The looks of the BMW M4 G82 may have been controversial at launch, but with a raft of bespoke carbon fiber upgrades, Carbonwurks has created something staggeringly beautiful. 

It’s the exhaust modifications that first catch the eye on. The polarizing grille may be the standout feature of the BMW M4 G82 to some, but we’ve never been ones to chase clichés. Besides, there’s an element of this M4 that’s even more noteworthy, something that gives it a real hard-edged character: the exhaust. And we’re not talking about the other-worldly noises it makes (imagine a banshee gargling with gravel), but the look.

Modders and enthusiasts of a certain age will fondly recall how the exhaust was the defining feature of a build, back in the “good old days”. Bigger was better, and the classic 3” outlet was an absolute minimum – ideally, you wanted at least 4”, arranged in a bank of pipes like a machine gun battery, or splayed out at 90° like a TVR Sagaris, or some other manner of madcap layout. The diagonal quad outlets on this Carbonwurks BMW M4 pay tribute to the all-about-the-pipes era in fine style.

front on portrait shot of carbonwurks bmw m4

But you know what they say about first impressions. Yes, those Quicksilver pipes are devastatingly cool, but there’s another story that dominates this car’s presence. Something that elevates it above the factory-spec M4s out there and sets a new blueprint for how these machines ought to look. Daniel McKenzie is here to talk us through it all; he’s the man holding the keys and the Company Director of Carbonwurks (@carbonwurks), and this BMW is the latest showcase of all the magnificent things that this innovative company can achieve.

quad exhaust setup on carbonwurks bmw m4

Decision to modify the BMW M4 G82

It’s not a solely corporate endeavor, though. Yes, this car exists as a shop window for the company’s G82 upgrade range, but it means more than that to Daniel. As a dyed-in-the-wool BMW fan with a racer’s heart, this is the latest in a long line of Bavarian passion projects.

“Throughout my whole life, I’ve always taken to BMWs,” he assures us. “The way they look and the way they drive are like nothing else. A proper driver’s car, even in a safety-critical era. My first car was a 116i, which I was given as part of a sponsorship deal when I used to race in a BMW championship. While that was very slow, it started me down that path, and it’s been a slippery slope of BMWs since then.”

Indeed, sharing driveway space with this Carbonwurks BMW M4 at the moment are a 2021 X5 M50i and a 2022 i3S, and an M3Touring is arriving very soon. And as you might imagine, staying stock isn’t really something that happens in this household.

side profile shot of carbonwurks bmw m4

Serial modifier

“Every single car or vehicle I’ve ever owned has been modified,” he laughs, the sentiment no doubt striking a chord with the vast majority of readers. “There is just something about making a car unique that ticks the box for me. As a company, we are constantly buying and developing cars to produce carbon fiber parts, and we’ve had some pretty cool ones over the years, including an M2 Comp, F82 M4, F90 M5, Audi TT Mk2, Mercedes A45, Tesla Model 3 and an Audi R8 V10 Plus. All of these cars were completely tuned and modified from the exterior to the engine and interior. A couple of years ago, I got into motorbikes as well, and have started to tune and launch carbon fiber on them at an alarming rate…”

rear facing shot of carbonwurks bmw m4

Awkward front end

The acquisition of a G82 was a bit of a no-brainer, then? “Yes, absolutely – it made perfect sense for the current M4 to be a development car for Carbonwurks,” Daniel continues. “Although initially, they got a bit of a bad rep for the front end, the car has grown on me to the point where I love the way it looks and am amazed at how well it drives. I’m going to put this out there: the G82 is one of the best-driving BMWs ever. I will await some controversy on that comment!”

Well, it’s a big call, but, on several levels, it’s a tough one to argue with. And Daniel should know, as every single BMW that’s passed through his hands has been enjoyed to the fullest. This isn’t just a cynical case of buying cars to forensically analyze their dimensions and formulate upgraded parts. It’s about integrating the machines into one’s own lifestyle to understand a holistic viewpoint of what ownership desires may entail. And true to the traditional new-wave M-car ownership experience, he had to jump through a few hoops to land this car.

