From the outside the oyster is not an appealing looking creature, but these bi-valve molluscs are capable of producing beautiful pearls or can even be eaten, accompanied with a glass of your favourite champagne, if you are willing to give them a try.
The second generation of the 4 Series has been maligned by many as an unattractive vehicle and if I’m honest I was one of those people in the beginning. But as the saying goes ‘you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover’ and although I do not love the look of the front end still, I do think that there are many elegant features about this coupé. From an exterior standpoint, I think the side-on profile is gorgeous and the Tanzanite Blue metallic paintwork on the 430i I drove was very special too (part of the optional Visibility Package).
Driving the 430i is a very pleasant experienced thanks to the quiet cabin that makes you feel protected from the outside world. There is ample power available from the 2.0 litre, 4-cylinder in-line, turbocharged petrol engine, which produces 190kW and 400Nm of torque and this is paired well with an 8-speed Steptronic Sport automatic transmission. The 0-100km/h acceleration time is 5.8 seconds and the 430i will feel every bit as quick as this when you put your foot down. The official combined fuel consumption is 6.6L/100km and for my week with the 430i I used 8.9L/100km.
This particular 430i is fitted with the M Sport Package and this includes Adaptive M Suspension, among a number of other features. This means under the Drive Mode selection you can configure Sport mode for damping, steering, engine and transmission settings. Or you can also use Sport mode in Standard or Plus or select from Comfort, Eco Pro or Adaptive, which as the name suggests adapts to your driving style.
On the interior you are greeted by equally elegant environment with seats covered in oyster-coloured ‘Vernasca’ leather with décor stitching. This is paired nicely with the Aluminium Tetragon trim finishers and more importantly matt black buttons. Why is matt black so important? Because it means that your centre console and steering wheel will not be constantly covered with fingermarks like those on vehicles gloss black surfaces.
Conveniently the 430i automatically extends the seat belt over your shoulder to make it easier to reach. You can then settle into the comfortable front seats, both of which have power adjustment for forward/back, recline, height and side bolster, with manual adjustment for the head rest for height and forward/back and manual front seat extender. To save your ideal position the driver’s seat has two memory positions, but the passenger seat has none. My 430i was fitted with the optional Comfort Package ($2,080) and this includes heated front seats and 4-way lumbar support. I did note that the light-coloured leather was showing signs of discolouration and the car I drove had only 7,000km on the odometer.
Keen drivers will appreciate the chunky leather-covered M steering wheel with variable sport steering. I enjoyed the solid feeling paddle gear selectors that had a textured underside where your fingers touch them. I also liked that BMW’s voice control system is designated on the steering wheel by a microphone rather than the silhouette of a face. The other remarkable feature about the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant is she has a sense of humour. I found the voice control worked well for making calls, changing media sources and setting a destination on the sat nav. But if you had to repeat your input a number of times the Assistant says “I’m sometimes seem to be hard at hearing” and this made me laugh.
The list of standard inclusions that come fitted to the 430i are impressive and include a 12.3” digital drivers dash that changes depending on the drive mode you are in or can be configured to your individual preferences and the driver also gets a detailed head-up display.
The central 10.25” infotainment system has a touchscreen, but can also be controlled using the still excellent iDrive rotary controller meaning that your screen will not get as many fingermarks on it. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto comes standard on the 430i and it also has wireless charging for compatible devices. If you need to plug your phone in to charge there is a USB-C port under the arm rest and a standard USB and 12V outlet at the front of the centre console. The Visibility Package fitted to the 4303i I drove also includes a glass sunroof and ambient lighting, which only includes a small number of colours to choose from.
To access the two rear seats, you use a lever on the shoulder of the front seats and these slide forward automatically and the gap provided is large enough for adults to step in. My children spent a considerable amount of time in the back seats and they reported that they were comfortable for long road trips. I felt that there was enough leg room for adults, but head room is limited due to the sloping coupé roofline. One thing my children didn’t like though was the door handle is located at the front of the door so even with the front seat was forward they found is difficult to reach the handle to let themselves out of the car.
There are two ISOFIX/two rear tether child seat restraint points, but the sloping roofline again would mean some research would be needed to make sure your preferred child seat would fit. I also think that it would be a little difficult to access the rear tether points due to the low rear windscreen.
The side pockets next to the seats are quite small so thankfully between the two rear seats there is a fold down arm rest with two drink bottles holders at the front of the arm rest. Rear passengers have a digital temperature control for the two central air vents and below the climate controls there are two USB-C ports for charging devices.
The boot has the handy gesture open and close feature and to operate you need to kick under the passenger side of the boot with the key on you. Or you can open/close using the button under the boot lid, the button on the key fob or the button in the cabin. The boot is large and would fit a pram and the weekly shop. There are four tie down points, two hooks, a light, a 12V outlet and under the boot floor there is a tyre repair kit. If extra storage room is required the rear seats have a 40:20:40 split folding mechanism.
The 4 Series doesn’t have an ANCAP safety rating, but is fitted with six airbags and a swath of driver safety features. These include autonomous emergency breakdown, front collision warning, side collision warning, lane departure warning, lane change warning and adaptive cruise control. Like in previous BMWs I have driven I found that the steering assist works very well. The rear-view camera is also very good with a 360o on the right-hand side of the display with 360o sensors and an outline of your doors so you can see if they can open in the space you are parked in, a good feature in 4 Series because it has such long doors. On the left-hand side of the screen there is a standard rear-view camera as well.
All new BMW vehicles have a 3 years/unlimited km warranty with 24-hour road side assist included. Owners can purchase a Service Package in advance that covers the scheduled servicing requirements for 5 years/80,000km and for your 4 Series and this costs $1,750.
In many ways the latest BMW 4 Series is much like an oyster, some people are put off by the exterior and not willing to take a look inside and discover what lies under its shell and therefore are missing out on something very special. The BMW 430i Coupé with M Sport Package starts at $88,900 excluding dealer delivery and on-road costs and as tested with the optional Visibility Package ($7,900) and Comfort Package ($2,080) the 430i I drove costs $98,880 plus above costs. Visit your preferred BMW dealer for more information and build your 4 Series online today.
|The Tanzanite Blue metallic paintwork||Frontend styling|
|Comfortable front and rear seats||Light-coloured leather interior|
|Large boot||No ANCAP rating|
Photographs by Driven Women Magazine.