Once seated in the sumptuous leather sports seats with the engine purring, you immediately feel engaged. The cabin is cloaked with high grade, tactile materials. The cockpit glitters with crisp detail and instrumentation that changes according to the desired driving mode.
The interior spaciousness is partly thanks to the cabin’s enlarged dimensions, particularly in terms of elbow and shoulder room. Tall rear passengers have more space to spread out, too, with several places to store things, including a central cubby hole beneath the armrest, decent-sized glove box, cup holders and partitioned door bins. The generous sense of space also flows into the boot. The loading lip has been lowered compared to its predecessor and provides some 440-litres of luggage capacity.
As we would expect from BMW, the cockpit incorporates some classy materials to define the luxury carmaker’s interior style. The structure of the dashboard itself is based around horizontal lines, with its width further emphasised by the contours and electroplated strips wrapping around the door panels. The outer edges of the high-set centre console have comfy knee pads. The head-up display provides a 70 per cent larger projection area, optimised graphics and additional content.
The start/stop button for the engine is now positioned in a control panel on the centre console, where the newly designed selector lever is joined by the iDrive Controller and the buttons for the Driving Experience Control switch and electric parking brake.
The powered and heated front sport seats incorporate contoured side bolsters to keep you snug while ripping around corners. M Sport models come with sports seats with M-specific upholstery, an M leather steering wheel, door sill plates and digital instrumentation bearing the M logo, an anthracite-coloured headliner and aluminium interior trim accent strips in chrome dotted around. The Harman Kardon surround sound system is another delight. While forward visibility around the A-pillars is good, thick rear pillars make it less easy to reverse; the rearview parking camera and sensors take over in this respect. The boot lid can be opened at the press of a button on the driver’s door panel, on the key fob, or simply by manually releasing the boot handle. A button on the underside of the boot lid can power it shut.
The front seat power slides and lifts forwards to provide space to clamber into the back seat. Head space for adults seated in the back is a little tight but there is surprisingly enough knee, leg and elbow room to sit comfortably for short journeys. The rear seats split 40/20/40, and when flipped forward, liberate more cargo space.
Infotainment and connectivity
The multimodal interaction allows the driver to take their pick of a control interface for the situation at hand: Control Display touchscreen, iDrive Controller, multifunction buttons on the steering wheel, voice control or optional BMW gesture control. As with a new smartphone, it all takes a bit of time to navigate through and learn all the bells and whistles but you soon get the hang of it. While there are lots of steering wheel controls, it all works harmoniously with everything where you expect it to be.
The BMW Live Cockpit Professional provides a digital screen grouping comprising a 12.3 inch instrument cluster behind the steering wheel and a 10.25-inch central control display. Connected Package Professional is included on all models, comprising BMW TeleServices, Intelligent Emergency Call, Real Time Traffic Information with hazard warning, Remote Services and Concierge Services.
The switch to BMW Operating System 7 also brings the Remote Software Upgrade function to the new 4 Series. All updates can be imported over the air, either on a smartphone via BMW Connected or directly into the car using its built-in SIM card.
BMW Live Cockpit Professional come with optimised Smartphone integration; in addition to Apple CarPlay, the operating system for the new BMW 4 Series Coupé will also host Android Auto. This enables access to such digital services like Google Assistant, Google Maps, music streaming services like Spotify and Amazon Music, and the WhatsApp messaging service.
The latest version of the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant expands the voice control function. You can now use your voice to adjust things like the air conditioning.
Advanced driver assistance system
The driver assistance systems suite has been upgraded over the outgoing model. Front collision warning is now standard on the 4 Series Coupé. It comprises collision and person warning with a city braking function that can detect vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists. Speed Limit Info, including no-overtaking indicator and the Lane Departure Warning system with lane return by steering assistance, are also standard. Cruise control with braking function comes as standard, while Active Cruise Control with Stop&Go function is available within the Driving Assistant Professional package.
The Parking Assistant is also worthy of note. It simplifies the task of selecting and making use of spaces either parallel or perpendicular to the road. Parking Assistant Plus with Drive Recorder provides a 360-degree view around the vehicle with 3D visualisation of the vehicle from different perspectives on the central display. BMW Drive Recorder uses the cameras of the various driver assistance systems to record and store video footage from different points around the vehicle. When activated, the Drive Recorder shoots and stores 40 seconds of video. In the event of a collision, a period of up to 20 seconds on either side of the moment of impact is automatically recorded and saved.
The body and chassis components feature a mix of steels and alloys to minimise vehicle weight. Underneath, the car uses an engine side member (made from extruded aluminium profiles) and die-cast aluminium spring struts, while the exterior features an aluminium bonnet, front side panels and doors. A material made from natural fibres is used for the boot lid lining.
On the road
At first glance, the sporty 4 Series Coupé has a confident, extroverted road stance, defined by its prominent grille and silky-smooth silhouette. While it has plenty of style and badge presence, our brisk drives from A to B over the past week made it an absolute pleasure in the autumn sunshine. The interior ticks all the boxes and the build quality cannot be faulted. It also felt cossetted and poised at every turn with its adaptive suspension, providing a fabulous driving experience. Despite the bad press around diesel-powered cars, demand for such vehicles remains high amongst fleet drivers. The variant we took out for a spin was the M440d xDrive which turned out to be the perfect companion for some long and leisurely journeys. We averaged 36 mpg although a little short of the carmaker’s 42.2 mpg claim. All things considered, however, that’s quite impressive. Rival models include the Audi A5 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.