By Matt Degen
KBB Expert Rating: 8.5
Now two years into its life, the 2016 BMW 4 Series is the designation for models formerly known as the 3 Series coupe and convertible. The nomenclature distinguishes the 2-door 4 Series from the growing variety of 4-door 3 Series models, but even the 4 Series' lineup has grown with last year's introduction of the Gran Coupe, a sleek 4-door hatch. Whatever the form, the BMW 4 Series offers excellent driving manners and a variety of powertrains ranging from an eager yet efficient turbocharged 4-cylinder to the 425-horsepower 6-cylinder in the M4, as well as rear-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive configurations. Like the Audi A5, Mercedes-Benz C-Class coupe and Lexus RC, the 4 Series blends performance and refinement to go with its $40,000-plus starting price.
If you crave the excellent driving dynamics and inherent badge appeal that come with a BMW 3 Series but in the form of a coupe or convertible, the 4 Series is the answer. And the 4-door Gran Coupe is a practical and beautiful hauler thanks to its spacious hatch.
Fresh entry-level, luxury-coupe temptation arrives in the 2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class, which offers a more elegant interior and sophisticated technology such as semi-autonomous driving. The all-new 2017 Infiniti Q60 also looks to give the 4 Series a run for its money in the departments of style and power.
KBB Expert Ratings
The 4 Series carries over mostly unchanged for 2016. A special-edition BMW 435i ZHP Coupe offers higher performance and is limited to only 100 models.
The BMW 4 Series takes the agility, acceleration and balance of the 3 Series and goes one better. With a wider stance and lower center of...
... gravity, 2-door versions of the 4 Series are the perfect partner if you enjoy throwing your car into a corner. Trade-offs are increased road noise and a stiff ride on rough pavement. The Gran Coupe excels at grand touring thanks to its lively yet smooth road manners and extra cargo capacity. Base 428i models employ BMW's excellent 240-horsepower 4-cylinder engine to power the rear or all four wheels. Though it's turbocharged, not a hint of lag is felt. The 435i models use a 300-horsepower 6-cylinder that can propel AWD models to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds. Transmission choices – an 8-speed automatic or 6-speed manual in 428i and 435i coupes – are exceptional. Packing 425 horsepower, the BMW M4 can hit 60 mph in about four seconds.
2.0-LITER TURBOCHARGED 4-CYLINDER ENGINE
The base engine in the 4 Series is so good that it leaves little reason to pay thousands more for the 6-cylinder variant. Beyond its impressive specs – 240 horsepower, 255 lb-ft of torque, up to 35 mpg on the highway – is its immediate responsiveness.
If you're torn between the classic shape of the coupe and open-air excitement of a drop-top, the 4 Series convertible offers the best of both worlds with its power-operated retractable hardtop. Raised, it has similar lines and the security of a fixed-roof coupe. Folded it's ready to soak up the sun.
The 4-passenger cabin of the 4 Series coupe and convertible is comfortable for those in front, merely adequate for those in back. BMW has long shaped its cabins around the driver, and that remains true here. Controls are within easy reach, and the iDrive dial control system is simpler than past iterations. Though the Gran Coupe's exterior footprint is the same as 2-door models, this 4-door has better rear-passenger access and over 45 cubic feet of cargo space with rear seats folded. It has a 3-person rear seat, but the humped center position isn't very comfortable.
Compared to its sedan sibling, the coupe and convertible are slightly larger and lower, with headlights that flow into the "twin-kidney" grille. With its additional two rear doors and sweptback roof, the 4 Series Gran Coupe looks like a smaller version of the svelte 6 Series Gran Coupe. Instead of a trunk door, it has a power tailgate that opens high for easy loading. The 4 Series convertible has a hardtop that offers better insulation and security than a fabric top. M4 performance models look meaner with larger front air intakes, power-dome hood and quad exhaust outlets.
Even if you spend the least on a base BMW 428i, you'll get an excellent-driving vehicle with power front seats, 8-speed automatic (a 6-speed manual transmission is a no-cost option on the coupe), xenon adaptive headlights, a moonroof, dynamic cruise control, and automatic climate control. Infotainment includes a 9-speaker AM/FM/CD/HD Radio system with USB audio input, Bluetooth streaming and 6.5-inch display (unfortunately, a rearview camera still costs extra). Higher-end 435i models include a more powerful 6-cylinder engine and 18-inch wheels. The 2016 M4 features performance-oriented brakes and differential, while the Gran Coupe adds a handy power tailgate.
From blind-spot monitoring to a 16-speaker/600-watt harman/kardon sound system, there are myriad ways to upgrade the 2016 4 Series. Most major offerings are bundled into packages. Prominent ones include the Premium Package that features hands-free trunk opening (you use a foot gesture) and replaces the SensaTec faux leather upholstery with the real thing, and the Technology Package that includes navigation and dedicated apps. A Driver Assistance package adds the blind-spot monitoring and Active Driving Assistant with lane-departure warning, collision-mitigation automatic braking and pedestrian detection. M4 models can bolster their performance potential with carbon-ceramic brakes and driver-selectable Adaptive M Suspension.
The 2016 BMW 4 Series is available in three potencies: 428i with a 240-horsepower 4-cylinder, 435i with a 300-horsepower 6-cylinder, and the M4 coupe and cabriolet with a 6-cylinder that churns out 425 horsepower. RWD is the standard layout, and all models except the M versions can be had with AWD, designated by an "x" in the model name, for enhanced traction. Most 4 Series models come with a smooth-shifting 8-speed automatic transmission. A 6-speed manual transmission is available in 428i and 435i coupes, as well as the M4 coupe and convertible. The 428i and 435i models have start/stop technology that shuts off the engine at idle to save gas. Restarts tend to be jarring, but the feature can be disabled. These premium engines require premium gasoline.
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
240 horsepower @ 5,000-6,000 rpm
255 lb-ft of torque @ 1,250-4,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/35 mpg (coupe, automatic, RWD), 23/34 mpg (convertible, automatic, RWD), 22/34 mpg (coupe, manual, RWD), 22/34 mpg (coupe, automatic, AWD), 21/33 mpg (convertible, automatic, AWD), 23/34 mpg (Gran Coupe, RWD), 22/34 mpg (Gran Coupe, AWD)
3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6
300 horsepower @ 5,800-6,000 rpm
300 lb-ft of torque @ 1,200-5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/31 mpg (coupe, automatic, RWD), 20/31 mpg (convertible, automatic, RWD), 20/29 mpg (convertible, automatic, AWD), 20/30 mpg (coupe, manual, RWD), 20/30 mpg (coupe, automatic, AWD), 19/28 mpg (coupe, manual, AWD), 20/31 mpg (Gran Coupe, RWD), 20/30 mpg (Gran Coupe, AWD)
3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6
425 horsepower @ 5,500-7,300 rpm
406 lb-ft of torque @ 1,850-5,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/26 mpg (manual), 17/24 mpg (automatic)
2016 BMW 428i coupe and Gran Coupe models carry Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Prices (MSRP) just under $43,000, while convertibles begin just under $51,000. These figures can quickly escalate with options (most paint colors, for example, add $550 alone). The track-ready M4 Coupe starts at over $66,000, while an M4 hardtop convertible starts over $75,000. Load up these M editions, and you could be looking at $80,000-plus. The 2016 BMW 4 Series starts slightly higher than the Audi A5, but its base engine has more horsepower. The 4 Series starts several thousand above the Cadillac ATS Coupe, which also offers more standard horsepower, as well as the Lexus RC coupe. Before buying, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for their 4 Series. In the long run, the 4 Series' resale value is expected to be average, lagging that of the Lexus RC.