BMW 430i a top

sporting coupe

BMW 420d xDrive M Sport Coupe, front
BMW 420d xDrive M Sport Coupe, side
BMW 420d xDrive M Sport Coupe, rear
BMW 420d xDrive M Sport Coupe, interior

FOR me, driving good cars is the spice of life. Even in these days of snarled up roads wherever we turn, good routes offering plenty of fun can still be found if you're prepared to look.

But even the route doesn't matter quite so much when you're behind the wheel of something special - a car that fills your senses and reacts to your every whim almost quicker than thought.

Such a barnstormer of a machine is the BMW 430i Coupe.

Now I know few of us - unless the company is paying or we can afford the PCP payments - can justify the serious £37,000 outlay, but if ever the lotto coughs up the folding, I'm gonna have me one of these.

Its sleek lines look stunning when it's standing still and once in the driver's seat, everything is just where it should be - as if it was made to measure.

Out on the road, it simply comes alive. The performance - with 248bhp on tap - is fantastic, with tremendous acceleration from any speed all the way to a limited maximum of 155 miles an hour (but only on the autobahn).

Yet this is not the silky smooth 3.0-litre straight six we know so well - it's a sweet revving 2.0-litre turbocharged four that is just as smooth and almost as tuneful - and most owners will never know the difference.

This car had the switchable eight-speed automatic gearbox used across many of BMW's models, and despite my love of manuals, it suits the car perfectly.

Kickdown is reasonably quick in normal Drive mode, but much quicker if you switch to Sport. There's also a manual setting, with paddles behind the steering wheel to effect the changes, but the two fully auto modes are so good, I cannot see the vast majority of owners ever using it. The old adage about dogs and barking yourself comes to mind.

Then there's the adjustable suspension, and the sharpened electric power steering.

The suspension basically has three modes - Comfort, Sport and Sport+ - which are achieved by electronic control of the dampers.

I found - as is the same in all cars with such gizmos in my experience - that comfort was by far the best, giving superb road-holding and an excellent ride over some of the roughest roads I know.

Sport firms the ride up to the point where comfort is sacrificed with very little gain and handling or road-holding, and Sport+ simply reduces the effect of the electronic driver aids.

The steering is pin sharp and perfectly weight, adding to an already heady mix of superlatives for a true sporting car.

Put all this together and you have a superb sporting coupe that is wonderful and almost perfect to drive, bringing with it a raft of sensations for the enthusiastic driver and making a delightful and very comfortable motorway cruiser.

Equipment in M Sport guise includes heated leather covered sports seats that hold in all the right places, parking sensors, sat nav, cruise, audio remote, climate and traction control.

FAST FACTS

Price: £37,660

Mechanical: 248bhp, 1,997cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 8-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 155mph

0-62mph: 5.8 seconds

Combined MPG:48

Insurance Group: 33

C02 emissions: 136g/km

Bik rating: 24%

Warranty: 3yrs/unlimited miles

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