BMW 4 Series coupe - Engines, drive & performance
It’s based on the 3 Series, but the BMW 4 Series is even sharper to drive and the best four-seater coupe in this price range
The BMW 4 Series shares its mechanical basis with the BMW 3 Series saloon, but has a lower centre of gravity and unique suspension settings. This helps the 4 Series to offer as much driving appeal as many sports cars and BMW added even more polish during its 2017 update.
Both the standard and optional active suspension systems were made slightly stiffer, although the difference isn’t immediately noticeable and certainly isn’t to the detriment of ride quality, which remains firm but still comfortable. The steering remains as sharp and alert as ever and the 4 Series has barely any tendency to lean in corners.
BMW 4 Series petrol engines
The 4 Series is a quick car – even the least expensive BMW 420i petrol model is capable of 0-62mph in 7.3 seconds, while the BMW 430i completes the same sprint in 5.9 seconds. Both of these four-cylinder engines are turbocharged and always feel smooth.
However, if you want the ultimate in silky-smooth performance, then the six-cylinder BMW 440i is a real treat, replacing the previous 435i and only offered in high-end M Sport trim. It develops 322bhp and will accelerate to 62mph from rest in just over five seconds. The 420i models come with either a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic gearbox; otherwise the auto is standard.
It’s easy to make the most of all this power, too, thanks to the way the 4 Series handles. Although the steering is a little light when set in Comfort mode, sport mode gives it extra heaviness so corners can be taken with greater confidence. The body does lean a little bit, but not enough to cause the car to feel unstable.
This sporty nature doesn’t mean the 4 Series has a hard ride, though. It might not be as smooth as the Lexus RC, but it’s still a very comfortable car if you want to cruise. If you want a petrol 4 Series and need extra grip, only the 420i is offered with four-wheel-drive. It does increase the acceleration time to 7.8 seconds, though.
The combination of brisk acceleration and high fuel economy figures provided by the 4 Series diesel line-up seems almost too good to be true, and it’s what makes the entry-level four-cylinder BMW 420d so popular. It can get from 0-62mph in 7.3 seconds and feels very smooth, although we did notice a little noise and rattle from the manual gearlever.
The BMW 430d is much quicker, dispatching the 0-62mph sprint in 5.5 seconds. The BMW 435d, meanwhile, can cover 0-62mph in just 4.7 seconds making it the fastest 4 Series apart from the BMW M4 which we’ve reviewed separately. Both of these six-cylinder engines are extremely smooth and quiet.
Although a manual gearbox would usually be the sportier choice, we recommend the excellent eight-speed automatic, which provides perfect smooth gearshifts and allows manual control by pushing the lever forward and back. It comes as standard on 430d and 435d models, where no manual option is offered. xDrive four-wheel drive can be chosen with all engines, and is standard on the 435d.