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2019 BMW 4 Series: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Colin Ryan August 2018

The 2019 BMW 4 Series takes the 3 Series and goes up a notch. It turns a benchmark premium compact sedan into a better-equipped and better-driving coupe and convertible. Because of this higher level of equipment, the 4 Series comes with appropriately raised prices. But this was always meant to be more exclusive than BMW's bread-and-butter sedan.

Acceleration is strong, regardless of engine choice. Factor in the lower suspensions and wider tracks -- endowing the 4 Series cars with sharper handling abilities than their already adept 3 Series counterparts -- while retaining the hallmark refined ride, and the 4 Series becomes a profoundly enjoyable drive in most conditions.

The broader 4 Series range includes a 4-door Gran Coupe model, which is reviewed separately. And there are two high-performance M4 versions that also have their own review.

What's New for 2019?

The list of standard equipment grows to include navigation with traffic updates in real time, 12 months' free subscription to Apple CarPlay (still no Android Auto), parking sensors at both ends and a new driver information display. There's also been a reshuffling of equipment among the options bundles.

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 is hardly subtle in operation

How Much?

$45,795–$60,995

Fuel Economy

Akin to 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 city, 34 mpg highway and 27 mpg combined. The manual transmission adjusts things to 21 mpg city/33 mpg hwy/25 mpg combined.

With the all-wheel drive/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 18 mpg city/28 mpg hwy/22 mpg combined (manual). The all-wheel-drive 440i xDrive coupe achieves 21 mpg city/31 mpg hwy/24 mpg combined (automatic) and 18 mpg city/28 mpg hwy/21 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 2019 BMW 4 Series is available 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 ($45,795) has 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, simulated leather upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, a rearview camera, parking sensors front and rear, a universal garage door opener, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay smartphone integration, 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, auxiliary audio input and HD radio.

The main appeal of the 440i coupe ($52,195) 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 400-watt/16-speaker surround sound system.

The 430i convertible ($53,945) and 440i convertible ($60,995) 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 (for the 440i) adds special exterior trim, a body kit, sport suspension, M steering wheel and M badging inside and out. A Track Handling package entails an adaptive M-tuned suspension, variable-ratio sport steering and special-design 18-in alloy wheels.

The Convenience package brings heated front seats, powered front lumbar support and active blind spot monitoring. The Executive package adds adaptive LED headlights with automatic high beams, side-view/top-view cameras and a self-parking feature.

Additional options include an adaptive sport suspension, a heated steering wheel, wireless charging, Wi-Fi and 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 roof in place, but when the top is dropped and stowed away, cargo space shrinks to 7.8 cu ft.

Safety

The 4 Series comes with stability control, 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes with collision mitigation features and a full complement of airbags (including front, front knee and side). Driver assistance options cover active cruise control with automated braking and pedestrian detection, 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 miles per hour. The convertible-only 3-stage neck warmers give the 4 Series a direct equivalent to Mercedes-Benz's Airscarf system.

This 4 Series feels noticeably hefty. It's not 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 engine 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 both body styles.

Other Cars to Consider

2019 Audi A5/S5 -- Based on the A4, the A5's slinky styling is a big draw. And there's always the S5 as a 440i competitor. Convertible versions only have a fabric roof, though.

2019 Infiniti Q60 -- A credible player in the premium compact coupe scene, but offers an optional steer-by-wire system that has all the feedback of a video game handset.

2019 Lexus RC -- Superb build quality and pleasing equipment levels. Not really in BMW's league from a ride and handling standpoint, however.

2019 Mercedes-Benz C-Class -- Both the coupe and convertible (Cabriolet) are excellent drives, and that goes double for the AMG C 43 variants (now packing 385 hp for 2019).

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

Fixed-roof coupe or hardtop convertible? Buyers will have their own ideas about that decision. The 4-cylinder will probably be more than adequate for most people, and it's better to spend extra money on the bundle of driver assistance features. If there's anything left in the budget after that, then by all means, experience the extreme joy of a BMW inline-6 engine.

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New 2018 BMW 4 Series Coupe
New 2018 BMW 4 Series
MSRP $60,780
This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2019 BMW 4 Series: New Car Review - Autotrader