Blue BMW 4 Series parked in an outdoor setting with dramatic sunset

BMW 4 Series review (2013-2021)

The BMW 4 Series comprises the coupe and convertible versions of the popular 3 Series. Nippy yet efficient, this well-equipped car offers a fantastic driving experience.

Pros

  • All models are great to drive
  • Well built throughout
  • Sporty coupe styling

Cons

  • Not the most practical
  • The ride is a little firm
  • Boot access isn't great

Summary

“The BMW 4 Series is a luxurious car with excellent driving dynamics and great performance.”

The BMW 4 Series is a luxurious car with excellent driving dynamics and great performance, thanks to a choice of engines that range from thrifty diesels to performance petrols.

All cars are beautifully stylish with interiors designed to meet the needs of the driver. As you would expect from BMW, models are well equipped with state-of-the-art technology, sat nav and cruise control. Sporty in appearance, the 4 Series has just enough boot space for the weekend luggage.

The 4 Series models include a coupe and convertible which are both two-door and a more practical four-door Gran Coupe. This is the first-generation model, introduced in 2013, given a refresh in 2017 and sold new until 2021.

What’s the interior like?

“The 4 Series interior is dark and sporty with lots of black trim.”

Inside, the 4 Series is dark and sporty with lots of black trim nicely offset by aluminium-look inserts. There’s a great quality about the materials, fit and finish, although it's perhaps not quite as plush as the Audi A5.

The 4 Series has a comprehensive and easy to use infotainment system, controlled by a rotary controller in the centre console, within easy reach of the driver.

The rear seats have reasonable legroom for a coupe. That said, with only two side doors getting in and out is going to be harder than with a 3 Series and taller people won't enjoy longer journeys. You can always go for the Gran Coupe model, which has an extra set of doors in the back, for increased space and comfort.

Boot space is 420 litres in the coupe. It’s not the most practical shape, but you’ll be able to fit in a number of suitcases. The convertible boot space is only 370 litres but the Gran Coupe has a decent 480 litres.

What’s it like to drive?

“The 4 Series is a great car with fantastic driving experience and a wide range of engines.”

The 4 Series is a great car with fantastic driving experience and a wide range of engines. The 2.0-litre diesel is really efficient, while petrol choices range from a popular 2.0-litre to the 3.0-litre, which powers the more sporty models.

Sporty driving is a hallmark of the 4 Series, putting it ahead of rivals like the Audi A5 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe when it comes to fun. All models give you an excellent driving position and can be as relaxing or engaging as you want them to be. Being a coupe, rear visibility isn’t as great as a saloon but most have parking sensors and a reverse camera.

Automatic gearboxes are the most popular – you can relax in traffic or take control on sportier expeditions. Paddle shifters allow you to change gears manually while keeping your hands on the steering wheel.

It’s worth trying to find a used 4 Series with the optional adaptive suspension, which allows you to change how comfortable or firm you want the ride to be.

Is it cost-efficient to buy and run?

“The 4 Series usually depreciates more than rival cars, which is good news if you're buying a used one.”

Depending on the model, the 4 Series usually depreciates more than rival cars, which is good news if you're buying a used one. Manual models are usually cheaper, but they aren’t as fuel-efficient as the eight-speed automatic models.

Running costs vary depending on which model you go for. The diesel-engined line up gives you the best combination of performance and economy, but the 420i petrol version also delivers an m,pg in the mid-40s, according to official figures. Tax and insurance for the 4 Series are comparable to rivals.

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Which one is best for you?

The 2.0-litre diesel that powers the 420d is a great combination of performance and economy, meaning it will suit most people. If you're likely to drive fewer than 12,000 miles a year, the 2.0-litre petrol or 420i is a great choice – those would be our main recommendations as all-rounders, but there are sportier versions available with extra powerful engines (both petrol and diesel), up to the high-performance M4.

All models are well equipped, but it’s worth considering whether you want the softer suspension or trims, such as the SE and Luxury, or the firmer ride of the more exciting M Sport versions. If you have your heart set on a 4 Series coupe but still need some four-door practicality, then the Gran Coupe is the one to have a look at.

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