BMW

Review of the BMW 4 Series: Performance, Design, and Features

The BMW 4 Series Coupé stands out as a capable and attractive model, moving beyond the less practical coupes of the past. It builds on the BMW 3 Series with enhancements like a wider rear, lowered center of gravity, and retuned suspension, contributing to nimble handling. The 4 Series offers engines from a 181bhp 420i to a powerful 369bhp M440i, with all models featuring smooth automatic gearboxes. The interior is high-quality, sharing many features with the 3 Series, and includes a user-friendly infotainment system. Despite some road noise, it offers a balanced ride and practical space for a coupe. Pricing is competitive, especially when factoring in standard equipment and high resale value.

Introduction

What Car? says…

Historically, BMW coupes were simply slower, less practical versions of their sedan counterparts. No more—the BMW 4 Series Coupé is a standout model in its own right.

Sure, the 4 Series is still based on the same foundations as the more reasonably shaped BMW 3 Series. However, the differences go far beyond losing the two rear doors. BMW widened the rear of the car, lowered the center of gravity, retuned the suspension, and stiffened the chassis.

All these adjustments make the 4 Series even more nimble and capable than its sedan sibling around corners. In other words, BMW has worked hard to ensure that this is a car with the performance to match its sleeker looks.

So, has it succeeded? Is the BMW 4 Series a better buy than the Audi A5 Coupé or the Mercedes CLE? Read on to find out. If you prefer a soft-top, check out our BMW 4 Series Convertible review.

Performance and Drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

The entry-level engine for the BMW 4 Series Coupé is the 181bhp petrol in the rear-wheel drive 420i, which is our pick of the range. With a 0-62 mph time of 7.5 seconds, it’s quick enough to be fun and loves to be revved up, aligning with the character of a sports coupe car.

Another engine choice is the six-cylinder, 3.0-litre petrol in the M440i. With 369bhp, it has much more power than the 420i. The M440i performs exceptionally, reaching 62 mph from a standstill in just 4.5 seconds, similar to the Mercedes CLE 450’s official time of 4.4 seconds. It feels powerful from low in the rev range and willingly revs to its limit.

For even more performance, the 503bhp M version is the way to go. To read more about it, check our BMW M4 review.

Whichever engine you choose, you get an automatic gearbox that makes smooth shifts, especially in Sport mode. You can also manually control shifts using the steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters.

Every 4 Series comes with variable steering as standard. This adjusts assistance to save you from excessive arm-twisting when parking but provides less assist on faster roads to keep the car from feeling too reactive to small steering adjustments.

The standard passive suspension of the 4 Series is noticeably stiffer than the setup in the BMW 3 Series, reducing body roll and allowing for enthusiastic cornering. However, this focus on control means you feel more bumps than in an Audi A5.

For a better balance between comfort and control, we recommend the optional adaptive suspension available in the M Sport Pro Package. This allows you to adjust the ride stiffness, with Comfort mode providing a smoother experience around town and on highways.

Driving Overview

Forces

  • Punchy engines
  • Rewarding use
  • Composite ride

Weaknesses

  • Some road noise at speed

BMW 4 Series rear bend

Interior

The interior arrangement, fit, and finish

The BMW 4 Series Coupé’s interior closely mirrors that of the 3 Series. The driving position, dashboard, and infotainment system are almost identical.

This is great news because it means a comfortable, supportive driving seat (especially with optional adjustable lumbar support) and plenty of adjustments. Those preferring a sporty feel will appreciate sitting closer to the road than in the Audi A5.

Though rear visibility isn’t great due to rear headrests and thick rear pillars, front and rear parking sensors and a rearview camera are standard on all 4 Series versions.

Every 4 Series comes with adaptive LED lights for safe night driving. The optional Laserlight matrix headlights are even brighter.

Interior quality is slightly below the Audi A5 but better than the Mercedes CLE. The 4 Series boasts a 14.9-inch infotainment screen, used as a touchscreen or via a rotary controller, which is less distracting while driving. The controller’s intuitive layout makes the 4 Series’ infotainment superior to the A5 and CLE.

However, adjusting the climate controls now requires touchscreen use, which is less user-friendly.

The clear-looking 12.3-inch digital driver display includes all needed information, though it offers fewer layout options than those in the A5 and CLE.

Every trim includes DAB radio, built-in sat-nav, and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The optional 464W, 16-speaker Harman Kardon sound system sounds fantastic.

Wireless phone charging and gesture control are available in the Technology Pack.

Internal Overview

Forces

  • User-friendly infotainment system
  • Stylish, high-quality interior

Weaknesses

  • None that we’ve observed so far

BMW 4 Series interior panel

Passenger and Boot Space

How it deals with people and luggage

Most don’t buy a two-door coupe like the BMW 4 Series for practicality. Still, sometimes you need four seats and a usable boot.

The 4 Series provides adequate head and legroom, comparable to the previous 3 Series. Storage space is ample, with a large glove box and a decent cubby under the center armrest. Getting into the back seats can be a bit of a squeeze, but that’s common for cars without rear doors.

While the 4 Series Coupé has a 440-litre boot, slightly smaller than the Audi A5 Coupé but larger than the Mercedes CLE, it can accommodate a set of golf clubs or a small pushchair. The 40/20/40 split-folding rear seats enable carrying longer items though the boot opening is narrower than the A5’s.

Practicality Overview

Forces

  • Ample space up front
  • Well-sized rear seats

Weaknesses

  • Boot opening could be wider

BMW Series 4 boot open

Buying and Owning

Daily costs, reliability, and safety

The entry-level BMW 4 Series Coupé is slightly more expensive than the Audi A5 Coupé, but it’s better specified and more powerful. When comparing similar versions of both cars, the price difference is minimal.

The 4 Series holds its value better than rival coupes, which helps reduce PCP finance payments. For the latest prices, check our new BMW deals page.

The range starts with M Sport trim, featuring 18-inch alloys, leather seats (heated front), cruise control, and three-zone climate control. Extras like adjustable lumbar support and the M Sport Pro package for adaptive suspension are recommended.

The M Sport Pro Edition includes exclusive exterior colors, 19-inch alloys, sportier styling, tinted windows, and the M Sport Pro Package. The top-tier M440i features a powerful six-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine.

The latest 4 Series wasn’t featured in our 2023 What Car? Reliability Survey, but BMW placed 12th out of 32 brands, ahead of Audi (26th) and Mercedes (24th).

The 4 Series includes a three-year unlimited mileage warranty, exceeding many rivals.

Safety ratings are excellent, with a five-star rating from Euro NCAP in 2019. Standard features include automatic emergency braking (AEB) and lane departure warning. The Driving Assistant Professional package (part of the Technology Plus Pack) adds adaptive cruise control, advanced lane-keeping assist, forward cross-traffic alert, and automatic speed limit assist.

Overview of Costs

Forces

  • Generous standard equipment
  • High resale value

Weaknesses

  • Optional extras can significantly increase the price

BMW 4 Series interior driver display

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is the BMW 4 Series bigger than a 3 Series?

The 4 Series is longer than the BMW 3 Series but, as a two-door coupe rather than a four-door saloon, has a lower roofline towards the rear.

Which cars are rivals to the BMW 4 Series?

The main rivals of the 4 Series Coupé are the Audi A5 Coupé and the Mercedes CLE.

What is the price of the BMW 4 Series?

The 4 Series Coupé costs around £45,000. For the latest prices, check our New Car Deals pages.

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