The BMW 4 Series is a fun-to-drive, stylish coupe that’s comfortable and relatively spacious, although it is starting to look a little dated now
The BMW 4 Series is a sporty coupe that strikes a decent compromise between space, style and comfort. It’s the two-door version covered here, but you can also get the 4 Series as a convertible, and as the four-door Gran Coupe, which are reviewed separately. The 4 Series first went on sale in 2014, and was updated in 2017 with revised styling, an upgraded interior and more standard equipment.
It’s quite practical for a coupe with plenty of space up front, enough room in the back to be adequate for adults under six-foot tall and a big boot. In fact, it’s one of the most practical cars of its type.
It is an older design, though, so it doesn’t have the Mercedes C-Class Coupe’s luxurious feel or the rock-solid build quality of the Audi A5. It’s still really usable, though, and like every other BMW, the dashboard is angled towards the driver and the low seat helps it feel sporty.
BMW’s iDrive infotainment system comes as standard and it’s the best system on the market, with well laid out menus and intuitive controls. The rotary knob mounted between the front seats also means you can operate the car’s standard-fit satellite navigation without having to take your eyes off the road for prolonged periods of time.
That lets you concentrate on the 4 Series’ brilliant drive. Its controls are well weighted, its steering accurate and its suspension doesn’t let the car lean too much in bends. The BMW feels more like a sports car to drive than the Mercedes or Audi.
Adaptive M Sport suspension is an essential £515 upgrade that lets you stiffen the car on a country road or soften it up if you just want to waft down the motorway. It’s well-worth considering the £1,690 smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic gearbox – it takes the pain out of stop-start traffic and town driving.
The BMW 4 Series is like a Lacoste tracksuit: it’s sporty, comfy and practical and has that all-important premium label
Straight line performance is dealt with by a great range of engines. The 420d diesel is really popular for a reason – it’s pretty quick, yet cheap to run. But treat yourself to the 430i petrol if you don’t mind higher running costs – it has the get-up-and-go to keep hot hatches in check and doesn’t drink fuel unless you drive it like an absolute lunatic.
The 4 Series is based on the 3 Series saloon, which scored five-stars when it was crash tested by Euro NCAP in 2012. However the test has got a lot tougher since then so you would expect newer models such as the Audi A5 and Mercedes C-Class Coupe to be even safer.
What those other cars can’t do, however, is drive as well as the 4 Series does. Okay, its interior is a little dated now, but it’s spacious for this kind of car and well built. That makes it a worthy option if you want a practical, sporty car.
Watch our group test video to see how the 4 Series compares to the Mercedes C-Class Coupe, Audi A5 and Lexus RC, and read our following interior, driving and specifications review sections for a more in-depth look at the 4 Series.