BMW 4 Series (2013-present)

The BMW 4 Series is a stylish two-door coupe that's great to drive

Strengths & Weaknesses

Strengths 

Stylish looks
Involving to drive
Luxurious

Weaknesses 

Firm ride on some models
Well-equipped cars are expensive
Cheapest diesel engine is noisy
BMW 4 Series prices from £15,199   Finance from £204 per month

Half of drivers say the design and style of a vehicle is crucial when choosing their next car - according to BuyaCar research - and it’s that reason alone that the BMW 4 Series Coupe exists.

With just two doors, a swooping rear roof that reduces headroom, and a higher price than the four-door BMW 3 Series, the car makes no sense from a practical perspective.

The long bonnet, curved roof and stubby boot do give it a striking - you might say pretty - shape, and it has been engineered for a sportier driving feel.

This, then, is the more exciting and frivolous version of the 3 Series, a rival to the similarly style-focused Audi A5, Mercedes C-Class Coupe and Lexus RC.

Underneath the flowing design are the same bits that make up the previous-generation BMW 3 Series, which is obvious when you get into the car, as the dashboard is virtually the same.

The 4 Series will shortly be replaced by a version that’s based on the new BMW 3 Series, but for a car that’s been on sale for six years, it stands up well. The soft materials feel expensive and the dashboard screen is quick and intuitive thanks to a rotary controller, which means you can operate the software without taking your eyes off the road.

Since it was launched, every 4 Series has been fitted with leather seats, heated front seats, parking sensors and climate control, making it more luxurious than an entry-level 3 Series, if not as cosseting as a Mercedes C-Class Coupe.

Front-seat passengers should find it easy to get comfortable, thanks to supportive seats and plenty of legroom.

It’s not as spacious in the back, where legroom is limited and headroom in short supply. However, once they’ve scrambled over the front seats to get there, a pair of adults should be reasonably comfortable for shorter journeys, particularly if they are less than 6ft tall. And there’s more room than you’ll find in an A5 or C-Class Coupe, emphasising that these cars are really not designed for more than two regular occupants.

If you are set on the looks of the 4 Series but concerned about practicality, then the 4 Series Gran Coupe could be the answer. It’s an extended version of the standard Coupe, with an extra pair of rear doors. The back seats don’t offer any extra space, though, so taller passengers in particular will be fighting to travel in the front.

It’s the occupant of the driver’s seat that BMW has focused on the most. This is a car that’s more fun to drive than the 3 Series, thanks to a sharper, more responsive feel when you turn the steering wheel. It makes the car nimble and composed in corners, while remaining comfortable on rough surfaces - particularly with the optional adapative suspension that can be adjusted for more comfort or sportiness.

All engines are powerful but the diesels are especially impressive because they feel fast, while remaining economical at the same time - even the high-powered models. Every engine has complied with current Euro 6 emissions regulations since the car was launched, so you won’t be subject to low emission zone charges. None of the engines are particularly efficient, though.

Four wheel drive (badged xDrive) is optional to increase grip when accelerating. Combined with the most powerful diesel engine, the Coupe will accelerate from 0-62mph in 4.7 seconds, which is faster than a Porsche Boxster. Opt for the top-of-the-range M4 and you’ll cut that time to just 4.1 seconds.

An update in 2017 bright some extremely minor design changes and a few improvements to the dashboard software. The changes were so small, that it's not worth paying a great deal more for an updated model. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which enable control of apps through the dashboard screen, became optional in the previous year. 

Although the 4 Series hasn’t been tested by Euro NCAP for its standard of crash safety, the 3 Series on which it’s based scored a maximum five stars.

Last Updated 

Friday, March 22, 2019 - 16:45

Key facts 

Warranty: 
Three years / unlimited miles
Boot size: 
445 litres
Width: 
1825mm
Length: 
4638mm
Height: 
1377mm
Tax (min to max): 
£20 to £265

Best BMW 4 Series for... 

BMW 420d Sport
The BMW 420d isn't just the most economical 4 Series, with official fuel economy figures of up to 47.9mpg. It will accelerate from 0-62mph in 8.2 seconds, so it's reasonably quickand sporty.
BMW 430i M Sport GranCoupe
The GranCoupe adds a dose of practicality to the 4 Series range with a pair of rear doors and a practical hatchback tailgate, although rear seat space is still limited. M Sport trim really suits the 4 Series’ style, with some sporty design add-ons, and the 430i engine feels rapid, so mum and dad can still feel youthful.
BMW M4 Coupe Competition Pack
The M4 is seriously fast. Its 3-litre engine produces 450 horsepower, so it will accelerate from 0-62mph in just 4.1 seconds. It sounds pretty good too. An optional Competition Pack adds a sports exhaust system and some unique trim extras.
BMW 420i xDrive M Sport
The BMW 4 Series is great to drive in all trim levels and engines but not all buyers will benefit from the £3,000 xDrive four-wheel drive system - particularly with the lesser-powered engines. Most would be better off using the money to upgrade to the more powerful 430i.

BMW 4 Series History 

  • October 2013 The BMW 4 Series goes on sale in Britain
  • February 2014 More powerful 425d and 430d xDrive models added to the range
  • January 2016 Revisions to the engine range announced - 428i becomes the 430i, 435i becomes 440i, bith with extra power and efficiency
  • May 2016 Menu system is simpified on dashboard screen.
  • October 2016 Apple CarPlay and Android Auto become optional with BMW Professional Media
  • January 2017 Major update brings new air intakes, and LED headlights and rear lights, plus stiffer suspension and new alloy wheels.

