Independent review by Peter Hayward from Driving Force
- Great to drive
- Plush interior
- Kerb appeal
- Sportier variants sacrifice comfort
- On the pricey side
- Rivals are more practical
What's the BMW 4 Series like?
The BMW 4 Series is one of the finest driving cars you can buy.
It’s like a win on the lottery or the first day of the holidays to anyone who loves driving.
And it’s not just the excellent all-round performance that makes it so special. No, it’s the fact that on top of that performance, it's easy to use and live with every day in all situations.
Other fast cars have similar performance, but they also have drawbacks such as a hard ride, minimal luggage space or twitchy steering.
The 4 has none of these foibles except in the more sporting models – of which more later. On good cross-country roads with little traffic it's an absolute joy, poised and balanced yet relaxing and comfortable.
For this review, I’ll concentrate on the model built from 2013 to 2020, which was available as a 2-door coupé, 2-door convertible, and 5-door Gran Coupé.
It’s a four-seater based on the 3 Series of course, and using many of the same wide range of engines and gearboxes.
But it has a longer wheelbase and a wider track, plus the lowest centre of gravity of any car in the BMW range, making it hugely agile and grippy through all the corners.
The wide range of engines I mentioned is limited in that some are only available in upper models, and almost all will come with BMW’s excellent 8-speed automatic gearbox, despite the fact that the smaller units were available with a very good 6-speed manual.
Petrols open the game with a 181bhp 2.0-litre that can get to 60mph from rest in 7.1 seconds and still do 47mpg.
The rest are all the same 3.0-litre straight six, with power ranging from 248bhp to 443bhp.
The 248bhp reaches 60mph in 5.6 seconds and is capable of 44mpg while the next up 301bhp brings the sprint down to 4.9 seconds and can do 39mpg.
The range-topping M4 is the only car to get the 443bhp power unit, and with a standard twin clutch automatic box, gets to 60mph in 3.9 seconds and will have an economy best of 34mpg.
There are two turbodiesel options – a 2.0-litre with 187bhp and a 3.0-litre with 254bhp. The smaller unit reaches the benchmark in 6.9 seconds and could give a best of an amazing 70mpg.
The 3.0-litre diesel is almost as quick as its petrol siblings, reaching 60mph in 5.3 seconds and managing a very creditable 57mpg.
The M4, and some other models, have firmer and more focused M-Sport suspension, which brings brilliant grip and roadholding at the cost of ride comfort.
Models without it are much more comfortable, and the top 440i is almost as quick, while remaining comfortable and useable every day.
These are cars that reel in the horizon like a fish on a line, and a prod on the accelerator is enough for the swiftest and safest overtaking on any straight piece of road.
Drive is to the rear wheels, or all four in X-Drive models, and all autos come with Drive, Sport, and Manual modes at the flick of a switch.
It's fine 90 percent of the time and it’s so good when pressing on, that the manual setting, with paddles behind the steering wheel, is almost superfluous. As is so often true with modern cars, the auto does it better than you can do it yourself.
Interior and Equipment
Inside, the binnacle and switches are perfectly laid out for the driver, and the leather covered seats hold in all the right places when pressing on – just as you would expect from BMW.
The 5-door Gran Coupé is much more practical than the 2-door, of course, and very much easier to get into and out of the rear seats.
Most come with a range of electronic driving aids and equipment in standard trim includes stop start, a folding rear seat, a special driving mode to reduce fuel consumption, parking sensors, xenon headlights, Bluetooth, cruise control, and a DAB stereo with all the right inputs.
All also come with cruise control, loads of airbags and traction control, while SE also has foglights, headlight washers, and heated leather seats.
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Find your BMW 4 Series your way with CarStore
The BMW 4 Series is a super popular executive car due to its refined offering of a luxury interior and dynamic driving experience. From the sporty M4 variant, to the economical diesel options, there's sure to be a 4 Series to suit just about anybody.
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