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First Drive

First Drive: BMW 4-Series Coupe

The story: This is the second generation of 4-Series-badge coupe, based on the modified underpinnings of the 3-Series saloon.
Key rival:Audi A5
On sale:Now


There’s no getting away from the biggest talking point of the new 4-Series – that grille. Striking, gaping, dominant, call it what you will, but it’s certain to split opinion. In its defence, it’s not as bad in the metal as in pictures, and is much better in colours that hide its vast expanse.

The 4-Series is based on the 3-Series platform, but with changes such as increased stiffening to bring a sportier experience than its four-door sibling. The new model is 12cm longer than its predecessor and has a wider track, along with a lower centre of gravity. It certainly looks more elongated, helped by the slimmer glass area that, along with the bulkier wheel arches, are designed to accentuate the Coupe’s lines.

First Drive-November 2020-BMW 4-Series Coupe-Image 1The range kicks off with 420i, 430i and 440i petrol engines and the 420d driven here, with a pair of powerful six-cylinder xDrive diesels due to be added next March.

The diesels all get a mild hybrid system that’s subtle enough to not be detectable from the driver’s seat, yet is claimed to offer an extra 11hp under acceleration or to give an efficiency boost to the electrical system.

In the rear-drive form driven here, the 4-Series feels as nimble and fun as ever, with the 190hp engine continuing to prove itself to be a gem. Its surge of acceleration is, while not as dramatic as the more potent 4-Series models, still enough to enjoy, and the emissions figures get down to just 121g/km depending on specification. That’s a big advantage over its Audi and Mercedes rivals, which cannot offer an A5 or C-Class Coupe below 133g/km.

First Drive-November 2020-BMW 4-Series Coupe-Image 4The boot is claimed to be around 30 litres up on the previous luggage area and feels like it goes back a long way through an admittedly fairly narrow opening, while the elongated body makes a difference in terms of passenger-carrying potential. Although it’s not as spacious as a regular saloon, carrying four adults is certainly not an issue as long as the driver isn’t too tall.

paul barker

The verdict

It could be a challenge to get past the front end styling, but if it’s not a deal-breaker then the 4-Series is better and more appealing than ever.