BMW 4 Series review - Do chassis tweaks make the 2017 4 Series a real drivers' car?

The entire 4 Series range is made up of stylish, comfortable and competent models

Evo rating
from £32,335
  • Quality cabin, elegant exterior styling, excellent drivetrains
  • Not the most exciting BMW to drive…

The BMW 4 Series is available in three distinct body styles. The Coupé (codenamed F32) is the sporty two-door, the Convertible (F33) does ultimate boulevard style and the Gran Coupé (F36) takes the ‘four-door coupé’ fight to the likes of Audi’s A5 Sportback, blending rakish looks and an appealing drive with saloon car-esque practicality.

> Read our review of the BMW M4

Despite their superb cabins and handsome exterior looks, the 4 Series models still struggle to reach the dynamic heights that BMW has long been fabled for. The facelifted version does improve upon the original in terms of handling ability, but this is still a car that’s more about comfort than outright speed.

BMW 4 Series in detail

Performance and 0-60 timeThe 435d xDrive Coupé manages an extrodinary 0-62mph time of 4.7sec. The rest of the range isn’t quite as remarkable, sadly.

Engine and gearbox Despite BMW’s reputation for straight-six engines, the 4 Series range is mostly powered by four-cylinder units.

Ride and handling Not as sharp as you might expect from a BMW coupe, but there’s still plenty to enjoy about the way the 4 Series drives.

MPG and running costs The move towards turbocharged engines in the BMW range has helped to give the 4 Series impressive on-paper economy

Interior and tech A significant leap over the previous 3 Series Coupe, it’s more distinctive as well as an improvement on quality.

Design A lower roofline and a sleeker silhouette makes the 4 Series look more elegant than its close relative, the 3 Series. 

Prices, specs and rivals 

There are a bewildering 89 distinct 4 Series models across the F32/F33/F36 line-ups. BMW bizarrely prices the Gran Coupé at exactly the same money as the two-door Coupé, so both ranges begin at £32,335. The Convertible starts from £35,025.

Trim levels kick off with SE but above that are two branches, the performance orientated versions are the Sport and M Sport models, while Luxury provides more elegance and comfort. The general rule of thumb is that a Sport costs £1,500 more than an SE, a Luxury £1,000 more than a Sport and the M Sport is a £500 leap up from a Luxury. Adding xDrive commands a £1,500 premium. 

> Read our review of the Audi A5

In terms of rivals, the 4 Series has to fight off competition from the usual luxury German brands. Audi’s A5 range has every 4 Series covered, from coupe, convertible and even four-door coupe with the A5 Sportback.

The Mercedes C-class is available as a coupe and a drop top to take the fight to the 4 Series. However there is no equivalent four-door coupe of the Mercedes, only the bigger CLS or smaller CLA.

Where the 4 Series range is lacking compared to the Merc and Audi line-up is a credible performance car below the ultimate M4. The Mercedes-AMG C43 Coupe and Audi S5 are very capable, fast cars, and more focused than BMW’s 440i.

> Find out how the BMW 340i Touring compares to the Mercedes-AMG C43 Estate

Away from BMW’s usual rivals there’s the Volkswagen CC, which offers a similar concept to the 4 Series at a cheaper price. Infiniti’s Q60 S has sleek coupe looks, is priced competitively and has impressive on-paper performance. Sadly it’s far from being anywhere near as good to drive as the 4 Series.

Think laterally and you could even consider the Porsche Cayman a rival to the regular 4 Series Coupé.

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