Understanding BMW 4 Series car names 

  • 4 Series
  • Engine
    420d
  • Trim level
    M Sport
  • Driven wheels
    xDrive
  • Engine
    Most 4 Series model names begin with a 4. The following two numbers show you how powerful the engine is: the bigger the number, the more powerful the engine. The only exception is the top-of-the-range M4. The letter 'd' indicates a diesel.
  • Trim level
    Each trim level comes with different amounts of standard equipment. SE is the cheapest and least well-equipped, but is no longer sold. Sport is the new entry-level trim, followed by M Sport.
  • Driven wheels
    Four-wheel drive versions of the 4 Series are badged xDrive.

BMW 4 Series Engines 

Petrol: 420i, 430i, 440i & M4
Diesel: 420d, 430d & 435d

None of the BMW 4 Series engines are slow, but each one does change the character of the car.

The 420i petrol engine is the cheapest option, and accelerates briskly. Fuel economy is mediocre, with an official figure of up to 37.7mpg, depending on the options that you choose, but efficiency isn't a strength of this 4 Series.

The entry-level 420d diesel engine offers virtually the same performance, but in a different way. Without the need to rev it quite so hard for maximum power, initial acceleration seems faster, but the driving experience is less sporty, as the engine starts sounding rough if you do push it towards the rev limit. Efficiency is better, with an official figure of up to 50.4mpg.

Mid-range 430i and 430d cars bring more power and slightly faster acceleration, but the big change comes with the BMW 440i, which is a large petrol engine, with en enormous power reserve, allowing it to accelerate rapidly, but smoothly from 0-62mph in just 5 seconds.

The power is delivered very differently in the BMW M4, with a sense of urgency that underlines its rapid acceleration time. Neither of the big petrol engines will be cheap to run.

There's a choice of manual or automatic gearbox with the 420i and 420d models. The rest of the cars only come with an automatic gearbox that's smooth to change but suffers from an irritating delay if you use the paddles behind the steering wheel to trigger a gear change manually.

All of the diesel engines and the 420i petrol model can be fitted with xDrive four-wheel drive, which adds weight but improves grip when accelerating - particularly on slippery surfaces.

Fuel

Fuel economy

Power

Acceleration (0-62mph)

Top speed

420i

Petrol

33.2-37.7mpg

184hp

7.3-7.8sec

147mph

430i

Petrol

34.4-37.2mpg

252hp

5.8sec

155mph

440i

Petrol

30.7-33.6mpg

326hp

5.0sec

155mph

M4

Petrol

27.4-28.5mpg

431-450hp

4.0-4.3sec

155mph

420d

Diesel

43.5-50.4mpg

190hp

7.2-7.4sec

146mph

430d

Diesel

38.2-42.2mpg

258hp

5.2-5.5sec

155mph

435d

Diesel

39.2-40.4mpg

313hp

4.7sec

155mph

BMW 4 Series Trims 

Sport, M Sport

With the 2017 update BMW reduced the trim selection for models other than the M4, to just two: Sport and M Sport.

M Sport costs £1,350 more than Sport and makes the car look sportier with a re-shaped lower grille and chrome exhausts. Inside, the superior BMW Professional dashboard display is added, increasing the screen size to 10.25in, compared to the measly 6.5in screen in Sport models.

Screen size aside, Sport models come well-equipped with leather seats, alloy wheels, sat nav, dual-zone climate control, parking sensors and heated seats.

The M4 goes further than both with larger alloy wheels, adaptive suspension and much sportier styling. The optional Competition Package (it costs £3,000) brings more power and lightweight seats.

BMW 4 Series Reliability and warranty 

The 4 Series comes with a three-year, unlimited-mileage warranty, so you’re well covered if anything goes wrong. Unfortunately, there is a good chance that you'll find an issue on the car. The 4 Series was ranked 68 out of 75 cars in the 2018 Auto Express Driver Power satisfaction survey, with one in three owners reporting a problem - most commonly with the electrics, suspension or brakes.

Owners do enjoy owning it though, rating it particularly well for performance and road handling, ease of driving and ride quality.

Used BMW 4 Series 

Prices for the BMW 4 Series start at £15,199 on BuyaCar, with finance from £204 per month?. However, the range has not been identical throughout the car's life. Changes to the 4 Series in 2017 included revised trim levels.

Entry-level SE models were dropped from the range and now look like a bargain, as they came equipped with leather seats, climate control, alloy wheels, rear parking sensors, digital radio and sat-nav.

There aren't great numbers of used versions. Prices on BuyaCar start at £15,199, or from £208 per month with finance..

Luxury trim added chrome detailing outside, different alloy wheels and more expensive feeling leather, for a more luxurious feel.

Look out for cars fitted with the M Sport Plus Pack, which adds 19-inch alloy wheels, uprated brakes, a Harmon Kardon stereo and a few extra luxuries.

 

1 year old

2 years old

3 years old

Best for performance BMW M4

Price

£41,306

£37,950

£35,492

Best for families BMW 430i M Sport GranCoupe

Price

£24,149

£21,872

£19,490

Best for economy BMW 420d Sport

Price

£21,488

n/a

£15,499