The improved version of BMW's second generation 4 Series Coupe is these days much more its own model, with an even more distinctive look and a sporting dynamic feel. Inside, there's now more media tech and an even plusher feel. The range has been severely slimmed down in this updated form, but for brand enthusiasts, there's still plenty to like.
The BMW 4 Series Coupe. It's just a two-door version of the Munich maker's 3 Series model isn't it? Used to be. Isn't now. Yes of course, the second generation 4 Series Coupe we look at here shares its technology and engines with the '3'. But visually and in character, it's these days differentiated from its more common showroom stablemate in a way that its predecessor never was. BMW says this MK2 4 Series Coupe handles quite differently from a '3' as well, even a sporty one. But as before, it sizes up to key segment arch-rivals from Audi and Mercedes, the A5 Coupe and the CLE Coupe. This 4 Series is additionally available in Convertible and four-door Gran Coupe forms. but it's the G22 Coupe version, first introduced in 2020 then updated in early 2024, that we look at here.
There are no dynamic or engineering changes for this 'G22'-era model, but BMW has slimmed down the powerplant range considerably, discontinuing diesel power and dropping the previous mid-level 430i petrol variant. That leaves only two mainstream models; the base rear-driven 184hp 420i; and the six cylinder 374hp M440i, which only comes in xDrive 4WD form. That six cylinder engine also features in 530hp form in the flagship M4 Competition variant, also only offered in xDrive guise. As before, there are firm springs and anti-roll bars, plus this Coupe gets a double-jointed spring-strut front suspension and a 5-link rear axle. All the engines link up as standard with eight-speed Steptronic auto transmission, which incorporates Launch Control for Grand Prix-style getaways. As previously, the M440i gets a Sprint function that gives you a steering wheel paddle that when activated, gives you an extra burst of acceleration. Arguably, less is more here - it's the rear-driven 420i that gets closest to BMW's traditional mid-sized coupe driver's formula. Rivals have long tried to copy this variant's front engine, rear wheel drive BMW layout with its near perfect 50:50 weight distribution - but never quite managed to deliver a package with the same kind of involving finesse. Super-effective traction and stability systems keep those back wheels in check so that if you're not a driving enthusiast, it'll all feel quite normal. But if you are, then the feeling of being propelled up the road by the back wheels as you exit a bend rarely fails to offer up a great feeling of pleasure.
When this MK2 4 Series Coupe first arrived, we were all talking about its new upright grille; now BMW wants us to talk about the car's redesigned LED headlights, with their smarter illumibating signature. That controversial grille is now surrounded by matte chrome and there are restyled front and rear bumpers too. Customers can add in the 'laser' rear lighting units first seen on the rare M4 CSL, plus there are restyled 19-inch wheel designs. And the top M440i gets black exterior design elements and horizontal bars within the kidney grilles. The CLAR mixed steel-and-alloy platform that underpinned the previous version of this car is retained, but BMW has tried to reduce its weight through greater use of aluminium panels. Inside, the air vents have been redesigned, as has been the steering wheel, which is now flat-bottomed and has standard shift paddles for the auto gearbox. As before, the 'BMW Live Cockpit Professional' dash set-up is standard, offering a fully digital screen layout that gives you a high-resolution 12.3-inch instrument cluster behind the steering wheel and a 10.25-inch iDrive infotainment Central Control Display, which now runs the brand's latest OS 8.5 software system, which gives you more customisation options. There's also enhanced voice control for the climate functions. As before, this is billed as a 'proper four-seater', though adults wouldn't want to be in the rear for very long. Out back, there's a 440-litre boot, extendable via 40:20:40-split backrests.
Sporty 'M Sport' trim is standard and prices start from around £44,000 for the entry-level 420i Coupe. You'll need just under £61,000 if you want the M440i xDrive Coupe. And around £84,000 if you want the M4 Competition xDrive Coupe. Equipment levels have been subtly upgraded. Ambvient lighting's now standard and upholstery comes in a new velour the brand calls 'M Performtex'. Optional is Sensatec perforated manmade leather - or real quilted Vernasca leather. Interior trim strips in Aluminium Rhombicle Anthracite are standard, whilst Fineline Light Brown open-pored and Grey Blue Ash open-pored fine-wood trim, and M interior trim carbon fibre are available as options. Customers can also now have the gear selector lever, iDrive Controller and Start/Stop button in a 'CraftedClarity cut-glass finish. A Personal eSIM comes as standard with the car, in addition to its built-in mobile SIM. This enables the vehicle to use the 5G mobile communications standard. The Personal eSIM allows the customer to use the communications and connectivity functions covered by their mobile contract from their car with ease - even in situations where they don't have their smartphone with them. This also includes data streaming via the WiFi hotspot. Wheel sizes vary between 18 amd 20-inches and among the options are an M Performance front ornamental grille and M Performance side sill attachments, both in carbon fibre. Interior equipment highlights include the M Performance seat back pans in Alcantara/carbon fibre, the M Performance interior trim strips in carbon fibre and the M Performance door sill trims, also in carbon fibre.
As before, mild hybrid technology is included with both the mainstream engines. Fitting a 48V starter-generator and second battery greatly increases the scope for utilising Brake Energy Regeneration and the electrical power it produces. The recuperated energy collected by the 48V battery can be supplied to the 12V electrical system or used for generating additional drive power when fed back to the 48V starter-generator. When the car is accelerating, the generator is also able to offer the driver an electric boost effect that instantly makes an extra 11hp available. All of which should promise a very competitive set of efficiency stats. Let's see. The 420i is rated at between 48.7 and 53.3mpg on the combined cycle and 132-122g/km of CO2; for the six cylinder M440i xDrive, it's 39.8-41.5mpg and 163-155g/km. For the M4 Competition xDrive Coupe, it's 28.2mpg and 226g/km. Residual values? Well we expect the depreciation on this facelifted second generation 4 Series Coupe to be pretty similar to that of its direct predecessor, which would mean a very competitive retained worth of about 45% after three years and 60,000 miles. On to the warranty package. BMW's warranty only lasts for three years but it includes an Emergency breakdown service and at least it isn't mileage limited - unlike the comparable package you'd get as standard with a rival Audi. You can of course extent the warranty with either monthly or annual payments. There's a three year paintwork warranty and the usual 12 year anti-corrosion warranty.
So is this improved G22-era BMW 4 Series Coupe still the car in this class that does it all, the sector benchmark, the go-to choice in its segment? If you're the kind of driving enthusiast this model has traditionally appealed to, the answer's probably yes. Overall, there's a sustained level of excellence shot throughout this contender that Audi A5 and Mercedes CLE Coupe rivals still can't quite match. There's a levity about this 4 Series, a certain joy you get in driving it that the others can't quite emulate. Great then, that it does all the sensible stuff really well too. You get a spacious boot, comparatively decent rear legroom, very competitive day to day running costs and sensible residual values. Which all helps your conscience. Why? Because this is a car that, exactly because of those attributes, you can buy and use - and use hard - without that nagging sense of guilt that you may have over-indulged yourself.