Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2015 BMW M4 VS 2014 Ford Shelby Near Phoenix, AZ

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2015 BMW M4

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2014 Ford Shelby

Safety Comparison

The M4 offers optional 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 GT500 doesn't offer collision warning or crash mitigation brakes.

The M4’s optional lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane. The Shelby GT500 doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The M4 offers optional Park Distance Control to help warn drivers about vehicles, pedestrians or other obstacles behind or in front of their vehicle. The M4 also offers an optional backup monitor to help drivers see any and all obstacles behind their vehicle, and an optional Side and Top View Cameras to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle. The Shelby GT500 doesn’t offer any parking assist system.

Compared to metal, the M4’s plastic fuel tank can withstand harder, more intrusive impacts without leaking; this decreases the possibility of fire. The Ford Shelby GT500 has a metal gas tank.

The M4 has standard BMW Assist, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in, help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Shelby GT500 doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the M4 and the Shelby GT500 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control and electronic stability systems to prevent skidding.

Warranty Comparison

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 GT500’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 GT500’s (12 vs. 5 years).

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the M4 for 4 years and 50,000 miles. BMW will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Ford doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Shelby GT500.

Reliability Comparison

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the M4 has a standard 900-amp battery. The Shelby GT500’s 590-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

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 GT500’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2014 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that BMW vehicles are better in initial quality than Ford vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 8th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 8 more problems per 100 vehicles, Ford is ranked 16th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2014 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 11th in reliability. With 10 more problems per 100 vehicles, Ford is ranked 17th.

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

On the EPA test cycle the M4 Manual gets better fuel mileage than the Shelby GT500 (17 city/26 hwy vs. 15 city/24 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 GT500 doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

For better stopping power the M4’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the Shelby GT500:


Shelby GT500

Front Rotors

15.7 inches

15 inches

Rear Rotors

15 inches

13.8 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 GT500 doesn’t offer ceramic brake rotors.

In an emergency stopping situation, many drivers don’t press the brakes with enough force to stop the vehicle in the shortest distance. The M4 has a standard brake assist system to detect emergency braking situations (by how hard and how quickly the brake pedal is pressed) and then automatically apply maximum braking immediately in order to help prevent a collision. The Shelby GT500 doesn’t offer a brake assist feature.

The M4 stops shorter than the Shelby GT500:


Shelby GT500

70 to 0 MPH

151 feet

155 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

98 feet

101 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels Comparison

The M4’s optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 35 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Shelby GT500’s 40 series front tires.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

For superior ride and handling, the BMW M4 has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Ford Shelby GT500 has a solid rear axle, with a non-independent rear suspension.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the M4’s wheelbase is 3.6 inches longer than on the Shelby GT500 (110.7 inches vs. 107.1 inches).

The M4’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (51.8% to 48.2%) than the Shelby GT500’s (56.9% to 43.1%). This gives the M4 more stable handling and braking.

The M4 Coupe handles at 1.01 G’s, while the Shelby GT500 Coupe pulls only .98 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

Chassis Comparison

The BMW M4 may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 250 to 300 pounds less than the Ford Shelby GT500.

The M4 is 4.9 inches shorter than the Shelby GT500, 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 GT500 doesn’t offer a retractable hardtop.

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the M4 Coupe is quieter than the Shelby GT500 Coupe:


Shelby GT500

At idle

48 dB

55 dB


87 dB

87 dB

70 MPH Cruising

68 dB

76 dB

Passenger Space Comparison

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the M4 Coupe is rated a Compact car by the EPA, while the Shelby GT500 Coupe is rated a Subcompact.

The M4 Coupe has 9 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Shelby GT500 (90 vs. 81).

The M4 Coupe has 1.3 inches more front headroom, 1.4 inches more rear headroom, 3.9 inches more rear legroom and 3.9 inches more rear shoulder room than the Shelby GT500 Coupe.

The M4 Convertible has 1.6 inches more front headroom, .6 inches more rear headroom, 3.3 inches more rear legroom and 4.8 inches more rear shoulder room than the Shelby GT500 Convertible.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

The M4’s standard rear seats fold to accommodate long and bulky cargo. The Shelby GT500 Convertible doesn’t offer folding rear seats.

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the M4’s available trunk can be opened just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Shelby GT500 doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its trunk, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Ergonomics Comparison

To help each driver find a more comfortable driving position, the M4 has a telescoping steering wheel. Much better than just a tilt steering wheel or adjustable seat, this allows a short driver to sit further from the steering wheel while maintaining contact with the pedals. The Shelby GT500 doesn’t offer a telescoping steering wheel.

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 GT500 doesn’t offer a memory system.

The M4 offers an optional heads-up display which projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts onto the windshield, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Shelby GT500 doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

If the front windows are left down on the M4 w/Comfort Access the driver can raise them using the key in the outside lock cylinder. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows from outside the vehicle using the key in the outside lock cylinder or the keyless remote. The driver of the Shelby GT500 can only raise the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

Comfort Access optional on the M4 allows you to unlock the driver’s door, trunk and start the engine all without removing a key from pocket or purse. This eliminates searching for keys before loading groceries, getting in the vehicle in bad weather or making a hurried start to your trip. The Ford Shelby GT500 doesn’t offer an advanced key system.

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 GT500’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

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 GT500 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 GT500 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 GT500 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 GT500 doesn’t offer cornering lights. The M4 also has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

A power rear sunshade is optional in the M4 to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The Shelby GT500 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 GT500 doesn’t offer heated side mirrors.

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 GT500 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 GT500 doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

The M4 has a standard center folding armrest for the rear passengers. A center armrest helps make rear passengers more comfortable. The Shelby GT500 doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.

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 GT500.

For greater rear passenger comfort, the M4 has standard rear a/c vents to keep rear occupants more comfortable. The Shelby GT500 doesn’t offer rear vents.

The M4’s optional Parking Assistant can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Shelby GT500 doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Recommendations Comparison

The 4 Series was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” in 2014. The Mustang hasn’t been picked since 2013.

The M3/M4 was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” for 13 of the last 18 years. The Shelby GT500 has never been an “All Star.”

The M3/M4 was selected by Automobile Magazine as their 2006 Car of the Year. The Shelby GT500 has never been chosen.

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