicle to heat up.

If it fails in the closed position, the coolant is not able to flow, which leads to the engine overheating.

People typically notice this issue more quickly, as the needle lets them know it’s running hot.

Regardless of which position it has failed in, the solution is the same: replace the thermostat.

5. Seatbelts Don’t Seem to Be Locking Properly

Some BMW M4s were built with faulty automatic locking retractors in the front seatbelts, leaving drivers and passengers without proper protection.

Fortunately, BMW is well aware of the problem and issued a recall for these parts.

If you notice that your seatbelts aren’t locking, head to your local BMW dealer immediately for them to inspect and address the issue.

6. ABS With Braking Assistance Functioning Improperly

There have been some complaints about the ABS and braking assistance functions not working as they are supposed to should a driver need to brake hard.

This issue does not affect mechanical braking – only assisted braking.

The problem seems to be due to a lack of proper welding in the rotor and shaft, which can lead to complete failure of the ABS.

BMW has recognized this issue itself through testing and has announced a voluntary recall for BMW M4s built from 2019 to 2021 along with other BMW models.

This recall is set to cover a full replacement of the integrated braking system at no cost to the owners.

If you own a 2019 to 2021 M4, you should receive information on the recall in the mail.

If you do not receive it, take your vehicle to your local BMW dealer as soon as you can anyway.

General Pros and Cons of the BMW M4


There’s not a single perfect car out there, but the BMW M4 is as close to perfect as possible for many drivers. Take a look at the pros and cons below to determine if it’s a good vehicle for you.


Below are some of the most important advantages to consider.

1. Built With Performance in Mind

The latest BMW M4 was designed with a 6-cylinder, TwinPower Turbo engine to provide up to 473 HP – but even the older models have their own claim to performance fame.

Owners love the precision and the smooth feel that this powerhouse provides.

A favorite among performance car lovers is the ability to easily change the suspension, shifting, and more.

2. Incredible Combination of Muscle and Style

Owners of the M4 love its sleek, stylish design wrapped around the incredible power of a muscle car.

Everything from the grille and headlights to the beautiful paintwork makes it perfect for a night on the town.

Yet, it can take to corners like a master when you’re ready for an adventure.

No matter where your day takes you, your M4 is a great companion.

3. Impressive Features for Your Convenience, Safety, and Entertainment

While style and power are certainly important, BMW didn’t stop there. Instead, they added multiple features, including but not limited to:

  • 16 speaker surround sound system
  • SiriusXM Satellite Radio
  • 12.3” digital cluster and 10.25” information display
  • Bluetooth technology
  • Rain-sensing windshield wipers
  • Automatic headlights
  • Heated front seats
  • Rollover protection system
  • Active Driving Assistant with safety features like Lane Departure Warning and Active Blind Spot Detection

Features do vary by the year of the M4, but BMW has never ceased to impress. They have always offered great features, but they certainly get better over time.


The most common disadvantages of the M4 include:

  • Oil leaks, causing a burning smell
  • Worn out oil pan gaskets
  • Worn out valve cover gasket
  • Malfunction air conditioning system
  • Sudden shaking
  • Malfunctioning Drivetrain
  • Poor fuel efficiency and performance due to a failed thermostat
  • Improperly locking seatbelts

What Do the Reviews Say?

“The BMW M4 Competition is truly the Ultimate Driving Machine! Well balanced vehicle with the perfect balance of looks, luxury and power.”


“High quality leather and carbon fiber interior combined with 11.3 second quarter mile, outstanding handling and brakes. Best infotainment I’ve seen on any car. No other car in this price range matches it.”


What’s the Resale Value of the BMW M4?

There is no set resale value on the BMW M4, as it can depend on various factors. These include your location and the condition of your vehicle.

However, the following are some examples of resale prices for BMW M4s according to the mileage and the year.

Year Mileage Price
2015 59,693 $45,990
2016 35,883 $48,990
2017 45,104 $52,990
2018 34,073 $55,990
2019 51,418 $59,999
2020 9,249 $72,997
2021 6,000 $84,698
2022 4,185 $88,590

Check also: Problems for every BMW model

Final Thoughts

When shopping for your next car, it’s important to realize that you’ll never find the “perfect” car. You can, however, find one that’s perfect for you.

The key is to determine what exactly you’re looking for.

The BMW M4 has an incredible performance engine with a sleek look that’s hard to beat.

It’s great for everyday use, adventurous road trips, and date nights. However, it’s probably not the best option for a family vehicle.

Though the M4 comes with some disadvantages, they can all be addressed without too much effort.

Using this guide can help you be aware of the potential issues before they arise. That way, you’re not caught off guard and you know how to respond if they occur.


Carmax / BMW M4 Customer Reviews and Ratings / 2021 BMW M4 Consumer Reviews

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ⓘ  The information in this article is based on data from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recall reports, consumer complaints submitted to the NHTSA, reliability ratings from J.D. Power, auto review and rating sites such as Edmunds, specialist forums, etc. We analyzed this data to provide insights into the best and worst years for these vehicle models.