BMW 4 Series review
The flamboyant new 4 Series Coupe pushes the envelope for driving dynamics and style
The new BMW 4 Series continues where the previous model left off - offering a stylish, fun-to-drive coupe that is brilliantly accomplished in so many key areas. Facing a number of talented rivals, the 4 Series manages to seamlessly combine impressive performance, attractive economy and a driver-focused quality that is hard to beat.
There has been a lot said about the front-end styling, and you’ll need to make a decision on whether this design trait works for you or not, but rest assured that BMW knows a thing or two about creating capable driving machines and the latest 4 Series doesn’t disappoint.
About the BMW 4 Series
BMW is reassuringly predictable, as a rule, turning out handsome new models from different sizes of a basic mould, leaving us free to fawn over the marque’s generally impeccable driving characteristics, and the quality and depth of its engineering. We all get accustomed to the rhythm of their gently evolving designs, and it makes us feel warm and safe.
Then BOOM! The canny German manufacturer goes and pulls the rug out from under us, with a mad new look that’s appeared out of nowhere. But of course it’s happened before, so we shouldn’t really be too surprised. And despite all the heat and noise generated by the wildly gaping maw of the new 4 Series coupe, before you know it, that’ll just be what BMWs look like now. And everything will be safe and predictable again, until the next time...
Some manufacturers produce cars almost as general appliances, designed to get from A-to-B with not much focus on dynamic ability, design flair or driving fun. BMW generally does the opposite of this, and the 4 Series is a good example.
Such a big change to the famous BMW kidney grille was always going to invoke the ire of traditionalists, but it was the same when BMW’s head of design, Chris Bangle, delivered the radical lines and curves of the E60 5 Series almost 20 years ago. Style is subjective, as they say, so it's probably best to agree that some will be drawn to the updated looks of the 4 Series, while others will no doubt seek solace elsewhere.
There are skilled rivals waiting in the wings in the form of the Audi A5 and Mercedes C-Class coupes, both of which offer a convertible version alongside the standard model ready to do battle with the 4 Series’ own drop-top.
For those that need a little more practicality, there is also the extra two doors, bigger boot and increased passenger space of the 4 Series Gran Coupe to consider, although Audi provides further competition here with the A5 Sportback.
At opposite ends of the spectrum, the all-electric BMW i4 is scheduled for sale from Autumn 2021, while the fire-breathing 503bhp M4 Competition is already available and ready to take your breath away with its incredible performance.
Available petrol engines in the 4 Series range include the 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder unit in the 420i and 430i versions, delivering 181bhp and 254bhp respectively, and the potent 3.0-litre inline six-cylinder powerplant of the M440i xDrive, generating 369bhp.
The sole diesel offering comes in the shape of the 2.0-litre 420d, producing 187bhp. All cars use an eight-speed automatic transmission and are rear-wheel-drive, with the exception of the flagship M440i and a 420d xDrive variant.
The previous Sport trim level is no longer offered, with BMW now just offering the ubiquitous M Sport specification for the 4 Series. There is an option to upgrade to the M Sport Pro Edition which adds bigger alloy wheels and various driver-focused features such as adaptive M suspension and an M Sport differential.
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In this review
- 1Verdict - currently readingThe flamboyant new 4 Series Coupe pushes the envelope for driving dynamics and style
- 2Engines, performance and driveThe 4 Series is talented enough to keep keen drivers interested, but also shines as a capable cruiser
- 3MPG, CO2 and running costsDiesel power still offers the best overall efficiency for the 4 Series, at least until the introduction of the all-electric i4 model
- 4Interior, design and technologyAside from the 4 Series’ new grille it’s very much business as usual, which means great build quality, intuitive tech and decent levels of kit
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceThe 4 Series is practical enough, although some optional equipment can prove to be expensive
- 6Reliability and safetyStrong safety levels and solid warranty cover should provide BMW 4 Series buyers with peace of mind