Parkers overall rating: 4.2 out of 5 4.2
  • Very similar layout to the 3 Series Saloon
  • Adjustable, low-down driving position
  • Driver-focused design, quality materials and a solid built

If you’ve sat in the driver’s seat of the firm’s 3 Series Saloon or Touring, then the front pew of the 4 Series will be instantly familiar, featuring the clever trackpad-style iDrive controller which allows you to trace numbers and letters with your fingers for sat-nav and other inputs.

Although the design of the dashboard isn’t as exciting and dramatic as we’d have liked, everything is clearly laid out and works with exacting precision. The driving position is one of the best, with lots of adjustment in both the steering wheel and seat, allowing for a low-set sporty set up should you wish.

Besides, the familiarity isn’t a bad thing though; the centre console is angled towards the driver and the switchgear is neatly laid out. It feels built to last as well, and while the moulded plastics could offer more visual theatre and drama in their appearance, they are mostly soft-touch – the dash top being one of the most satisfyingly squidgy of any car we’ve sat in.

Thanks to the excellent range of adjustment in the seat (especially the optional Sports chairs) and steering wheel there’s no excuse for not getting into a comfortable position. Helpfully you feel a fraction lower on account of the car’s reduction in height compared to the 3 Series Saloon.

With the optional head-up display, in full colour, along with the sharply rendered digital instruments, all of the information you need is clearly presented in front of you. From behind the wheel there really is very little to criticise. The lack of Apple Carplay and Android Auto may date the infotainment system a little, but the former was made available as a cost option later in life - at least, from 2019 onwards.

Comfort

  • Sporty car still offers decent comfort
  • Facelifted models come with stiffer suspension
  • Quiet cabin is well-insulated from noise

There’s no doubting that the BMW 4 Series’ comfort is among the best on offer, despite the car’s positioning as a sportier model. Cars facelifted in 2017 boast stiffer suspension, but it's not been detrimental to ride comfort.

Fitted with the M Sport adaptive suspension and left in Comfort mode the 4 Series is perfectly adept at dealing with the drudgery of day-to-day life, soaking up all the expansion joints and potholes that motorway roads can throw at it. There’s still the occasional thump as a wheel drops into anything, but it never makes its way into the cabin as anything more than a noise.

Up front the seats remain as comfortable as ever, but it’s in the rear that the biggest changes have appeared over the old 3 Series Coupe it replaces, with the extension in the car’s wheelbase adding more legroom for rear passengers. Despite the sleek roofline there’s enough headroom for a six-foot adult to sit behind a driver of similar size - just. If you need to use the rear seats quite often, the Gran Coupe might be more useful with its rear doors.

It’s particularly quiet on the move, even at speed, with almost no engine noise making its way into the cabin, unless you are driving the car very hard. In fact there’s little noise at all, either in the form of wind or road sound, and with such a comfortable cabin we’d have no qualms about covering a long distance sat in the rear.

M4 Competition is firm, but remains comfortable

The M4 is comfier than you would expect, especially with the adaptive dampers fitted. In Sport or Sport+ mode the car’s responses are sharper but at the expense of ride quality. Leave it in Comfort, and configure the steering and throttle response for the same, along with the ferocity of ratio swaps on the M-DCT automatic gearbox (there are three modes for this also) and the M4 is an entirely comfortable and civilised car to potter around in.

You do notice some road noise finding its way into the cabin at cruising speeds though, especially from the rear wheels, but the front seats are excellent and low-set.