Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
The BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe in entry-level 420i petrol form is all you really need. It may only have 181bhp but it feels brisk enough during normal driving, offering plenty of power low in the rev range and officially getting from 0-62mph in 7.9sec.
You have to work it hard to make it feel quick, but it won’t leave you hanging when getting up to motorway speeds or overtaking slower cars. The more powerful 430i has 241bhp and should get from 0-62mph in 6.2sec, but we’ve yet to try that engine.
You can’t have the 4 Series Gran Coupe with a manual gearbox, but that's no bad thing. Unlike the auto box in the Audi A5 Sportback, its eight-speed automatic acts with little delay when you want to pull away and it’s more than happy to drop down a gear when you ask for a sudden burst of power.
Every 4 Series has ‘variable’ steering as standard, and this certainly avoids lots of excessive arm-twirling at town speeds and when parking. However, at faster speeds, even tiny steering inputs have a big say on your direction, which can make the car feel a little flighty and nervous. It’s something you get used to, though, and can be mitigated by switching to its Sport setting. This adds more weight to the steering and, in turn, gives you more confidence.
The 4 Series Gran Coupe has quite a firm ride, even compared with the BMW 3 Series. Regardless, that works in its favour, limiting body lean much better than the A5 Sportback and Mercedes CLA. That also means it handles more dynamically than those rivals, cornering with greater enthusiasm.
If you avoid the entry-level M Sport trim, you’ll get M Adaptive Suspension as standard. That helps keep the car’s body incredibly flat and stable through corners. Its advantages are best felt in the M440i, which is incredibly balanced and agile, making the Audi S5 feel wallowy in comparison.
Adaptive suspension gives the 4 Series Gran Coupe an agreeably split personality. It behaves like a sports car in its firmest mode, but if you switch to Comfort, the ride becomes more pliant than you might imagine.
It’s still firmer than the A5, but thanks to its excellent damping there’s no crashing or shuddering over broken surfaces, as there sometimes is in the S5 and Mercedes C43 AMG. M Sport models without adaptive suspension do a good job in that regard, too, but ride more firmly overall.