Interior shot of carbonwurks bmw m4

Buying the G82 M4 and planning modifications

At the time of purchase, the official waiting list for the G82 M4 was around eight months, but time waits for no man, and Daniel was keen to get the ball rolling, so instead, he opted to find a good used one. The right car blipped onto his radar as a fully-optioned example owned by a BMW sales director; it had just 1500 miles on the clock and was pretty factory-fresh aside from a couple of stone chips. And so, with an outstanding base sourced, it was game on for makeover time.

“The plan from the outset was to completely overhaul it with carbon fiber and create something a bit different,” says Daniel. “The Carbonwurks BMW M4 has been treated to our full carbon pack, including the CSL front grille and spoiler, front bumper vents, front canards, side breather, side skirts, door mirrors, flow-through boot spoiler, rear diffuser, rear winglets, rear reflectors, engine cover and fusebox cover. The carbon was mostly developed by the time we got the car, so within the first three months, it was completely disassembled and re-assembled with carbon. The lowering springs were also one of the first things to go on while we were working on some of the other parts.”

front wheels on g82 m4

No need for an alloy wheel upgrade

Ah yes, because the stance and the rolling stock are all important, and the Carbonwurks team employed a little lateral thinking. While it may seem like swapping on a set of aftermarket wheels would be the obvious first move for any project, the decision was made that actually the standard-fit 19” 825M alloy wheels were cool enough in their own right.

So instead, they’ve been refinished in a custom copper/gold, which they picked out from a tranche of around 300 different shades, before adding some 15mm spacers and a set of AST Performance lowering springs, which provide an OEM-like level of ride quality while helping to hunker the body down.

rear 3/4 landscape shot of g82 m4

Choosing the color

“We undertook all of the styling of this car, and although the choice of going for carbon was a fairly simple one, it took some time to work out what the best color was for both the wheels and also the vinyl,” says Daniel. “Our company theme is darker-colored cars, but not so dark as to hide the carbon fiber we put on the builds.

After months of going back and forth, we decided on this Frozen Grey, which is very similar to what BMW offers as a factory option. Big thanks to UTWS for the wrap, they did a mega job! And as for the interior – well, the cabin of the latest G8x model cars is pretty well sorted from the factory; this M4 has the carbon fiber buckets and the carbon interior trim, along with the extended leather options. We did go for some additional Alcantara touches with the armrest and knee pads and also some extra carbon on the door sill entry points.”

modified engine bay in carbonwurks bmw m4

Carbonwurks BMW M4 performance mods

Needless to say, the performance of the BMW M4 is pretty astonishing in factory form as we found out in our M3 vs M4 review, and the aim here was to augment and enhance rather than radically rework. “I didn’t want to go too wild on the engine performance side of things, as they pack a punch from the factory – and this car still retains its warranty,” Daniel explains.

“On the performance side, we have upgraded the air intake with an MST Performance induction kit which sounds great, along with a downpipe-back exhaust system, removing the GPFs, that we developed alongside Quicksilver Exhausts. This is paired with the Sound Architect system, which overrides the OEM valves, giving a much better range of control – and, of course, noise! We decided against remapping this car as we felt it had plenty of power and retains its warranty with what we have done. Big thanks to Quicksilver for their continued support and work with us over the years.”

steering wheel in g82 m4

Carbonwurks BMW M4 Verdict

From start to finish, the journey from stock to shock has taken around 15 months, which is a pretty incredible turnaround for such a transformative set of upgrades. Everywhere you look, you see attractive pieces of superlative quality, every individual element adding up to a remarkable and desirable whole. So what’s Daniel’s favorite bit? “Oh, that’s a really tough question!” he laughs. “Each of these parts plays a big role in completing the look.

Personally, however, I’d say the rear diffuser and exhaust combo is incredible. It may divide opinions, but I think it not only looks great but sounds amazing, too.” Yes, we’d be inclined to agree. Whether or not you grew up in the 90s/early 00s, the magnificently wild rear-end treatment provides a multi-sensory overload. Loud pipes save lives, or so the old saying goes – and the outstanding carbon aesthetic on display here is giving us all life.

rear 3/4 shot of carbonwurks bmw m4

Photos: Rich Pearce.