2020 BMW M4 vs. 2019 Ford Shelby GT350

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The M4 has standard City Collision Mitigation, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The Shelby GT350 doesn't offer collision warning or crash mitigation brakes.

The BMW M4 has Daytime Running Lights to help keep it more visible under all conditions. Canadian government studies show that driving with lights during the day reduces accidents by 11% by making vehicles more conspicuous. The Shelby GT350 doesn’t offer Daytime Running Lights.

The M4’s lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane. The Shelby GT350 doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The M4 offers an optional Side and Top View Cameras to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Shelby GT350 only offers a rear monitor.

Both the M4 and the Shelby GT350 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, rearview cameras and available blind spot warning systems.

Warranty

The M4 comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Shelby GT350’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

The M4’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the Shelby GT350’s (12 vs. 5 years).

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the M4 for 3 years and 36,000 miles. BMW will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Ford doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Shelby GT350.

Reliability

The battery on the M4 is in the trunk, which protects it from hot underhood temperatures that can degrade battery life. By keeping the M4’s battery 20 to 30 degrees cooler, its life is increased by years. The Shelby GT350’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Ford vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 7th in reliability, above the industry average. With 24 more problems per 100 vehicles, Ford is ranked 16th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Ford vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks BMW 10 places higher in reliability than Ford.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the M4 Coupe gets better fuel mileage than the Shelby GT350:

MPG

M4 Coupe

Manual

3.0 turbo 6 cyl.

18 city/25 hwy

Auto

3.0 turbo 6 cyl.

17 city/23 hwy

Shelby GT350

Manual

5.2 DOHC V8

14 city/21 hwy

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the M4’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Shelby GT350 doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

Transmission

The M4 offers an optional automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. The Shelby GT350 doesn’t offer an automatic transmission.

The M4 offers an optional sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is much more efficient than a conventional automatic but just as easy to drive. The Shelby GT350 doesn’t offer an SMG.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the M4’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the Shelby GT350:

M4

Shelby GT350

Front Rotors

15.7 inches

15.5 inches

Rear Rotors

15 inches

14.9 inches

The M4 offers optional heat-treated ceramic brake rotors, which last ten to twenty times as long as conventional cast iron rotors, don’t rust, don’t fade during repeated high speed braking, and their lighter weight contribute to better braking, handling and acceleration. The Shelby GT350 doesn’t offer ceramic brake rotors.

The M4 stops much shorter than the Shelby GT350:

M4

Shelby GT350

70 to 0 MPH

151 feet

171 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

98 feet

101 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the M4 offers optional 20-inch wheels. The Shelby GT350’s largest wheels are only 19-inches.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the M4’s wheelbase is 3.6 inches longer than on the Shelby GT350 (110.7 inches vs. 107.1 inches).

Chassis

The M4 is 3.8 inches shorter than the Shelby GT350, making the M4 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The M4’s standard power retractable hardtop allows a seamless transition from an open car, to a completely sealed coupe. The Shelby GT350 doesn’t offer a retractable hardtop.

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the M4 Coupe is quieter than the Shelby GT350 Coupe:

M4

Shelby GT350

At idle

48 dB

54 dB

Full-Throttle

87 dB

90 dB

70 MPH Cruising

68 dB

73 dB

Passenger Space

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the M4 Coupe a Compact car, while the Shelby GT350 is rated a Two Seater.

The M4 has standard seating for 4 passengers; the Shelby GT350R Coupe can only carry up to 2.

The M4 Coupe has 5.7 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Shelby GT350 (90.2 vs. 84.5).

Cargo Capacity

A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the M4 easier. The M4’s trunk lift-over height is 26.2 inches, while the Shelby GT350’s liftover is 30 inches.

With its coupe or convertible body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the M4 offers cargo security. The Shelby GT350’s non-lockable folding seat and non-lockable remote release defeat cargo security.

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, just kicking your foot under the back bumper can open the M4’s trunk, leaving your hands completely free. The Shelby GT350 doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its trunk, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Servicing Ease

The M4 uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Shelby GT350 uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

Ergonomics

When two different drivers share the M4, the memory system makes it convenient for both. Each keyless remote activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position, outside mirror angle, climate settings and radio stations. The Shelby GT350 doesn’t offer a memory system.

The M4 offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Shelby GT350 doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

In case of a sudden change of weather, the M4 has a standard remote convertible top that can be raised from a distance to protect the interior of the vehicle from damage. The Shelby GT350 doesn’t offer a remote top, so the driver will have to run to the car, get in, turn the ignition on and raise the top to prevent the interior from being damaged.

The M4 has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The Shelby GT350 doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

The M4’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Shelby GT350’s intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the M4 to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Shelby GT350 doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The M4 offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Shelby GT350 doesn’t offer headlight washers.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the M4 detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Shelby GT350 doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the M4 has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Shelby GT350 doesn’t offer cornering lights. The M4 also offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

A power rear sunshade is optional in the M4 Coupe to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The Shelby GT350 doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.

The M4’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. The Shelby GT350 doesn’t offer heated side mirrors.

When the M4 is put in reverse, the passenger rearview mirror tilts from its original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirror into its original position. The Shelby GT350’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

The M4 has standard automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Shelby GT350 has an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

On extremely cold winter days, the M4’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The Shelby GT350 doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

The M4 has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning costs extra on the Shelby GT350.

For greater rear passenger comfort, the M4 has standard rear a/c vents to keep rear occupants more comfortable. The Shelby GT350 doesn’t offer rear vents.

The M4’s optional Parking Assistant can parallel park by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Shelby GT350 doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

The BMW M4 comes in coupe and convertible bodystyles; the Ford Shelby GT350 isn’t available as a convertible.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the M4 owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the M4 will cost $2760 to $4475 less than the Shelby GT350 over a five-year period.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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