Review

BMW 4 Series coupe

Price  £29,425 - £45,045

BMW 4 Series coupe

reviewed by Carbuyer

Pros
  • Sporty looks
  • Spacious boot
  • Fun to drive
Cons
  • More expensive than the equivalent BMW 3 Series
  • Uncomfortable suspension
  • Limited rear headroom

At a glance

The greenest
420d SE 2dr £31,795
The cheapest
420i SE 2dr £29,425
The fastest
435d A xDrive M Sport 2dr £45,045
Top of the range
435d A xDrive M Sport 2dr £45,045

“The BMW 4 Series coupe is a stylish and quick alternative to the Audi A5.”

The BMW 4 Series is the coupe version of the BMW 3 Series saloon. By virtue of this, it is one of the most fun-to-drive cars in its class and is sportier to drive than the saloon. It also looks stylish, both inside and out, and is well built.

BMW builds some of the best engines in the business at the moment and the 4 Series comes with an excellent range of petrols and diesels. The basic model is the petrol 420i, which is both quick and economical, while the 435d diesel is faster, yet can return more than 50mpg. The BMW M4 is the latest addition to the range, and has the power to compete with sports cars such as the Porsche 911. The best all-rounder is the BMW 4 Series 420d, which is both quick and capable of returning excellent MPG figures.

Trim levels are just as varied, but even the basic model 4 Series gets air conditioning, xenon headlights, and 17-inch alloy wheels.  Top-of-the-range models add a leather interior, subtle body kit and BMW's Drive Performance Control, which allows you to setup the car for comfort or performance. Buyers can choose from SE, Sport, Modern, Luxury and M Sport models.

MPG, running costs & CO2

4.2 / 5

BMW’s powerful engines are thirsty

While many cars are cheaper to run than the 4 Series, the BMW is impressively frugal when you consider the performance on offer. Even the basic 420i petrol model is quick yet it can still return 46.3mpg and CO2 emissions of 144g/km for road tax of £145. The 428i is even quicker, so economy drops to 42.8mpg, while CO2 emissions rise to 154g/km for annual road tax of £180. The 435i has a large six-cylinder engine so it can only return 35.8mpg and CO2 emissions are 185g/km for road tax of £225, but it is very quick.

Quicker still is the 435d diesel. It can get economy of 52.3mpg and emissions of 143g/km for road tax of £145 per annum. The rest of the diesel range is made up of the 420d (60.1mpg) and the 430d (57.6mpg), which both cost £110 to tax each year. If you can’t rise to the extra cost of the 435d the 420d wont leave owners short-changed and it arguably offers the best balance of performance and economy.

The BMW M4 is quicker than a basic Porsche 911, which makes its MPG figure of 32.1mpg relatively impressive. Road tax for it costs £285 annually. 

All BMWs come with a three-year/unlimited mileage warranty. BMW offers fixed-price services that mean there should be no expensive surprises when it comes to your car's maintenance.

Interior & comfort

3.9 / 5

Comfort settings can be adjusted to suit your tastes

The 4 Series is based on the BMW 3 Series saloon, so it is quite practical for a coupe. The biggest change is the move from four to two doors, which makes it more difficult to access the back seats. The 445-litre boot is a decent size, although it's 10 litres down on the Audi A5 coupe's and 35 litres smaller than the BMW 3 Series saloon's. With the rear seats down boot capacity rises to 1,300 litres.

The boot also has quite a high lip, which means you can’t slide heavy objects in, but the opening is wide enough for a set of golf clubs. BMW has also included a handy feature that lets you open the boot by sweeping a foot under the rear bumper, so you can open it even when your hands are full.

Passenger space in the front of the BMW is excellent, but the car's sloping roofline means there's less headroom in the back than you get in the 3 Series saloon.

Practicality & boot space

3.5 / 5

More room in the boot than you might expect

The 4 Series is based on the BMW 3 Series saloon, so it is quite practical for a coupe. The biggest change is the move from four to two doors, which makes it more difficult to access the back seats. The 445-litre boot is a decent size, although it's 10 litres down on the Audi A5 coupe's and 35 litres smaller than the BMW 3 Series saloon's. With the rear seats down boot capacity rises to 1,300 litres.

