The BMW 4 Series’ interior feels very well built and is also surprisingly spacious, but the design doesn’t look fresh and alternative models have more high-tech equipment
The BMW 4 Series is available in Sport and M Sport trims, but a huge number of options mean the world is pretty much your oyster when it comes to personalising the interior.
Sport models are the least expensive but still come with a sporty instrument cluster, body-hugging leather sports seats and a three-spoke, leather-trimmed steering wheel with red stitching. The dashboard is finished with high-gloss black plastics and gets Coral Red trim that runs from the dashboard onto the door caps.
M Sport models look sportier. They swap the Coral Red for Estoril Blue and the glossy black plastics for Aluminium Hexagon which looks nicer and is cold to the touch. M Sport cars also get a nicer-looking sports steering wheel, instrument cluster and gear knob.
If you want to get creative, a visit to the options list will be hard to resist. A BMW Individual leather interior – with colours ranging from Golden Brown to Nutmeg – costs £1,215. Trim pieces can also be upgraded with options such as Ash Grain White and Piano Black costing an extra £375. Auburn Sycamore wood veneer costs the same but looks like it’s been stolen from your grandpa’s Rover.
No matter what options you spec, however, the 4 Series’ cabin can’t match the drama of the Mercedes C-Class’ cabin, with its swooping interior design, chrome air vents and swanky materials.
Go for a colourful interior to liven things up – the optional wooden trims feel great too
Sport models come with a basic sat-nav system with a 6.5-inch screen, hands-free Bluetooth phone connection and a USB plug. It’s operated using BMW’s iDrive control system – a swivel wheel that’s located between the two front seats that makes navigating the clearly laid-out menus really easy, even when you’re on the move. The BMW’s entry level system looks much nicer than the thick-rimmed Garmin unit fitted as standard to the Mercedes C-Class Coupe.
Nevertheless, it’s still worth upgrading to the Professional infotainment system that’s standard on M Sport models and a £900 option on Sport cars. The high-end system has an 8.8-inch screen that’s clearer and more detailed than the basic version and its faster processor means it calculates routes quicker. It has the same swivel control as the standard infotainment but also gets a touchpad that allows you to enter postcodes into the sat-nav by writing with your finger.
Another option worth considering is the £295 Digital Cockpit display, which replaces traditional dials with a 12.3-inch screen. Its appearance changes depending on which mode you’re in – in Sport you get red dials and a power output gauge – but it is at its best when transformed into a huge, colourful map that makes following the sat-nav’s directions really easy and strangely satisfying.
The 4 Series’ basic stereo isn’t too weedy, but you can upgrade to the £430, 205W Loudspeaker system which has nine speakers – including two subwoofers and a centre speaker on the dash. Mind you, if you’re going to do that then you’re as well spending just £245 more on the £675 Harmon Kardon surround-sound system. It has 600W of firepower, no less than 16-speakers and a nine-channel amplifier.