BMW 4-series gets makeover

BMW's signature six-cylinder petrol power plant and eight-speed automatic gearbox provide the 440i Coupe with a sonorous and smooth drive.
BMW's signature six-cylinder petrol power plant and eight-speed automatic gearbox provide the 440i Coupe with a sonorous and smooth drive.PHOTO: BMW AG

BMW's compact two-door range gets cosmetic tweaks as well as steering and suspension improvements

BMW has sent its 4-series coupe to the plastic surgeon for a mid-life makeover - two years after the facelift of its 3-series sedan.

The 4-series, which is based on the 3-series, was introduced in 2013. A Convertible and four-door Gran Coupe followed in 2015.

Changes in the facelift are subtle, starting with tweaks to the front and rear lights.

The Sport and Luxury variants receive a revised front apron. The addition of a chrome trim surrounding the air intakes and fog lamps freshens things up.

A new rear apron design replaces the previous one, which looked long in the tooth.

  • SPECS / BMW 430i CONVERTIBLE; 440i COUPE

  • Price: To be announced

    Engine: 1,998cc 16-valve twin-turbocharged inline-4; 2,998cc 24-valve twin-turbocharged inline-6

    Transmission: Eight-speed automatic with paddle shift

    Power: 252bhp at 5,200rpm; 326bhp at 5,500rpm

    Torque: 350Nm at 1,450-4,800rpm; 450Nm at 1,380-5,000rpm

    0-100kmh: 6.3 seconds; 5 seconds

    Top speed: 250kmh

    Fuel consumption: 6.3 litres/100km; 6.8 litres/100km

    Agent: Performance Motors

Other exterior revisions include LED fog lamps for all variants, two new body colours (Sunset Orange and Snapper Rocks Blue) and four new wheel designs.

In the cabin, things look familiar until you realise the instrumentation for the speedo and rev counters are now fully "Playstation" - no more physical needles to point to how fast or furious you are going. But this feature is an option.

The latest BMW Navigation Professional (again, an option) housed in a protruding infotainment display above the centre console features a new interface.

The revamp extends to a double- stitched dash-top, electroplated trim on the air-con vents (and door switches) and a high-gloss black panel for the centre console with chrome inserts.

The steering wheel is wrapped in high-grade leather, offering better grip.

The suspension for the Coupe and Gran Coupe is now stiffer, thanks to a more advanced damping system. The Convertible retains its comfort-oriented set-up to appeal more to open-top lovers.

The steering system has also been improved in all three body styles.

This is a software tweak to provide better straight-line stability.

Engine choices remain the same. Agent Performance Motors is unlikely to offer a diesel engine option, but the current 184bhp 420i, 252bhp 430i and 326bhp 440i petrol versions should continue.

The four-cylinder 430i Convertible test-driven here is more of an autobahn cruiser compared with the 440i Coupe.

Its suspension is softer, as expected, but it lacks the composure of its structurally stronger fixed- roof sibling to address tight hairpins and long S-bends.

It is, however, in its element when it is driven leisurely and with its roof stowed. This way, it offers a head-turning and stylish drive.

The cream of the crop must be the 3-litre 440i Coupe. Featuring BMW's signature silky six-cylinder petrol power plant coupled with an eight-speed automatic gearbox, it makes for a sonorous and smooth drive.

The package is completed with a taut and controlled suspension which remains unperturbed in any bend. The icing on the cake is a crisp steering.

Since its launch, the 4-series has found some 400,000 buyers worldwide.

The facelifted version should easily continue the momentum until an all-new replacement is unveiled in three years' time.

•The writer contributes to Torque, a motoring monthly published by SPH Magazines.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 29, 2017, with the headline 'Subtle mid-life facelift'. Print Edition | Subscribe