BMW 4 Series Review & Prices
The BMW 4 Series is a sleek premium coupe with great tech and strong engines. It feels firm at low speeds, though, and not everybody will be convinced by those front-end looks
Find out more about the BMW 4 Series
The BMW 4 Series is an upmarket coupe that seats four and is designed to be more stylish and fun to drive than the BMW 3 Series saloon on which it’s based. It’s also more fun than its main alternatives, the Audi A5 and Mercedes C-Class Coupe.
But in terms of styling, if the German coupes were in an orchestra, the Audi and Mercedes would be tickling the triangle while the BMW tries its best on the tuba – that grille makes the most noise. Some will like it and some really won’t.
Still, beyond that, the 4 Series is a good looking car. Its aggressive creases, sporty body kit and sloping roofline make it a sort of half-price BMW 8 Series. Inside, it’s not as in-your-face as a C-Class in terms of design, but it’s classier and the levels of quality are better than in both Mercedes and Audi.
In Mercedes’ larger cars its infotainment system narrowly beats BMW’s for visual drama and the way it works, but in the 4 Series and C-Class (where Mercedes fits its older systems), it’s the BMW that takes the win. The BMW’s looks better, works better and comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Praise be. Audi’s system comes a close third on all fronts.
The range-topping M440i is brilliant, but most people will love the 420i M Sport. Head to our deals page for the very best prices!
The 4 Series has seating for four people and those in the front seats will have all the space they need. The driver gets a good amount of adjustment, but it’s disappointing that lumbar adjustment – good for staying comfortable on long drives – isn’t standard and only comes as part of a very expensive pack. Grrr.
The rear seats are fine for legroom, even for adults, but they’ll struggle with head room if they are anywhere close to six foot. Getting in and out of the back is a struggle too, because there are no rear doors – but hey, it’s a coupe. Still, the 4 Series’ boot is a generous 440 litres, which is only slightly smaller than an A5’s and some way bigger than the C-Class Coupe’s.
There’s lots of engine choice, and there isn’t a bad one. There are 2.0-litre and 3.0-litre petrol and diesels, ranging from 184hp to 374hp, but the majority of people will find the 184hp 420i 2.0-litre petrol a great choice. Do more motorway miles? The 190hp 420d 2.0-litre diesel will cruise more efficiently. If you want maximum punch, the M440d diesel and M440i petrol both have powerful six-cylinder engines with startling performance. Then there’s the high-performance BMW M4, which we have reviewed separately.
Handily, all 4 Series models are huge fun to drive. They’re lower and stiffer than a BMW 3 Series, and turn into corners with more agility than an A5 or C-Class Coupe. The xDrive all-wheel drive system is available with the 420d and standard on the M440 models for added security in slippery conditions, plus BMW offers things like upgraded brakes, a sports differential and adaptive suspension to really spice things up. The M models get this as standard.
That agility does mean the 4 Series feels harder over bumps in town, even in its most comfortable driving mode, but otherwise, its standard parking sensors and rear camera make light work of parking. On the motorway, the suspension feels less abrupt and the 4 Series cruises quietly, but like the lumbar support, BMW’s clever adaptive cruise control with lane-keep steering assist costs a fortune to add as part of a pack. More grrr.
Despite these minor setbacks, we think the 4 Series is the best of its breed.
The BMW 4 Series has a RRP range of £44,180 to £59,180. However, with carwow you can save on average £4,274. Prices start at £40,309 if paying cash. Monthly payments start at £483. The price of a used BMW 4 Series on carwow starts at £28,713.
Our most popular versions of the BMW 4 Series are:
|Model version||carwow price from|
|420i M Sport 2dr Step Auto||£40,309||Compare offers|
The executive coupe arena is a popular one with a number of useful models vying for business. Aside from the 4 Series, two of the most sought-after models are the Audi A5 Coupe and the Mercedes C-Class Coupe – both priced from around the same level as the BMW. Clearly there’s not much in it when it comes to cost and this trio all offer a similar level of specification across their ranges.
The trims run from Sport to M Sport and xDrive M Sport. Expect to pay around an extra £1,400 for the 420 M Sport over the base model and additional £3,000 for the more powerful engine. The range-topping xDrive model is currently priced at getting on for £55,000.
