Reviews

REVIEW ➤ BMW 420d Sport : A solid proposition, improved

Posted on December 07, 2017

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For its 2017 model year, the BMW 4-Series coupe received a few subtle, barely tangible updates. Now available in a scaled-down line-up of just four trim grades; SE, Sport, Luxury and M Sport, this week, I'll tell you more about those updates and take the Sport variant out for a full road test.


Exterior Styling

To be honest, the external styling enhancements are so subtle on the new 4-Series that you would be hard pressed to notice them unless the previous and this model were parked side by side. All models now have LED front fog lamps and bi-LED headlamps, the clusters of which have been restyled and the Sport and Luxury Line wear a restyled front apron. Small touches at the rear see redesigned light clusters upgraded to LED. Exterior paint choices now include 'sunset orange' (as tested) and 'snapper rocks blue' and there are some new alloy designs depending on the chosen trim level.


The Interior

On the inside, again there is little substantial change. There is a new three-spoke sports steering wheel with an enhanced instrument cluster behind it, which now wears double stitching around its leather embellished housing panel. Three new upholstery tones and accompanying interior trim strips offer more interior personalisation.


'Sport' Equipment

In addition to the comprehensive list of standard 4-Series equipment found on the entry-level SE, the Sport trim line adds 18-inch double-spoke alloys, BMW Connected+ for 12 months (subscription required thereafter), ambient interior lighting, drive performance control, front LED fog lights, LED head- and tail-lights, front and rear parking sensors, heated front Sports seats and tyre pressure monitor.

Also standard is 'BMW Business' navigation, which provides advanced route guidance working parallel with the traffic message channel information. Map display is customisable and voice control is enabled.


420d Engine and Drivetrain

The 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel is the king of the 4-Series engine range and has helped make the 420d the UK's biggest seller. Achieving a little shy of 63mpg on the combined cycle, it is super economical and develops an impressive 188bhp and 400Nm of torque which is available from just 1,750rpm – all of which propels the coupe to 62mph in just 7.3 seconds. Other stronger oil-burners are available for your 4-Series, but the 420d offers the best balance of power and driveability for the chassis. Power delivery through the eight-speed automatic gearbox as tested is super smooth and the diesel's torquey nature means there is always more in reserve for overtaking on the motorway or for enjoying your favourite B-road.


Ride and Handling

During the four years since its introduction, the 4-Series has earned an enviable reputation as a great car to drive – a result of emphasis given by the engineers on driver focus and engagement. To build on that reputation, the 2017 BMW 4-Series has received a few tweaks to further refine its on-road behaviour. The chassis and suspension has been cleverly re-engineered to deliver sportier handling without the inevitable loss of ride comfort.

With a lower centre of gravity and a wider track than the 3-Series, greater agility makes the updated 4-Series one of the very best driving cars in its segment. The eight-cog automatic gearbox in the test car was a lot of fun – especially when using the flappy paddles with, shall we say enthusiasm. However, as I drive and write for a living I would opt for the six-speed manual 'box which brings more driver engagement.


SUMMARY

Is this BMW 4 Series Coupe still the car in this class that does it all, the sector benchmark, the go-to choice in its segment? If you're the kind of driving enthusiast this model has traditionally appealed to, the answer is likely to be yes.

Can it be criticised? Perhaps...some have found it a rather mature proposition, compared to the smaller 2 Series. However, not up for debate is that BMW has built a benchmark contender in this class, especially in this 420d guise and, while the 2017 updates are barely noticeable, it just goes to show how excellent the 4-Series already was.


- Wayne Gorrett, News & Reviews Editor.

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