BMW 4 Series (2020) Review

BMW 4 Series (2020) At A Glance

5/5
Honest John Overall Rating
Not everyone will like how the BMW 4 Series Coupe looks but, if you can see past that enormous grille, it's a brilliant alternative to an Audi A5 or Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe. While it's not a practical choice, the interior is superb and it's better to drive than any of its peers. It feels a lot more special than a BMW 3 Series, too.

+Most affordable 420i is possibly the best 4 Series on sale. Incredible to drive. Superb interior. Feels more special than a 3 Series.

-Its bold looks aren't to everyone's tastes. Prices start from around £40,000.

Designing the new 4 Series could have been left to the work experience kid in BMW's design department. Take the already quite attractive 3 Series, remove the rear doors, give it a sleeker roofline and boom, a strong-selling alternative to the Audi A5, Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe and Lexus RC. It needn't have been an arduous task.

It seems, though, that the apprentice went a bit rogue and the result is that front grille which has triggered countless internet forum threads and no doubt lost BMW a sale or two. But you certainly can't accuse the BMW 4 Series of being shy and retiring - and who buys a premium German coupe to blend in?

If you've read this far, presumably you're not that offended by the way the 4 Series looks. And we can assure you that, while its design may divide opinion, it's the connoisseur's choice in this class in terms of the way it drives.

The majority of buyers will opt for the entry-level 420i model and that's fine, as we reckon it's probably the best engine in the line-up. It's a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol which produces 184PS and 300Nm of torque, meaning the 420i can accelerate to 62mph in a sprightly 7.5 seconds.

There's also a diesel 420d which will appeal to the long-distance drivers, a 430i (the sleeper choice) and a hot M440. All come with BMW's excellent eight-speed steptronic auto 'box, while you can choose between rear- or all-wheel drive (depending on model).

All of them are fun to drive, but we like the agility of the 420i. The four-cylinder engine is the lightest of the bunch and that means the entry-level car feels the most tactile on a twisty road. The six-cylinder petrols hold plenty of appeal, though - not only for the authentic BMW soundtrack but also for the ease at which they overtake slower traffic. The M440i in particular is a lot of fun and almost makes the upcoming M4 feel a bit redundant.

While the 4 Series coupe's exterior design will divide opinion, there's little to dislike about the interior. It's just as upmarket as you'd expect if you're spending upwards of £40,000 on a new BMW. Sure, you might be able to hunt out a few hard finishes here and there - but only in places where otherwise you might scuff a delicate finish with your dirty boots.

All models come with BMW's 10.25-inch media system which is perfectly positioned in the driver's eyeline without being distracting. We like that you can access it a number of ways - including touchscreen, via the rotary trackpad controller between the front seats, or via BMW's Alexa-like virtual assistant.

It's quick to respond and intuitive to use (the media system - not the virtual assistant... we'll come onto that), while Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are also standard (wirelessly, too).

As you'd expect for a coupe like this, the 4 Series isn't the most practical choice. It's strictly a four-seater and, even then, an adult will have to be quite committed to squeeze into the back seats. The boot's big enough, though, and you can drop the rear seats if you're heading away for the weekend without kids in tow.

While BMW could have played it safe with the 4 Series, we're actually glad it hasn't. It's simply brilliant to drive, has a superb interior and, we reckon, you might even start to like how it looks.

What does a BMW 4 Series (2020) cost?