The 2020 BMW 4 Series comes as a coupe, a convertible or a 4-door Gran Coupe. The conventional coupe is fairly self-explanatory, the convertible has a retractable hard top and the Gran Coupe is essentially a sedan with less rear headroom, although it does have a handy hatchback rather than a trunk.
These cars are based on the previous generation of the BMW 3 Series (a new generation of 3 debuted last year). That’s not a criticism, however. The 3 Series has always been a benchmark among premium compact cars. The 4 Series takes it a touch further by coming with plenty of standard equipment and enhancing the driving experience with lower suspensions and wider tracks (the distance between wheels on the same axle). The latter quality provides more poise, yet the hallmark refined ride quality is retained. The acceleration is strong, regardless of the engine choice.
In any form, the 4 Series is a profoundly enjoyable drive in most conditions. The high-performance M4 versions have their own review.
What’s New for 2020?
In addition to a few cosmetic changes, like a grille surround in high-gloss black and darker taillights, the 4 Series gains some driver-assistance features as standard — forward collision mitigation with pedestrian detection and partial braking, plus lane departure warning. See the 2020 BMW 4 Series models for sale near you
What We Like
- Strong yet fuel-efficient engines
- High-quality interior
- Great driving dynamics
- Hardtop convertible security
- Gran Coupe’s versatile hatchback
What We Don’t
- Options are pricey
- Engine stop/start feature hardly subtle in operation
$45,945 to $61,145
As is the case 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 RWD 430i coupe as well as 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 RWD coupe and Gran Coupe with the automatic transmission is 23 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 and Gran Coupe achieve 21 mpg city/31 mpg hwy/47 mpg in combined driving.
The 430i convertible returns 23 mpg city/34 mpg hwy/27 mpg combined with RWD, or 22 mpg city/32 mpg hwy/26 mpg combined with AWD.
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 RWD and AWD coupes.
Fuel consumption for the RWD 440i coupe and Gran Coupe is 22 mpg city/30 mpg hwy/25 mpg combined (automatic), or 19 mpg city/27 mpg hwy/22 mpg combined (manual, 2-door coupe only). The AWD 440i xDrive coupe and Gran Coupe achieve 22 mpg city/30 mpg hwy/25 mpg combined (automatic) and 18 mpg city/28 mpg hwy/21 mpg combined (manual, 2-door coupe only).
The 440i convertible yields 22 mpg city/29 mpg hwy/24 mpg combined (RWD) or 20/28/23 mpg (AWD).
Both engines have a fuel-saving stop/start feature that can be disabled.
Standard Features & Options
The 2020 BMW 4 Series is available in coupe, convertible and Gran Coupe configurations, with more equipment in versions with the bigger engine. AWD is a $2,000 option.
The entry level 430i coupe ($45,945) has 18-in alloy wheels, full LED lighting (including fog lights and ambient cabin illumination), a sunroof, rain-sensing wipers, self-dimming mirrors, selectable driving modes, 10-way power-adjustable sport front seats with driver’s-side memory, simulated leather upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, front/rear parking sensors, forward collision mitigation with automated braking and pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, a universal garage door opener, BMW Assist (automatic crash notification and roadside assistance), Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay smartphone integration, an iDrive infotainment system with an 8.8-inch screen, navigation, a 9-speaker/205-watt sound system, a USB port, a CD player, an auxiliary audio input and HD radio.
The 430i Gran Coupe ($45,745) also has a powered tailgate.
The main appeal of the 440i coupe ($52,345) and 440i Gran Coupe ($52,145) is the powerful inline-6 engine, but they also have keyless entry/ignition, hands-free trunk opening, Nappa leather on the steering wheel and a Harmon Kardon 400-watt/16-speaker surround-sound system.
The 430i convertible ($54,095) and the 440i convertible ($61,145) 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, an M steering wheel, and M badging inside and out. A Track Handling package (not applicable to convertible models) 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 (standard in 440i models) and active blind spot detection. 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, adaptive cruise control, leather upholstery, heated steering wheel, heated rear seats (in the Gran Coupe models), digital driver information display, head-up display, wireless charging and wi-fi. All models are compatible with BMW Apps, which allow an owner’s smartphone to bring social media into the car.
BMW claims there is 15.7 cubic feet of trunk space in the coupe, which is good in light of the car’s relatively modest dimensions. The convertible impresses at 13 cubic feet with the roof in place, but when the top is dropped and stowed away, cargo space shrinks to 7.8 cubic feet. The Gran Coupe has 17 cubic feet behind the rear seats, and this expands to 45.9 cubic feet when they’re folded down.
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). Whenever the wipers are activated, a drying function for the brake discs is activated as well.
This vehicle has not been crash tested by any agencies in the United States.
Behind the Wheel
No matter the body style or the 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 noticeably hefty. It’s not particularly compact — it’s more of a grand tourer, and a convincing one. The high-speed stability and smoothness are impeccable, and cornering limits are high.
The 4-cylinder engine is certainly energetic, but the 440i’s muscular inline-6 is on another level of automotive goodness. Either way, it’s a bonus that BMW offers AWD with both engines and all body styles.
Other Cars to Consider
2020 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. The Sportback variants are direct rivals of the Gran Coupe. Convertible versions only have a fabric roof, though.
2020 Mercedes-Benz C-Class — Both the coupe and convertible (Cabriolet) are excellent drives, and that goes double for the 385-hp 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, used versions of the 911 are still absolutely awesome.
The 4 Series coupe, convertible and Gran Coupe all have their specific appeals — it just depends on what the buyer wants. While the smaller engine is punchy enough for the majority of drivers, a BMW inline-6 is special. But if it comes down to only being able to afford driver assistance features or the bigger engine, go for safety tech. Another thing to think about is the fact that a new generation of 4 Series is anticipated for 2021. Find a BMW 4 Series for sale