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2019 BMW 4-Series Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 8.7

The 2019 BMW 4 Series has two powerful engine options that pair well with a smooth-shifting manual or automatic transmission. Handling is athletic and direct, and the car has a pleasant ride quality over most surfaces.

  • "If the mission statement was to create a coupe that's hard to fault, then BMW has done a solid job. Only lack of outright straight-line acceleration and nimbleness can be noted as deficits, but the breadth of the 430i's performance makes it a competent, safe and engaging driving partner." -- Edmunds
  • "Overall though, the 440i Coupe feels taut and pretty keen to indulge a bit of hard driving. … Okay, it doesn't feel as solidly hewn as an Audi, nor as special as the C-Class coupe, but it's still a very nice place to spend some time." -- Automobile Magazine (2018)
  • "The BMW 4 Series takes the agility, acceleration and balance of the 3 Series and goes one better." -- Kelley Blue Book (2016)

Acceleration and Power

The BMW 430i comes standard with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that generates 248 horsepower. The 440i features a turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine that produces 320 horsepower. Rear-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive is optional. An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard and a six-speed manual transmission is optional in coupe models.

All 430i models with rear-wheel drive get 24 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway, which are about average estimates for the class. 440i coupe and Gran Coupe models with rear-wheel drive earn up to 21 mpg city and 32 mpg highway. The lowest fuel economy figures belong to the 440i coupe with a manual transmission and either rear- or all-wheel drive, at 18/28 mpg city/highway.

Critics are split on the performance of the base four-cylinder engine, with some saying that it has sufficient power for everyday driving and others decrying its unrefined nature. The larger six-cylinder offers ample muscle.

  • "It's best to know up front that this coupe prioritizes comfort and composure over outright speed and pace. The clutch travel is long but smooth, and the gear shift isn't to be rushed. Ample, smooth power is available at higher rpm, but the car can feel a bit flat at lower speeds." -- Edmunds
  • "Base 430i models use BMW's 248-horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder. It's one of our favorite 4-cylinder engines and in truth will satisfy the majority of drivers. Those craving even more punch can opt for 440i models with the 320-horsepower turbocharged 6-cylinder." -- Kelley Blue Book (2018)
  • "Immediately the 440i feels right. Its straight-six might lack the absolute creaminess of old BMW engines, but it makes up for it with masses of power at any revs and still sounds reassuringly expensive. (Incidentally, we tried the 430i convertible and the same can't be said of the coarse, ugly-sounding four-cylinder.) … The engine really is a sweet thing, too. The test cars are fitted with the 8-speed automatic gearbox, which is quick and smooth but doesn't have that instant pop of a really good dual clutch unit." -- Automobile Magazine (2018)

Handling and Braking

The BMW 4 Series comes standard with rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive is optional. It offers some of the most athletic handling in the class, with responsive steering and tight body control. Four adjustable driving modes tune the driving and ride quality between comfortable and sporty. Coupe versions start with a slightly stiffer ride, while the Gran Coupe travels incredibly smoothly over bumps or broken pavement.

  • "BMW has this pretty well dialed and only the Sport+ setting seems out of character for the car. Comfort and Eco Pro provide excellent composure around town and at freeway speeds, while Sport mode has decent body control when driving within the car's limits. Sport+ is too firm and seems out of place." -- Edmunds
  • "The … 4 Series takes the agility, acceleration and balance of the 3 Series and strengthens it with a wider stance and lower center of gravity. It makes the 2-door versions of the 4 Series the perfect partner for enthusiasts who still relish the act of driving, and who won't mind the trade-offs of increased road noise and a stiffer ride. The Gran Coupe, however, is aimed at the grand touring crowd, and it does a grand job. We love its blend of lively yet smooth road manners and appreciable space for cargo and passengers." -- Kelley Blue Book (2018)
  • "Ride quality did not seem to suffer on the precious few bumps traversed in the more tightly suspended coupe, and both cars remained remarkably even-keeled under such cornering grip as could be mustered in these conditions. Steering effort and response seemed quite appropriate for the segment, but there wasn't much to feel coming up from the greasy road surface and gummy tires." -- Motor Trend (2018)
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