The BMW 4 Series coupe is based on the 3 Series saloon and replaces the old 3 Series coupe in the BMW range. That means that while it sounds like a totally new model, it is really a renamed 3 Series with a stylish new body shape and lots of standard equipment. The BMW 4 Series sporty looks are complemented by tweaked suspension and a lower ride height to make it more fun to drive than an Audi A5, and it is available with a range of powerful engines, including two 2.0-litre petrol and diesel engines and a powerful 3.0-litre model. There will also be three more engines available in the future, including a powerful diesel model and an entry-level petrol version.
MPG, running costs & CO2 emissions
All models in the BMW 4 Series range use the company's EfficientDynamics technology to improve efficiency and economy. This tech involves aerodynamic exterior features, start-stop technology for the engines and more efficient electric power steering. The entry-level 420d model has fuel economy of 60mpg and does 124g/km in emissions, while the 428i petrol gets 42.8mpg and 154g/km. Company car tax on the cheapest 420d model will be 19 per cent, but with plenty of standard equipment it shouldn’t be too much extra for adding options. However, the top spec 435i gets just 35.8mpg and 185g/km emissions, so will appeal only to those with deep pockets – especially as the company car tax will be 29 per cent.
Interior & comfort
The Drive Performance Control system on the 4 Series lets you change the feel of the car, ranging from Eco Pro to Comfort and Sport – that means you can change the level of comfort depending on your needs, and unlike some cars the system works well. Sport and M Sport spec models also include a Sport+ mode, which improves the steering and hardens the suspension significantly. The first two modes are pretty soft and comfortable, although small bumps and lumps in the road are transmitted through the cabin by the big wheels and run-flat tyres – overall it's still a bit too firm. The front seats have an automatic seatbelt feeder that works well, as long as you don’t grab your seatbelt before the extending arm pushes the belt out to you – it can get tangled up.
Practicality & boot space
The two-door coupe style of the BMW 4 Series means it's never going to be as useable as the 3 Series saloon, but it's better than you might think in this area. All models come with a key that means you can open the boot just by waving your foot under the back bumper – great for when you have your hands full with shopping or luggage. The boot is ten litres smaller than the Audi A5's at 445 litres, but that's actually only 35 litres smaller than the 3 Series’. The rear seats have enough space to accommodate adults, but headroom is a bit limited. Visibility is good, despite the low seating position, and the car can even connect to the Internet to give traffic information.
Reliability & safety
The BMW 4 Series shares many of its parts as the 3 Series, and the tried-and-tested engines available will likely prove to be largely trouble-free. BMW came in 15th place in the 2013 Auto Express Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, which is the lowest of the German premium brands, but this was mainly down to practicality and running costs rather than reliability. The BMW 4 Series hasn’t been crash tested by Euro NCAP yet, but it does get optional safety equipment such as a rear-view camera that can detect impacts, cruise control that automatically adjusts your speed, and a tired-driver warning system that sounds an alarm if you drive erratically.
Engines, drive & performance
The 4 Series is designed as a sportier alternative to the 3 Series saloon, replacing the old 3 Series coupe, so it has a few features to make it more fun to drive. It's wider and lower to the ground than the saloon, and the suspension has been stiffened for better handling. The difference between the 3 and 4 Series isn’t as much as we expected, but since the 3 Series is the best handling executive saloon the 4 Series is still impressive – though the steering and brakes aren’t as good as we would expect from a sporting BMW. For performance lovers there's the powerful 435i version, and BMW also offer a range of upgrades for the brakes, suspension and engine.
Price, value for money & options
The 4 Series is about £3,000 more expensive than the 3 Series on which it's based, and is only available with the larger engines – so there's no option for buyers who want the looks without the running costs. All cars have BMW's EfficientDynamics technology to save fuel though, so it's not all bad news. It's also about £500 more than the old 3 Series coupe, although it does add extra equipment and a totally new design. There are plenty of accessories as well: all cars get xenon lights, 17-inch alloy wheels, a 6.5-inch display, a sporty steering wheel, sports seats, front and rear parking sensors and heated front seats Bluetooth, USB, digital radio, automatic lights, automatic wipers and a clever self-opening boot are all standard as well.