BMW 4 Series Coupe review
The BMW 4 Series Coupe was updated in 2017, and remains a great four-seater coupe
On paper, the BMW 4 Series is essentially a two-door coupe version of the 3 Series, but there are enough differences to justify the name change. It’s a class act all round, with a top-drawer engine range that delivers great performance and economy, and composed yet entertaining rear-wheel drive handling.
The 4 Series is also a very practical car for a two-door coupe, with usable rear seats and a decent boot. And if you want even more versatility, then the 4 Series Gran Coupe offers four doors but a similarly sleek look. Then there's the 4 Series Convertible, which is a great top-down tourer. It's no longer the newest car on the patch, but the 4 Series still up there with the best, especially if you want some driving fun.
As range expansions go, the BMW 4 Series is an obvious extension of the 3 Series. BMW uses the 4 Series name on Coupe, Convertible and Gran Coupe models to signify their sportier nature, and replaced the 3 Series Coupe/Convertible in the BMW line-up in 2013. We would say they're the two-door versions of the 3 Series, just like the 2 Series is the 2-door version of the 1 Series, but then the 4 Series Gran Coupe is a five-door hatchback to help confuse things.
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The 4 Series model line-up is largely the same whichever body style you choose, so that means 420i, 430i and 440i petrols and 420d, 430d and 435d diesels. All cars are front engined, the 420i and 420d have a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, while the rest of the range gets BMW's 8-speed auto, which is also available as an option with the two smaller models.
The compact executive coupe class is a bit of a niche one, and the only real rivals to the 4 Series come from German compatriots Audi and Mercedes. Audi offers the A5 Coupe, Cabriolet and Sportback, the latter being a five-door like the Gran Coupe. Mercedes offers the C-Class Coupe and Cabriolet, but doesn't have a sporty five-door in the range - the closest you can get is the larger E-Class-based CLS, but that's a lot more expensive. The only other options in the upmarket coupe/convertible class are the Lexus RC (coupe only) and the Ford Mustang, although the latter trades on its heritage and can't match the 4 Series for quality.
Of course there is another strand to the 4 Series line-up, and that's the high-performance M4 range. These cars are available as a coupe or convertible (there's no M4 Gran Coupe), with power coming from a 4.0-litre twin-turbo straight-six. The latest M4 Competition models inject some of the raw character of the limited-run M4 GTS into the regular range, and give them a sportier edge than they initially came with.
The model numbers that BMW uses no longer signify the size of the engine under the bonnet, and are rather a sign of the car's output. All 4 Series models feature either 2.0-litre four and 3.0-litre straight-six powerplants, with the 440i, 430d and 435d all powered by six cylinders. In addition, BMW offers xDrive 4WD on the 420i, 420d and 430d, while it's standard with the 435d. While BMW has produced the 330e plug-in hybrid saloon, it hasn't migrated to any other body styles, so there's no 430e on the books.
As the 4 Series is considered a more upmarket machine than the 3 Series, it only comes in Sport or M Sport trims (there's no SE base model offered). That means list prices start high at around £35,000, but all cars are very well equipped. At the top of the range, the most powerful diesel model is hitting £50k, while the M4 adds at least another £12k to that.
In this review
- 1Verdict - currently readingThe BMW 4 Series Coupe was updated in 2017, and remains a great four-seater coupe
- 2Engines, performance and driveDiesel engines have become a BMW staple, but don't ignore the petrol options - they're smooth, fast and more economical than you'd think
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsConsidering the performance on offer, the 4 Series' economy and emissions are impressive
- 4Interior, design and technologyIt looks a little plain inside compared to some rivals, but the BMW 4 Series' cabin is practical, comfy and well made
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceSpace in the cabin is pretty good for a coupe, but the boot is a touch shallow
- 6Reliability and SafetyBMWs are usually well made and very safe, but long-term reliability is on shakier