In-depth reviews

Used BMW 4 Series (Mk1, 2014-2020) review

The BMW 4 Series Coupe remains a great four-seater coupe with surprisingly low running costs

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Price
£39,340 to £57,880
  • Sleek styling
  • Ride and handling
  • Excellent engines
  • Newer tech in rivals
  • Pricey to buy
  • So-so dealer service

Verdict

We were really impressed when we first drove the BMW 4 Series, loving the attention to detail with the cabin design and ergonomics, the build quality and the driving experience. That first drive was of the range-topping 435i Coupe; when we got behind the wheel of the Convertible soon after, it was clear that the two bodystyles are quite different to drive.

The Coupe feels sportier, while the Convertible is more of a cruiser. Yet with the roof up, the open car is just as refined as the closed one. Whichever 4 Series you buy, you’re bound to love it. However, the array of engines, trim levels and options available is bewildering, so try a few different combinations before parting with your cash in order to pin down the model that’s right for you.

Which one should I buy?

  • Best BMW 4 Series for fuel economy: 420d SE
  • Best BMW 4 Series for driving fun: 440i M Sport
  • Best BMW 4 Series for equipment: 420i Luxury

None of the engines is weak, but the six-cylinder units have a gorgeous soundtrack that’s absent from the four-cylinder models, which still offer better economy and enough power for everyday driving.

The gearboxes are good, too; a great six-speed manual was standard, but an eight-speed auto was an option. SE trim features 17-inch alloys, dual-zone climate control, adaptive cruise control, leather trim, all-round parking sensors, xenon lights and heated front seats.

Sport, Modern and Luxury editions add 18-inch rims and sports seats. M Sport cars bring sports suspension and styling; six-cylinder models have metallic paint. 

What are the alternatives?

The closest rival is the rear-wheel-drive Mercedes C-Class, which features a wide choice of engines and comes in Coupe or soft-top Cabriolet guises. It isn’t as much fun as the BMW, but it’s superbly built, reliable and has a cast-iron image, although used prices tend to be high.

The Audi A5 comes in front or four-wheel drive forms, the latter massively improving usability in the winter. As with the BMW, you can take excellent build quality, practicality and efficient engines for granted. The Audi TT is offered in Roadster or more practical hatchback variants, while the Volkswagen Scirocco comes only as a very usable hatchback. 

Kia Stinger vs VW Arteon vs BMW 4 Series

4 series group

Fresh from beating the Audi S5 Sportback in a twin test, the Kia Stinger faced a new challenge in the summer of 2018. It was no match for the VW Arteon, which won thanks to its all-round ability and affordable price. This left the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe as the choice for keen drivers, leaving the Stinger to settle for third place. Read the full test...

BMW 4 Series v Audi A5

BMW 4 series vs Audi A5

Diesel coupes offer a compelling blend of smart styling and low running costs. Picking a winner from this twin test was difficult, but even though we said the BMW 4 Series was more involving to drive, the Audi A5 ticked all of the important boxes. A victory for the Audi, then. Read the full test...

BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe vs Audi A5 Sportback

With the Audi A5 Sportback celebrating its fifth birthday, could the then-new BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe arrive late to spoil the party? In a word, yes, with the BMW leaving the Audi in its wake, with not even a party bag to show for it. More practical than a 4 Series Coupe and more attractive than a 3 Series Gran Turismo – what’s not to like? Read the full test...

BMW 4 Series v rivals

BMW 4 Series vs rivals

Back in 2013, with the ink on the 4 Series brochure still drying, we pitched the new BMW against the Mercedes C-Class Coupe and Audi A5. It was love at first sight, with the 4 Series romping home to victory, leaving the C-Class and A5 to battle over second place. Read the full test...

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