Tick­ing all the boxes

Warwickshire Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE - By Peter Keenan

THE BMW 4 Se­ries Coupe re­minds me of Eng­land cricket le­gend Sir Ian Botham as it’s a world­class all-rounder. Whereas some other mo­tors in this sec­tor of the mar­ket­place ex­cel in in­di­vid­ual ar­eas, BMW’s beauty cov­ers all the bases.

The two-door sib­ling of the 3 Se­ries sa­loon was re­vamped ear­lier this year and the modern cabin, su­per chas­sis, ex­cel­lent en­gines and sleek good looks seem set to main­tain the classlead­ing sales fig­ures recorded in the UK since the model was launched in 2013.

Hav­ing clam­bered into the lowslung 420d M Sport, a cou­ple of things be­came im­me­di­ately apparent – the seats are in­cred­i­bly sup­port­ive and this is a driver’s car with ev­ery­thing you re­quire at your fin­ger­tips.

The in­stru­ments and di­als are easy on the eye at while the steer­ing wheel feels like it was cus­tom-made just for you. The fit and fin­ish is ex­cel­lent and top-qual­ity ma­te­ri­als are used through­out the modern in­te­rior.

The iDrive sys­tem, fea­tur­ing a 6.5-inch colour screen, has been around for a while and BMW has per­fected its ro­tary con­troller and but­tons to be as user friendly as pos­si­ble. DAB ra­dio and sat nav are in­cluded, plus the usual ways of hook­ing your smart­phone up to a car.

The M Sport ver­sion I drove is a pop­u­lar choice amongst 4 Se­ries buy­ers and it’s easy to see why as the mus­cu­lar looks, snazzy al­loy wheels and lower sus­pen­sion grab your at­ten­tion.

A four-cylin­der tur­bod­iesel lurked un­der the bon­net which, linked to a slick six-speed man­ual trans­mis­sion, added plenty of power to the mix – but not at the cost of fru­gal­ity.

De­spite per­for­mance stats that show it sprint­ing from 0-62mph in a shade over seven sec­onds, fuel econ­omy in the real world ap­proaches 50mpg. The oil burner also en­sures the com­pany car tax bill is kept down thanks to rel­a­tively low car­bon diox­ide emis­sions.

My test car was rear-wheel drive but, as with the ma­jor­ity of BMW mod­els th­ese days, the 4 Se­ries can be spec­i­fied with a four­wheel drive sys­tem. An eight-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion is also avail­able which de­fies com­mon wis­dom and ac­tu­ally re­duces fuel con­sump­tion.

Other power plants on the lat­est 4 Se­ries in­clude three petrol en­gines – the four-cylin­der 420i and 430i plus the top-of-the-range six-cylin­der 440i – and a choice of two other diesel en­gines – the six-cylin­der 430d and 435d.

The M Sport is com­posed and re­fined on the road cruis­ing along hap­pily when re­quired but also able to mix it on country lanes thanks to sharp han­dling, well-weighted steer­ing, great body con­trol and plenty of grip.

Prac­ti­cal­ity is as­sured, with gen­uine space for four adults with­out the two in the back hav­ing to im­per­son­ate sar­dines.

The boot is a de­cent size and there is plenty of cubby hole space for your bits and bobs.

Those seek­ing more ver­sa­til­ity can opt for the 4 Se­ries Gran Coupe of­fer­ing four doors with­out los­ing the sleek look, while the 4 Se­ries Con­vert­ible cuts the mus­tard if you want a tourer with a neat re­tractable metal roof.

On the safety front the usual sus­pects are in­cluded and there are a num­ber of op­tional ex­tras such as for­ward col­li­sion alert with city col­li­sion auto-brak­ing, lane de­par­ture warn­ing and adap­tive cruise con­trol.

The UK is cru­cial to the 4 Se­ries’ fu­ture as it is sec­ond in sales only to the USA. BMW ex­pects the lat­est mod­els to be even more pop­u­lar and there is ev­ery rea­son to think this will be the case.

TEST DRIVE

Model: BMW 420d M Sport Coupe Price: £35,465 Me­chan­i­cal: 190ps, 1,995cc, 4cyl diesel en­gine driv­ing rear wheels via 6-speed man­ual gear­box Max speed: 149mph 0-62mph: 7.3 sec­onds Com­bined mpg: 62.8 In­sur­ance group: 30 CO2 emis­sions: 119g/km BiK rat­ing: 25% War­ranty: 3yrs/un­lim­ited miles

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