The boot also has quite a high lip, which means you can’t slide heavy objects in, but the opening is wide enough for a set of golf clubs. BMW has also included a handy feature that lets you open the boot by sweeping a foot under the rear bumper, so you can open it even when your hands are full.

Passenger space in the front of the BMW is excellent, but the car's sloping roofline means there's less headroom in the back than you get in the 3 Series saloon.

 

Reliability & safety

3.9 / 5

Based on the ever-reliable 3 Series

The BMW is a new model so it didn’t feature in our 2014 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey. The company has a good reputation for reliability and it feels well built. The car uses the same engines that feature in the 3 Series saloon, so they are already tried, tested and should be reliable. BMW came 10th out of 33 firms in Driver Power's 2014 manufacturers’ rankings.

The 4 Series may not have been crash tested by Euro NCAP, but the BMW 3 Series that it's based on has been and scored the full five stars. All models get a full compliment of airbags, a seatbelt reminder buzzer for the front and back seats, as well as a stability control system.

Options include a fighter-jet style head up display that projects information such as sat-nav directions and speed onto the windscreen. Another option is active cruise control, which can match the speed of the car in front and follow it from a safe distance.

Engines, drive & performance

4.5 / 5

Not that much better than the 3 Series - but still great to drive

The BMW 4 Series is as much fun to drive as many sports cars, with direct steering and suspension that resists body lean. Sport and M Sport models are even more fun in the corners, although they do suffer from stiffer suspension.

The 4 Series is also quick, with even the basic 420i petrol capable of 0-60mph in 7.3 seconds, while the 428i completes the same task in 5.9 seconds. The 435i gets a big six-cylinder engine that helps it dispatch 0-60mph in just 5.4 seconds.

In many ways the diesel engines make more sense, because they all offer excellent performance combined with impressive economy. The basic 420d can get from 0-60mph in 7.5 seconds, while the 430d does it in 5.5 seconds. The 435d, meanwhile, is the fastest diesel of all getting from 0-60mph in just 4.7 seconds.

Although the sportier choice would usually be the manual gearbox, on this occasion we would go for the excellent eight-speed auto, which provides perfect smooth shifts.

Easily the quickest model is the M4, if you can live with its high price and running costs. It is the most performance-oriented model by quite some margin. Clever electronics make it quick in the corners and the car's 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged engine gets it from 0-60mph in just 4.6 seconds.

Price, value for money & options

3.1 / 5

Expensive, but there’s plenty of equipment

The BMW 4 Series might be an expensive car, but BMW has given it a generous standard equipment list that includes 17-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, a Bluetooth phone connection, cruise control, xenon headlights with washers, front and rear parking sensors and heated front seats.

 

Sport models meanwhile add black interior and exterior trim that gives the car a sportier look, as well as 18-inch alloy wheels, and a Sport+ mode for the Drive Performance Control system. That makes it even more fun to drive.

Modern trim brings unique 18-inch alloy wheels and chrome details, but does without the Sport+ mode. The Luxury model gets ambient lighting with switchable colours and a leather interior as standard, while M Sport models get the Sport+ mode, plus a subtle body kit that gives them a more aggressive look.

BMW offers a huge range of options including an excellent eight-speed automatic gearbox and equipment such as a Head Up Display and auto dipping headlights.

Although there are unlikely to be decent discounts on offer, BMW's have strong second-hand values.

What the others say

4 / 5
based on 2 reviews
  • 4.0 / 5
    "Although the BMW 4 Series remains closely tied to its smaller saloon brother, the stunning looks ensure it’s worthy of its own badge. It oozes kerb appeal like no 3 Series can, and is in a different league to its predecessor."
  • 4.0 / 5
    "True, the 4 Series carries a premium of just over £3000, but this isn’t excessive given the extra style and equipment it offers. The 4 Series is also priced in line with the rival Audi and Mercedes Coupe, and is better to drive than both, at least in the form we tried it."

Last updated 
2 Jul 2014

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