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- Highs Roomier than most two-doors, speedy and thrifty six-cylinder engine, superb ride and handling.
- Lows Lackluster cabin materials, limited cubby storage, extras can become costly.
- Verdict Despite some conservative qualities, the BMW coupe and convertible are mostly terrific.
The 2020 BMW 4-Series epitomizes the brand's luxury pedigree and storied driving engagement. There's a sporty coupe for enthusiasts and a hard-top convertible for sun-seekers. While a four-cylinder engine with rear-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is offered, the gutsy optional six-cylinder is silky smooth and is very fuel efficient. Despite the interior's sedate aesthetic and lack of cubby storage, the cabin is quiet and passenger space is plentiful. The 4 has some desirable standard equipment and offers myriad luxury features, but the latter can easily inflate the bottom line. Still, the 2020 4-Series is classic BMW, with a pleasantly firm ride and terrific handling.
What's New for 2020?
The 2020 4-Series carries over mostly unchanged, but the coupe and convertible add newly standard features and different options. Driver assists such as automated emergency braking, forward-collision warning, pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning, and more are now standard. The 4 also receives minor styling tweaks that include darker taillights, black grille surrounds, and an updated rear diffuser. The other 2020 additions are Mocha Dakota leather, carbon-fiber trim, new wheel designs, and new paint colors (Mediterranean Blue and Sunset Orange). Convertible models are no longer available with the M Sport brakes.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
The BMW 4-Series base price is $45,945, which closely aligns with the Audi A5 and the Mercedes C-class. The available convertible and turbocharged six-cylinder both significantly increase the price. While we prefer the coupe body style, the quick and efficient six is worth the investment. We'd also select the no-cost manual transmission (the automatic is standard) and pass on the $2000 all-wheel-drive system. Instead, we'd dress up the otherwise staid cabin with one of the upgraded upholstery options for $1450. The M Sport package ($3400) further enhances the 4's driving character with a sportier suspension and includes unique bodywork and exclusive interior features. The $1700 Track Handling package maximizes the 4's performance potential with adaptive dampers, upgraded brakes, stickier tires, and variable steering.
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Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The 430i is powered by a zesty 248-hp turbocharged four-cylinder, while the 440i boasts a 320-hp turbocharged inline-six that lives up to BMW's reputation as a company that makes great engines. Rear-wheel drive is standard, but all models can be equipped with all-wheel drive. Both engines provide more than enough forward thrust to keep things interesting. The last 440i coupe we tested went from zero to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds, quicker than any rival. While an eight-speed automatic transmission is standard, a six-speed manual transmission is available on certain models. Direct your attention to the hard-core BMW M4 (reviewed separately) for no-holds-barred performance. While the regular 4-Series won't deliver a white-knuckle driving experience, its chassis instantly adapts to the spirited nature of twisty backroads or the relaxed comfort of black-top boulevards. Still, the BMW is at its best blitzing down a curvy road where its body motion is minimal. In our cornering test, it had the least amount of grip of its rivals, but that's not an indictment of the coupe's performance; its best attribute is blending athletic handling and a composed ride.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
While the EPA ratings indicate only a small difference between the four- and six-cylinder 4-Series, our 200-mile highway fuel-economy test revealed a surprising disparity between them. The last rear-drive 440i coupe we tested beat its EPA highway estimate of 32 mpg by an impressive 5 mpg. The rear-drive 430i coupe was less impressive as it merely matched its highway rating at 33 mpg.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
A sports car's interior must cater to the driver, and a luxury car's must be comfortable. The 4-Series accomplishes both, with an excellent driving position and spacious passenger accommodations. Its materials and finishes are becoming dated, however. The M Sport package adds a unique leather-wrapped steering wheel that looks and feels amazing. The standard front sport seats are supportive but too firm, especially on longer road trips. While two doors might denote limited cargo space, the 4 is less limited than most of its rivals. The coupe held four carry-ons with the rear seats folded, but interior cubby storage is sparse and caused us to mostly rely on the cupholders. A center pass-through is accessible in the back seat but foling the outboard seatbacks must be done via release handles in the trunk.
Infotainment and Connectivity
BMW's iDrive infotainment system is aesthetically pleasing, and the absence of a touchscreen means bye-bye finger smudges. While Apple CarPlay is standard, Android Auto isn't available. A display screen sits atop the dashboard looking like a propped-up tablet. It's operated by a rotary knob surrounded by redundant buttons on the center console for intuitive control.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
The 2020 4-Series has not been crash-tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). BMW also outfits the 4 with several standard and optional driver-assistance technologies. Key safety features include:
- Standard forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking
- Available adaptive cruise control
- Available self-parking assist
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
The warranty of the BMW 4-Series is competitive with other entry-luxury cars; its standout feature is its lengthy complimentary scheduled maintenance.
- Limited warranty covers 4 years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers 4 years or 50,000 miles
- Complimentary maintenance is covered for 3 years or 36,000 miles
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