BMW 4 Series - Used

Car Review

BMW 420d xDrive, 2017, nose
BMW 420d xDrive, 2017, front, action
BMW 420d xDrive, 2017, rear, static
BMW 420d xDrive, 2017, rear view
BMW 420d xDrive, 2017, interior
BMW 420d xDrive, 2017, dashboard

THE BMW 4 Series is one of the finest driving cars you can buy.

It's like a win on the lottery or the first day of the holidays to anyone who loves driving as much as I do.

And it's not just the excellent all-round performance that makes it so special. No, for me it's the fact that on top of that performance it is easy to use and live with every day in all situations.

Other fast cars have similar performance, but they also have drawbacks such as a hard ride, minimal luggage space or twitchy steering.

The 4 has none of these foibles except in the more sporting models - of which more later. On good cross country roads with little traffic - yes there are still many of them out there if you're prepared to hunt them down - it is an absolute joy, poised and balanced yet relaxing and comfortable.

For this review, I'll concentrate on the model built from 2013 to 2020, which was available as a two door coupe, two door convertible and five door Gran Coupe.

It's a four seater based on the 3 Series of course, and using many of the same wide range of engines and gearboxes.

But it has a longer wheelbase and a wider track, plus the lowest centre of gravity of any car in the BMW range, making it hugely agile and grippy through all the corners.

The wide range of engines I mentioned is limited in that some are only available in upper models, and almost all will come with BMW's excellent eight speed automatic gearbox, despite the fact that the smaller units were available with a very good six speed manual.

Petrols open the game with a 181bhp 2.0-litre that can get to 60 from rest in 7.1 seconds and still do 47 miles per gallon.

The rest are all the same 3.0-litre straight six, with power ranging from 248 to 443bhp.

The 248 reaches 60 in 5.6 seconds and is capable of 44mpg while the next up 301bhp brings the sprint down to 4.9 and can do 39mpg.

The range-topping M4 is the only car to get the 443bhp power unit and with standard twin clutch automatic box, gets to 60 in 3.9 and will have an economy best of 34mpg.

But this, and some other models, have firmer and more focussed M-Sport suspension, which brings brilliant grip and roadholding at the cost of ride comfort.

Models without it are much more comfortable, and the top 440i is almost as quick, while remaining comfortable and useable every day.

There are two turbodiesel options - a 2.0-litre with 187bhp and a 3.0-litre with 254. The smaller unit reaches the bench mark in 6.9 seconds and could give a best of an amazing 70mpg.

The 3.0d is almost as quick as its petrol siblings, reaching 60 in 5.3 and managing a very creditable 57mpg.

Inside, the binnacle and switches are perfectly laid out for the driver, and the leather covered seats hold in all the right places when pressing on - just as you would expect from BMW.

The five door Gran Coupe is much more practical than the two door of course, and very much easier to get into and out of the rear seats.

These are cars that reel in the horizon like a fish on a line and a prod on the accelerator is enough for the swiftest and safest overtaking on any straight piece of road.

Drive is to the rear wheels, or all four in X-Drive models, and all autos come with Drive, Sport and manual modes at the flick of a switch.

It is fine 90 per cent of the time and it's so good when pressing on, that the manual setting, with paddles behind the steering wheel, is almost superfluous. As is so often true with modern cars, the auto does it better than you can do it yourself.

Most come with a range of electronic driving aids and equipment in standard trim includes start stop, a folding rear seat, a special driving mode to reduce fuel consumption, parking sensors, xenon headlights, Bluetooth, cruise and a DAB stereo with all the right inputs.

All also come with cruise control, loads of airbags and traction control, while SE also has foglights, headllight washers and heated leather seats.

Pay about £14,250 for a '17 17-reg 2.0i SE (Business Media), or £26,550 for a '19 19-reg 440i M-Sport with the Professional Media system fitted.

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