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2018 BMW 4 Series: New Car Review

If you’re looking for information on a newer BMW 4 Series, we’ve published an updated review: 2019 BMW 4 Series Review

The 2018 BMW 4 Series is the premium compact range consisting of coupe and convertible versions derived from the 3 Series. Having a 3 Series as a foundation is never a bad thing. With lower suspensions and wider tracks, 4 Series cars handle better than their already adept 3 Series counterparts. Acceleration is strong, regardless of engine choice. Yet the trademark refined ride remains intact, making any 4 Series a superb drive in most conditions.

There is also a 4-door Gran Coupe model, as well as two M4 versions, which are reviewed separately.

What’s New for 2018?

The 4 Series has received some styling updates front and rear, to further differentiate itself from the 3 Series. Revised suspension and steering calibrations improve the driving experience (some people have felt that BMW cars in general were getting too soft). And there’s now the option of a virtual instrument cluster as part of the new Executive package. There’s also been some revision among the options bundles. See the 2018 BMW 4 Series models for sale near you

What We Like

Strong yet fuel-efficient engines; high-quality interior; advanced cabin technology; great driving dynamics; hardtop convertible security

What We Don’t

Options are pricey; engine stop/start feature saves a little fuel, but it’s hardly subtle in its operation

How Much?

$44,295-$59,495

Fuel Economy

In common with most BMW cars, the 4 Series starts out with rear-wheel drive. The company’s all-wheel-drive system (called xDrive) is optional. An 8-speed automatic transmission comes as standard, but a 6-speed manual can be specified on the rear-wheel-drive 430i coupe, along with rear-drive and all-wheel-drive versions of the 440i coupe.

The 430i features a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine making 248 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), fuel consumption in the rear-drive coupe with the automatic transmission is an impressive 24 miles per gallon in the city, 34 mpg on the highway and 27 mpg in combined driving. The manual transmission adjusts things to 21 mpg city/33 mpg hwy/25 mpg combined.

With the AWD/automatic transmission combination, the 430i xDrive coupe achieves 23 mpg city/33 mpg hwy/27 mpg combined.

The 430i convertible returns 24 mpg city/34 mpg hwy/27 mpg combined with rear-wheel drive, or 22 mpg city/32 mpg hwy/26 mpg combined with all-wheel drive.

The 440i has a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline 6-cylinder developing 320 hp and 330 lb-ft of torque. The 8-speed automatic is standard here also, but the manual is available on both rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive coupes.

Fuel consumption for the rear-drive 440i coupe is 21 mpg city/32 mpg hwy/25 mpg combined (automatic), or 19 mpg city/29 mpg hwy/23 mpg combined (manual). The all-wheel-drive 440i xDrive coupe achieves 21 mpg city/31 mpg hwy/25 mpg combined (automatic) and 19 mpg city/29 mpg hwy/23 mpg combined (manual).

The 440i convertible yields 21 mpg city/29 mpg hwy/24 mpg combined (rear-wheel drive) or 20 mpg city/29 mpg hwy/23 mpg combined (all-wheel drive).

Both engines have an auto stop/start fuel-saving feature that can be disabled.

Standard Features & Options

The 2018 BMW 4 Series comes in coupe or convertible form with more equipment in versions with the bigger engine. All-wheel drive is a $2,000 option.

The entry-level 430i coupe ($42,295) comes standard with 18-inch alloy wheels, full LED lighting (including fog lights and ambient cabin illumination), a sunroof, rain-sensing wipers, self-dimming mirrors, Driving Dynamics Control (offering three settings for throttle sensitivity and steering effort), 10-way power-adjustable sport front seats with driver’s-side memory functions, leatherette upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, a rearview camera, Bluetooth, iPod/USB connectivity, the iDrive infotainment system with a 6.5-in screen, a 9-speaker/205-watt sound system, a USB port, a CD player, an auxiliary audio input and HD Radio.

The main appeal of the 440i coupe ($50,695) is the powerful inline-6 engine, but it also has keyless entry/ignition, hands-free trunk opening, Nappa leather on the steering wheel and an upgrade to a Harmon Kardon 16-speaker surround sound system.

The 430i convertible ($52,445) and 440i convertible ($59,495) mirror their fixed-roof equivalents for the most part, but they also feature power-retractable hard tops, wind deflectors, folding rear seats and optional neck-warming air vents (as part of the convertible’s Cold Weather package).

In typical BMW fashion, the options list is lengthy and tends to get expensive. The M Sport package adds a special exterior trim, a body kit, sport suspension, an M steering wheel and M badging inside and out. A Track Handling package has an adaptive M-tuned suspension, variable-ratio sport steering and special-design 18-in alloy wheels.

The Premium package adds navigation, heated front seats, power front lumbar support, leather upholstery, satellite radio, keyless entry and the Harman Kardon system to the 430i.

The Executive package offers the aforementioned virtual instrument cluster, adaptive LED headlights with automatic high beams, a head-up display, parking assistance and side-view/top-view cameras.

Additional options include an adaptive sport suspension, heated steering wheel, wireless charging, Wi-Fi, Apple CarPlay, some advanced driver aids (mentioned in the Safety section below). All models are compatible with BMW Apps, using an owner’s smartphone to bring social media into the car.

BMW claims a generous 15.7 cu ft. of trunk space in the coupe, which is remarkable given the car’s relatively modest dimensions. The convertible impresses at 13 cu ft. with the top up, but when it’s dropped and stowed away, cargo space is reduced to 7.8 cu ft.

Safety

The 4 Series comes with stability control, 4-wheel antilock disc brakes with collision-mitigation features and a full complement of airbags (including front, front knee and side). Driver-assistance options include active cruise control with automated braking, blind spot monitoring and lane-departure warning. BMW Assist (which adds automatic crash notification and roadside assistance) is also offered.

Behind the Wheel

No matter the body style or engine, there are high-quality materials and classy accents. The convertible version requires only a few compromises and its elaborate folding roof goes up or down in 20 seconds at speeds of up to 11 mph. The convertible-only 3-stage neck warmers give the 4 Series a direct equivalent to Mercedes-Benz’s Airscarf system.

This 4 Series feels notably larger and heftier than previous generations of 3 Series. It’s no longer particularly compact — more of a grand tourer, yet a convincing one. High-speed stability and smoothness are impeccable, while cornering limits are high.

The 4-cylinder is certainly energetic, but the 440i’s muscular inline-6 is also tempting. Either way, it’s a bonus that BMW offers all-wheel drive with both engines and body styles.

Other Cars to Consider

2018 Audi A5 — Based on the A4, the A5’s slinky styling is a big draw. And there’s always the S5 as a 440i competitor. The convertible only has a fabric roof, though.

2018 Infiniti Q60 — Successor to the G coupes, the Q60 is now a credible player in the premium compact coupe scene.

2018 Mercedes-Benz C-Class — Both the coupe and convertible (Cabriolet) are excellent drives, and that goes double for the AMG C 43 variants.

Used Porsche 911 — Believe it or not, add some options to a 4 Series and the price starts getting into previous-generation Porsche 911 territory. Known as the 997 from 2005 to 2012, this version of the 911 is still absolutely awesome.

Autotrader’s Advice

The main choice is whether the convertible or the fixed-roof coupe is preferred. There is something glorious about a BMW with an inline-6 engine, but make sure the budget can stretch to the optional driver-assistance features before adding more cylinders.

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