BMW 420d COUPÉ STEPTRONIC
“Softly does it” just about encapsulates the updates meted out to this year’s 4 Series
IF ever there was a master of subtle facelifts in the automotive sphere, it has to be BMW. Granted, when it comes to a product as accomplished as the 4 Series, seriously messing with the formula simply isn’t a done thing. But, do these subtlest of changes make a big difference as the 4 Series reaches four years into its production cycle?
Externally, the most prominent change up front sees headlamps that now sport hexagonal LED elements for the daytime-running lights and main headlamps as standard, flowing into a mildly restyled grille, with some additional sheetmetal creases and an updated bumper lending the 4 more purposefulness.
Out back, the full-led brakelamp arrays retain an L-shaped motif, but are now more elongated and sit above a revised rear apron. Our test unit was finished in a striking Snapper Rocks Blue metallic paint. This colour, along with a similarly eye-catching Sunset Orange, is solely reserved for the updated 4 Series. BMW has added four new alloy-wheel designs for the Advantage, Luxury, Sport and M Sport trim lines.
The changes to the cabin are numerous but even subtler, largely incorporating electroplated surrounds for the air vents and ancillary controls, and three new leather-upholstery options – blue, off-white and burgundy – along with additional options for trim inlays, piping and stitching.
The idrive infotainment system also undergoes a mild revision that incorporates a new, tileoriented layout.
Mechanically, little has changed. According to BMW, tweaks to suspension damper settings and a slightly quicker steering rack have smoothed out the ride and offer the 4 a touch more directness, although from behind the wheel any discernable differences would require near-superhuman inner ear receptivity. Even so, the 4 Series retains its broad spread of talents, being both dynamically entertaining and comfortable.
The 140 kw, 2,0-litre turbodiesel returns untouched, with its generous 400 N.m of torque channelled aft via the trusted, smooth-shifting, eight-speed ZF transmission. It remains punchy, if somewhat coarse, when pushed and is frugal, returning a low 5,9 L/100 km on our mixeduse fuel run.
The updates to the 4, although incremental, are largely welcome and offer its style-conscious audience welcome configurability. We’re a little surprised that the update didn’t bring with it any major mechanical changes, although starting with a dynam-
Surprisingly for a German vehicle in this class, all 4 Series models now come standard with satellite navigation. Rear legroom is generous for a two-door, but headroom is tight. Spec levels have been improved and the 4 Series now has LED lights front and rear as standard.
ically competent package does help plaster over such an omission. So, while welcome, the changes serve only to provide the tiniest bit of polish to what was already an accomplished product.