The BMW 4 Series comes into its own at higher speeds, but is not the most comfortable in town
The majority of the time spent with the 4 Series is likely to be in town, where the car’s suspension still feels quite firm, even in Comfort mode. It’s noticeable over bumps and, while it’s not awful, it’s enough to possibly get on your nerves after a while.
What is a positive is the automatic gearbox, which is smooth, seamless and works effortlessly up and down the gears. That’s an important attribute in town, where a lot of the driving is likely to be stop-start and between 10-30mph most of the time.
Visibility is OK from the driver’s seat looking forwards, with the front pillars slim enough to prevent them from creating a blindspot. Out of the back window, due to the overall shape of the vehicle, it’s a slightly different matter. The window is relatively narrow anyway but, when you factor in the headrests and wide wide rear pillars, not much can be seen out of the rear. Thankfully the 360-degree camera and parking sensors come into their own here to help out when reversing into tight spaces or pulling out into traffic. There is also an automated parking system available as an option, which will be a useful addition for lots of drivers.
On the motorway
When cruising at higher speeds, the 4 Series is a lot more comfortable, compared with the urban environment. The suspension feels planted and all of those bumps that are felt in town suddenly become far less noticeable when pressing on. All of the engines have plenty of power, which means accelerating and overtaking is done with ease, making manoeuvres much safer to carry out on the motorways. The automatic gearbox helps here, too, with changes that are both smooth and very responsive when you put your foot down.
Cruising at speed is relaxing because the cabin stays relatively quiet. There’s minimal wind and tyre noise, although there would be a bit less noise with different tyres, instead of BMW’s runflats.
On a twisty road
Within the ‘Sport’ driving modes, there are a range of options to play with in the 4 Series: Standard; Plus; Individual and Configure Individual, for the ultimate in personalisation.
In Sports Plus mode, the suspension is in its firmest setting to stop the car leaning when going into corners. That setup provides a very sporty feel and drivers will be able to get a lot of enjoyment travelling through B-roads and country lanes.
The 4 Series feels a bit sharper than the 3 Series, but that’s no surprise, given the former is designed to be the sportier model in the BMW small(er) car range.
There is plenty of space and storage options in the 4 Series, however the Audi A5 Coupe has a larger boot
The 4 Series takes its lead from the 3 Series with the interior, which means the seating position is good and can be adjusted with ease thanks to the electronic adjustments and underthigh support. The steering wheel moves manually, but in all directions, so it is easy to get right, or to reposition if someone else is getting behind the wheel.
Drivers sit quite low down to create a more sports car feel, but should that not work for you, there’s a lot of upward movement possible.
Storage is very good in the 4 Series – there is a nice spot for a mobile phone, and next to that area is a USB port and a 12V socket to power electronic devices. The cupholders located here are a good size and will hold small or medium bottles. Anything larger can be stowed in the door bins, which are pretty large and will also accommodate big items with relative ease.
There’s more storage in the central front section behind the gear lever and infotainment control panel, plus another USB port and a decent-sized space for wallet, keys, packets of sweets, or whatever other items you might like or need to carry around.
The glovebox is an average size, but the felt lining – helping prevent things moving around when stored away – maintains the quality feel of the rest of the interior. To the right hand side of the steering column there’s another storage box that will hold keys or other small items.
Space in the back seats
The Coupe design means getting into the back seats can be a bit of a challenge. Thankfully the front seats slide forwards plenty and with ease, which makes life a little simpler.
The new 4 Series has a longer space between the front and rear wheels than previous cars, which means there is more room inside the new model. As a result, legroom is really good, unlike the headroom. Any average sized adult may have to slide down the seat a bit, which will impact their own comfort. However, this is made a bit more difficult because the rear seats are quite upright, so you’ll end up sitting uncomfortably. Not ideal for long journeys.
There’s an armrest, with covered cupholders as well as a ski hatch for through-loading. The BMW also has ISOFIX points, complete with covers that actually stay in place, so you are less likely to lose them or have trouble rescuing them from the floor under the seats in front.
Rear passengers get their own climate controls, as well as USB ports. There is also another storage area on the sides of the car, enough to carry a can of drink.
The boot on the 4 Series has been measured at 440 litres, which is just shy of that found in an Audi A5 Coupe (455 litres). However, the BMW beats the Mercedes C-Class Coupe, where the boot space is just 380 litres.
