BMW 4 Series review

  • New BMW 4 Series driven in UK
  • Replaces 3 Series Coupe
  • On sale October, priced from 31,575
Words BySteve Huntingford

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The BMW 4 Series is a replacement for the 3 Series Coupe, with the change of name part of a plan to make it feel more like a standalone model than just a 3 Series with two fewer doors.

It’s longer, lower and wider than both the old 3 Series Coupe and the current 3 Series saloon – proportions that help it look sportier.

What’s more, the 4 Series is better equipped, with even the basic SE trim getting xenon headlights, front and rear parking sensors and leather upholstery.

Three engines will be available at launch: a 2.0-litre turbo petrol (badged 428i), a 3.0-litre turbo petrol (435i) and a 2.0-litre diesel (420d).

This range will quickly expand to include an xDrive four-wheel-drive version of the 420d, a less powerful 2.0-litre petrol model (420i) in rear-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive forms, and two 3.0-litre diesels (the 430d and the 435d xDrive).

What’s the 2013 BMW 4 Series like to drive?

The 435i pulls strongly from low revs all the way through to 7000rpm, and feels properly quick; it’s the sort of car that makes overtaking effortless.

The engine also makes a pleasant noise when you rev it, even if it isn’t especially loud, while the optional eight-speed automatic gearbox fitted to our test car is well worth considering because it shifts swiftly and smartly.

As good as the 435i is, it’s the diesel 420d that will be the biggest best seller, and it’s easy to see why because this model's diesel engine is still a flexible performer yet is much cheaper to buy and run.

It’s just a pity the 420d’s engine isn’t a little more refined; it sounds quite gruff around town and under hard acceleration.

We've also tried the 428i, which doesn't feel as fast as its figures suggest and also sounds pretty tame. However, a claimed average of 44.1mpg is pretty remarkable for a petrol car with 242bhp.

One of the best things about the latest 3 Series is the fine balance it strikes between ride comfort and agility, and this hasn’t been lost with the 4 Series. In fact, its lower centre of gravity and wider stance help it feel slightly more composed in corners.

It should be noted, though, that our test cars were fitted with Adaptive M Sport suspension, an option that greatly improves body control on the 3 Series.

Steering that’s precise but relatively light adds to the enjoyment of driving the 4 Series, although it's a shame there's quite a bit of road noise over most surfaces.

What’s the 2013 BMW 4 Series like inside?

The 4 Series looks identical to a 3 Series saloon from the driver’s seat, aside from some minor trim changes.

Fortunately, this means you get a classy dashboard with clear instruments and BMW’s intuitive iDrive infotainment system.

The seats are supportive, too, and they offer a good range of adjustment, although the 420i and 420d have fiddly manual seat controls instead of the electric adjustment that comes as standard with the 435i.

Rear access is surprisingly good, with the front seats tilting and sliding a long way forward so there’s a large gap to climb through. However, while there’s plenty of legroom in the back, only those under six-feet tall will have enough headroom.

The boot can swallow 445 litres of luggage, which is just 35 litres down on the 3 Series saloon’s capacity.

Should I buy one?

For all the talk of making the 4 Series feel different to the 3 Series saloon, it’s actually very similar. However, given that the 3 Series is our reigning Executive Car of the Year, this is no bad thing.

True, the 4 Series carries a premium of just over Β£3000, but this isn’t excessive given the extra style and equipment it offers.

The 4 Series is also priced in line with the rival Audi A5 and Mercedes E-Class Coupe, and is better to drive than both.

If you’re after a classy, four-seat coupe, the 4 Series is definitely worth considering.

What Car? says...


Audi A5 Coupe

Mercedes E-Class Coupe

Engine size 2.0-litre turbo petrol
Price from Β£32,595
Power 242bhp
Torque 258lb ft
0-62mph 5.9 seconds
Top speed 155mph
Fuel economy 42.8mpg
CO2 emissions 154g/km

Engine size 3.0-litre turbo petrol
Price from Β£40,795
Power 302bhp
Torque 295lb ft
0-62mph 5.4 seconds
Top speed 155mph
Fuel economy 35.8mpg
CO2 emissions 185g/km

Engine size 2.0-litre diesel
Price from Β£31,575
Power 181bhp
Torque 280lb ft
0-62mph 7.5 seconds
Top speed 149mph
Fuel economy 60.1mpg
CO2 emissions 124g/km