BMW 4 Series Review
A refreshed BMW 4 Series hits the roads in various guises in 2017, can it tempt buyers away from its rivals?
- Practical and spacious
- Priced same as coupe
- Good, solid drive
- Options are costly
- Centre console starting to look dated
- Basics like split-folding rear seats are an option
The BMW 4 Series was first launched in 2013 as a striking coupe and convertible with a 5-door Gran Coupe added a year later so buyers had a choice of bodystyles. Now, with nearly 400,000 sold globally, rival manufacturers like Audi have seen its success and followed suit with expanding model ranges. 2017 sees the BMW 4 Series updated so we took the popular Gran Coupe for a spin in the Cotswolds.
On the Road
We drove the 435d which has a 3.0 litre diesel engine producing 313hp with a healthy 630Nm of torque so expect it to get from 0-62mph in just 4.8 seconds….not bad for a large car. It uses a very smooth, eight-speed automatic ‘box and has a top speed of a never-needed 155mph. It’s certainly powerful as the six cylinder picks up well from the off but for those wanting something less sporty there’s a choice of two other diesels; the popular 420d with 190hp and a 430d with 258hp.
There are three petrol engines, an entry level 420i with 184hp, 430i with 252hp and a 440i producing 326hp which gets to 62mph in just 5.1 seconds.
BMW have made revisions to the suspension, it’s a lot stiffer which surely would compromise the ride comfort, but they have got it perfectly balanced and even on 19-inch M Sport wheels it is very comfortable, plus it’s very agile and its reactive steering offers the driver plenty of confidence when giving it some push into the corners.
XDrive is BMW’s all-wheel drive system, so with all that power on tap it works well to keep you on the road and pointing the right way...
It can’t be denied that the 4 Series range is stunning. The Gran Coupe is a 5-door but it looks equally as good with the frameless door windows adding a coupe look plus it now comes with twin LED headlights as standard instead of Xenon ones and with enlarged exhaust pipes and a distinctive rear end, it’s a sporty looking model.
BMW have also added more leather interior options to the model with a range of colours to suit individual tastes from Night Blue Dakota, Ivory White Dakota and Cognac Dakota. New exterior colours include a vibrant Sunset Orange and a turquoise Snapper Rocks Blue that won’t be for the introverted drivers out there...
In the car
Now a red interior might have looked good in the 80’s but over 30 years later it just looks ghastly. To say the Coral Red Dakota leather is trying to make a statement is an understatement. BMW make great cars but the interiors are starting to look slightly dated. The centre console houses way too many buttons, the display screen at 8.8 inches is now looking a tad small if you compare it to the Mercedes-Benz dash which seems about a metre long.
It does feature their 6th generation navigation system which has a Real Traffic feature that will update your route as you’re driving along so you’re always aware of what is happening in real time. Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and wireless charging are optional.
The larger driver’s instrument panel is a clear TFT screen which does look good and can be personalised making analogue dials seemingly a thing of the past from the premium manufacturers.
The optional sports seats are extremely comfortable and supportive although it is worth noting that a car just under £55,000 didn’t have an electronically adjustable steering wheel, and it sure made a metallic clonking noise when the lever was moved. That being said though, a very nice leather sports wheel is standard.
It’s nice that BMW choose to give buyers the option of the much more practical Gran Coupe as there is a lot of leg and headroom for all passengers which you wouldn’t get in the coupe. There’s plenty of storage in the centre armrest, underneath the centre stack and in the doors too.
The boot holds 480 litres which can be increased with the split-folding rear seats, but be warned this is an option at £170. Staggering that something so basic is an option.
Comfort Access is part of an optional driver package, which if you have your hands full you can open the boot by moving your foot under the rear bumper.
The BMW 4 series Gran Coupe starts from £33,110 which the brand have cleverly priced so that it’s the same as the coupe.
BMW also reckon that three out of four buyers opt for the M-Sport trim and in this guise the car we drove was priced from £45,570 and it didn’t stop there. A list of options which included £895 for an electric sunroof, £620 for Active Cruise Control and £1,050 for adaptive LED headlights jumped it up to a whopping £54,530. If emoticons were allowed into review articles a face with its eyes on stalks would be featured right here. That’s a lot of extra money for options.
The 3.0 litre diesel should achieve a combined 49.6mpg in fuel economy figures, it emits 150g/km of CO2 so will cost £200 for the first year, then the standard rate of £140, but because the car is over £40,000 then there’ll be an additional £310 to pay from years two to six.
Despite the designers needing to up their game in bringing the interior up to date, the brushed metal inlays, nice, soft touch leather in the cabin and the gloss black finishes are a match to what Audi and Mercedes-Benz have to offer.
BMW don’t have a great reputation when it comes to reliabilty which is a shame as their build quality is really good, it’s their Far Eastern rivals which consistently come out on top and they need to improve in this area to be up there. Owners find they’re expensive to maintain, with electrical problems proving the area likely to be faulty over time.
The BMW 4 Series has never been tested in the Euro NCAP tests, but the 3 Series on which it is based took the full five stars in 2012 scoring 95% for adult protection, so we reckon this model which is packed with driver assistance and safety systems would rate just as highly.
It comes with a variety of airbags to protect driver and passengers, Dynamic Stability Control, an Anti-lock Braking system, Active Cruise Control, traction control, hill-start assist, a tyre pressure monitor, Drive Assist, Park Distance Control is fitted as standard on the front and rear and those needing some extra help when parking there is also a Reversing Assist camera. It has a Thatcham alarm system and an electronic engine immobiliser.