BMW 4 Series Review
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.
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What's not so good
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The BMW 4 Series is an upmarket coupe that seats four and is designed to be more fun to drive than the BMW 3 Series saloon on which it’s based. It’s also more fun to drive than its main alternatives the Audi A5 and Mercedes C-Class Coupe.
But in terms of styling, if these three cars 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 won’t. End of.
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. That’s why we awarded it the Best Coupe in the 2021 carwow Car of the Year awards.
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 now 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 leg room, even for adults, but they’ll struggle with head room, even if approaching 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.
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 urgency than an A4 or C-Class Coupe. xDrive all-wheel drive is available with the 420d and standard on the M440 models, 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 firm 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. If you feel the same then check out our deals page for the very best prices.
See how the 4 Series stacks up against the Audi A5 and Mercedes C-Class Coupé
The BMW 4 Series has a brilliantly solid cabin and the best infotainment system in this type of car, but a C-Class Coupe has more dramatic styling inside.