So, it’s a decent-sized boot and is also square, which makes life easier when loading and packing before a long journey. If, however, you’re looking for a BMW with more room in the boot, then go for a 3 Series Touring.
There are some useful netting on the sides and, usefully the rear seats can be released via levers mounted at the top of the boot. As a result, there is a nice flat floor, although the top boot line means that space is a bit restricted, which might rule out being able to transport large boxes easily and safely.
Practicality-wise there are a few hooks and another 12V socket.
The quality level of the materials is good in the 4 Series and the infotainment is very intuitive, but the driver’s display is quite dark and can sometimes be difficult to read
The fact that the interior of the 4 Series is very much like a 3 Series is certainly not a negative. There are lots of soft touch materials and everything around the cabin feels solid and very well put together. There are a number of reasons that the 3 Series is the benchmark in its class and the interior is one of them.
The infotainment system comprises two large screens – one in the centre of the car, the other behind the steering wheel. On the former, the 4 Series package uses the latest version of BMW’s iDrive technology, which can be controlled either through the touchscreen or the large central dial located near the gear level. There is also the option of using the pad on the wheel to write letters – perfect for when using the navigation systems – or draw shapes. Because the dial is in the centre of the car, this feature might prove a bit tricky for UK drivers, unless you’re left-handed, in which case it's on the ‘right’ side (even though it’s on your left…).
There are voice commands that are activated by calling an instruction or pressing a button. There’s also gesture control, which divides people because of either its effectiveness or the fact that it springs into life when you don't want or expect it to – to change screen or control the volume. The 4 Series’ infotainment system is also compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, which function wirelessly. Using the connected technologies can be clearer and quicker than the inbuilt system, although that is still impressive and very user-friendly.
Meanwhile, the driver’s display is not as impressive, partly because of the rev counter that runs backwards, but also because it’s quite dark and not very pleasing to look at. Unlike in an Audi A5, you can’t change the views and the lack of personalisation marks the BMW down a bit.
A full complement of petrol and diesel engines are used in the 4 Series to suit a range of drivers
The petrol engine range starts with the 420i, which uses a 2.0-litre engine with 184hp and returns an official average of 44mpg. Next up is the 430i, which uses the same sized engine but has 258hp and is almost as efficient at 42mpg, and finally the range-topping M440i with its 374hp six-cylinder 3.0-litre and an official 36mpg.
For those looking for diesel power, the base engine is a 190hp 2.0-litre in the 420d, the most economical with an official 60mpg figure. Next up is the 430d, which uses a 3.0-litre engine with 286hp to return up to 52mpg, and an engine of the same size, but with 340hp and 48mpg, the M440d finishes the range.
There’s no manual gearbox in the 4 Series, which might be a deal-breaker for some people who like to be more in control behind the wheel, although these are becoming increasingly scarce.
When it was tested by Euro NCAP in 2019, the BMW 4 Series scored a maximum five stars. Particularly impressive was the adult occupant protection, which scored a whopping 97%. Protection for vulnerable road users was also high – at 93% – while child occupant safety was figured at 83%.
For frontal crash protection, the BMW offers driver and passenger airbags as standard and knee airbag for the driver. There are side airbags for driver and all passengers, while those in the front also have chest and pelvis airbags.
Other safety equipment include active bonnet, autonomous emergency braking for cyclists and pedestrians and lane assist technology.
Security-wise, all models come with a Thatcham 1 alarm system, as well as an engine immobiliser. There’s central locking all round for the doors, fuel filler cap and luggage compartment.
The 4 Series is covered by a three-year, unlimited mileage warranty, which is pretty much the industry standard, although some premium brands put a stingier 60,000-mile limit on their offerings. Other manufacturers will offer more – such as Kia and Hyundai – but BMW has so far resisted any calls to go beyond the 36 months.
The coupe has been the subject of a few recalls in recent years involving various items such as brake discs and the exhaust gas recirculation cooler.
BMW generally performs well in reliability surveys in the automotive industry, as you might expect for such a popular brand. However, in the odd case after it was first launched, the car struggled to impress.
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*Please contact the dealer for a personalised quote, including terms and conditions. Quote is subject to dealer requirements, including status and availability. Illustrations are based on personal contract hire, 9 month upfront fee, 48 month term and 8000 miles annually, VAT included.