- Better looking than 3 Series
- Confident, grippy driver
- Peppy four-cylinder, strong inline-six
- Hasn't been redesigned since 2014
- Can get very pricey
- Some active safety features locked in an option package
BMW 4-Series Expert Review
- New diffuser, darker taillights, high-gloss black grille trim
- Lane departure warning and auto emergency braking with pedestrian detection now standard
- Rain-sensing wipers now standard
The 4 Series debuted alongside the last-gen 3 Series, replacing what used to be called the 3 Series coupe and convertible. Just to add to the confusion, BMW calls a four-door variant ?the Gran Coupe. As its own nameplate, the 4 Series ranges from the docile four-cylinder variant to the tire-smoking, drift-happy M4 coupe and convertible. It competes with other sporting Germans including the Audi A5 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.
As a wider, lower, more athletic-looking 3 Series, the 4 Series drives—unexpectedly—a lot like a 3 Series. The chassis feels balanced and inspires confidence with plenty of grip. We're fans of the boosted inline-six, but even the turbo-four sounds fun and has no issues motivating the 4 from one corner's exit to the next corner's entry.
The Gran Coupe—a four-door version of the two-door version of a four-door car—offers a more sensuous shape than the 3 Series and offers more cargo space thanks to its roof-hinged hatchback. Suspension, steering, and brake tuning revisions for 2018 delivered steering effort and response appropriate for the segment without upsetting the excellent chassis balance.
Our only real complaint about the 4 Series is one that's existed since we first evaluated it for Car of the Year, and its value. The price tag can climb quickly building out a 4 Series, especially considering driver assist features we've become accustomed to are not all included as standard. It doesn't help that while the 3 Series got a full redesign for 2020, the 4 Series is still stuck in its last-gen form. That being said, if the next generation has a grille that looks anything like the Concept 4 that debuted at Frankfurt, perhaps we should enjoy this handsome coupe while we still can.
Entry-level 4 Series models come with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four under the hood, paired with a six-speed manual or an eight-speed automatic. Base models are RWD, and those with xDrive in the name are AWD. The turbo-four develops 248 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. Back when the engine made 8 fewer horses and the model was badged the 428i, we hustled a RWD coupe to 60 in 5.2 seconds. In an automatic, four-door 430i Gran Coupe, the four-cylinder is EPA-rated at 23/34 mpg city/highway with RWD or 21/31 mpg with AWD.
Step up to the 440i, and you'll be treated to a 3.0-liter turbo inline-six that generates 320 hp and 330 lb-ft of torque. When we drove that engine in a 340i, it helped the sedan scoot up to 60 in 5.1 seconds. Again in the Gran Coupe, the 3.0-liter is rated at 22/30 mpg regardless of drive type.
At the top of the 4 Series range is a motorsport-inspired version that's been fiddled with by the folks at BMW's M Division called ?the M4. Among other engine mods, the M4 integrates a second turbo to the 440i's 3.0-liter inline-six, the results being 425 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque. An M4 coupe with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic managed to reach 60 mph in just 4.0 seconds. Special-edition models boost horsepower to 444.
BMW adds basic standard active safety to the 4 Series for 2020 that includes lane departure warning and automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection. If you tick the right boxes, though, you can have your 4 with blind-spot monitoring, auto high beams, park assist, and adaptive cruise control.
The 4 Series Gran Coupe can seat up to five, with 42.2 inches of legroom up front and 33.7 inches out back, but two-door coupe and convertible models sacrifice the center seat of the rear bench, cutting seating capacity to four. Cargo volume is also the strongest in the Gran Coupe, with 17.0 cubic feet in the trunk and up to 45.9 cubic feet with the rear seats folded.
Every 4 Series has an 8.8-inch touchscreen iDrive infotainment system, which includes navigation and Apple CarPlay as standard. A 205-watt 9-speaker system is included in 430i models, and a 600-watt, 16-speaker Harman Kardon system is standard on the 440i.
2020 BMW 430i / 430i xDrive
The entry-level 4 Series starts with a 2.0-liter turbo-four, eight-speed automatic, 18-inch alloy wheels, and RWD. It features power-folding heated side mirrors, LED headlights and fog lights, front and rear parking sensors, a power moonroof, a power tailgate, ambient exterior lighting, and rain-sensing wipers.
Inside, you'll find 10-way power front sport seats with adjustable side bolsters and thigh support, driver's side seat memory, anthracite wood and gloss chrome interior trim, an 8.8-inch infotainment system with integrated navigation and over-the-air updates, Apple CarPlay and satellite radio capability, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Standard active safety tech includes lane departure warning, and automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection.
2020 BMW 440i / 440i xDrive
The step up to the 440i is mostly an engine upgrade, swapping the 430i's four-cylinder for a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six. Additional feature content includes four-way front seat lumbar support, 16-speaker Harman Kardon audio, a 1-year SiriusXM satellite radio subscription, proximity key, and a Nappa leather-wrapped steering wheel.