Error parsing XSLT file: \xslt\FacebookOpenGraph.xslt First drive: BMW 4 Series Coupe
Cookies on Businesscar

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on the Business Car website. However, if you would like to, you can change your cookies at any time

BusinessCar magazine website email Awards mobile

The start point for the best source of fleet information

First drive: BMW 4 Series Coupe

Date: 07 December 2020   |   Author: Pete Tullin

The styling of the all-new BMW 4 Series Coupe may divide opinion, but only among those who haven't driven it.
Standard equipment:
18in alloy wheels, adaptive LED headlights, climate control, 10.25in control display, Apple Carplay, Microsoft Office 365, real-time traffic information, heated front seats, parking assist with reversing camera and front and rear parking sensors
Petrol: 184hp 2.0, 258hp 2.0, 374hp 3.0
Diesel: 190hp. 2.0
Equipment grades:
M Sport
Eight-speed auto

In these days of risk-averse design you have to feel BMW deserves huge credit for taking such a radical and potentially polarising approach to the styling of its latest four-seater fastback. Love or hate the looks, one thing is for sure: that gawpy grille will seem positively tight-lipped compared to the huge grin on your face the first time you drive a 4 Series M Sport Coupe.      

Although it is based on similar underpinnings and employs many of the same powertrains as the latest 3 Series, the Coupe features additional body stiffening, a lower ride height, a wider rear axle, and more direct steering. 

Primarily, it is the exceptional levels of torsional rigidity that endows the 4 Series with exceptional driving talents. 

It may not be the sexiest of subjects but stiff underpinnings are essential to a car's ability to ride, corner, brake, change direction, suppress undesirable harshness and vibrations and, well, you get the picture. 

Given this exceptional starting point, some may argue BMW's engineers needn't have pushed the handling envelope as far as they have over the comfort quotient, but even working within the constraints of a tightly sprung M-Sport suspension the 4 Series deals with most surface imperfections very impressively indeed. 

Yes, a degree of rear axle agitation is evident - even when driving over relatively smooth surfaces - but this is offset by minimal amounts of impact aftershake, so the overall impression is one of exceptionally refined suspension management. 

You can minimise impacts even further by selecting the M Sport Pro package, which brings adaptive damping and a selectable softer-riding comfort mode. This undoubtedly brings out the best in the 4 Series, delivering superior ride quality with no tangible loss of grip or precision. That said, at £2,500 it's not a cheap option, or a totally perfect one for that matter, as the sportier setting unleashes a ride so firm it is close to unusable on UK roads. You pay your money.

Regardless of suspension option, road noise remains impressively well isolated, while those frameless windows and A-pillar mounted rear-view mirrors appear to generate little or no detectable increase in wind turbulence compared with the 3 Series saloon. 

The engine line-up ranges from truly impressive to absolute cracker.

The entry 184hp 2.0-litre is particularly refined with a velvety idle and a smooth linear pick-up throughout the rev range, and it's no sluggard either, with a gentle ease of the gas pedal releasing a surprising brisk turn of pace.

Of course, this kind of performance is made to look like a pensioner queuing at a post office compared to the M440i. Featuring a turbine-smooth 3.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine developing a thunderous 374hp, it is as well that BMW has fitted four-wheel drive as standard to provide the levels of grip and traction this kind of power output demands. 

Back in the real world, the 2.0-litre diesel is a particular gem, generating a vibrant 190hp and 400Nm of torque. It's aided by a 48V mild-hybrid system, providing engine-off coasting at speed, smooth stop-start events, and an occasional 11hp boost from the electric motor. In practice, it is a quiet, smooth and extremely tractable engine, capable of sparkling performance along with low-60s mpg. 

You have to think no manufacturer is making better quality interiors than BMW at the moment, and the 4 Series is no exception. While the dashboard showcases sharp, digital instrumentation, piano-black highlights, silvered air vent controls and regimented banks of favourite buttons, these eye-candy items are complemented by lashings of soft-touch leather trim and subtle use of M Sport tricolour stitching.  

As you'd expect, BMW's staple iDrive system is central to the infotainment controls. Using its large, central, scrolling wheel or short-cut favourites buttons, infotainment menus can be intuitively selected and clearly displayed on a central high-definition screen.

This ease of use is augmented by voice recognition, which frees you from interactions with buttons and switches to provide a safer method of changing radio stations, adjusting the cabin temperature, or programming satnav instructions.

Whether you're inclined to the cost-effective 420i because it's all the car you'll ever need, or the rocket ship 440i because it's all the car you have ever dreamt of, the 4 Series is as a truly exceptional motor car. With engaging performance and dynamics, an exceptional refinement and cabin quality, regardless of what detractors may make of the styling, it seems the 4 Series is destined for stellar positioning in the compact executive coupe class.

BMW 420i M Sport Coupe

P11D: £40,190

Residual value: 40.7% 

Depreciation: £23,840

Fuel: £7,081

Service, maintenance and repair: £2,370

Cost per mile: 55.5p

Fuel consumption: 42.2mpg

CO2 (BIK band): 153g/km (33%)  

BIK 20/40% a month: £221/£442

Boot space: 440 litres

Engine size/power: 1,998cc/184hp


  • Exceptionally refined engines
  • Engaging handling
  • Impressive refinement
  • Controversial styling
  • Firmish ride
  • Expensive options