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2021 BMW 420i review | The West Australian

No wonder the oversized kidney grille on the new BMW 4 Series has got tongues wagging.

It’s been described as a coffin, a waffle iron, beaver teeth and even a pig nose, all missing Munich’s play on legendary models like the BMW 303, 328 and 501 which had distinctive elongated snouts.

History shows there’s nothing predictable about a Bimmer grille and this one is bigger and bolder than the ripsnorter on the X7.

The BMW 4 Series Coupe is big and bold with a macho stance.
Camera IconThe BMW 4 Series Coupe is big and bold with a macho stance. Credit: Supplied/Supplied

Love it or hate it, it’s come to define the 4 Series Coupe which is a looker, macho in stance and longer and wider than the outgoing model.

“It definitely would suit a lawyer or doctor,” a friend said.

There are three variants: the entry-level 420i, which we tested, the 430i and an M440i xDrive, all with twin-turbo engines and eight-speed Streptronic sport transmissions with paddle shifters if you want to be hands on.

The M Sport Aerodynamics package and M Sport suspension are standard, giving you extra-large air intakes at the front and 19-inch M light alloy wheels with Bridgestone Turanza T005 run-flat treads.

Our model was fitted with a visibility package, which includes metallic paint (the Portimao Blue is stunning), glass sunroof, ambient lighting and BMW laserlights ($6300) as well as a comfort package with lumbar support, automatic tailgate, heated front seats and comfort access with digital key access ($2860), taking the $70,900 entry-level manufacturer’s price to $80,060, plus the on-road costs.

BMW 4 Series.
Camera IconBMW 4 Series. Credit: Supplied

The comfort access alone is well worth the extra spend because it gives you the convenience of having the car doors unlock as you approach and lock when you walk away without having to press a key or touch the handle. Magic.

Wider than the Mercedes C-Class and Audi A5 coupes — its main competitors — it’s a big, unmistakable car (though the A5 is longer and lower) that drives with typical BMW aplomb.

The rear-wheel-drive 420i ticked all the boxes on the road, delivering 135kW/300Nm from a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine with effortless acceleration on freeway and out-of-town driving, coming close to the stated fuel consumption of 6.4L/100km with 7.2L/100km over a week in mainly comfort mode, with a few bursts of sport.

It does the 0-100km/h sprint in 7.5 seconds, though deep pockets can buy 0-100km/h in 4.5 seconds with the current range-topping M440i xDrive that’s $116,900 plus on-roads.

Doors are heavy and long, but there’s an automatic seatbelt feeder arm that pops out when you sit down and makes it easy buckling up, which can be a challenge in lesser coupes.

An interior designed for comfort.
Camera IconAn interior designed for comfort. Credit: Supplied/Supplied

Standard equipment in the entry model includes three-zone air-conditioning with controls for rear seats, wireless phone charging, a head-up display, parking and reversing assistant, a remote tailgate, digital instrument cluster and 10.25-inch touch screen that puts the latest BMW Operating System 7.0 with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto at your fingertips.

Guaranteed, you’ll love the tech which gives you real-time traffic and speed limit updates (there’s a built-in SIM card), including 40km roadwork zones, so there’s no excuse for getting a ticket. Just set and go.

Voice command worked without a hitch, changing ambient lighting from blue to pink on a whim, navigating maps and shuffling through dozens of radio stations without taking your eyes off the road.

If you don’t like touch screens, there’s always the familiar BMW iDrive controller and short cuts on the centre console or steering wheel to keep you connected while you drive.

The 4 Series Coupe is yet to be crash-tested, but it shares a platform with the 3 Series, which got five stars from ANCAP in 2019.

Standard safety includes front, side and head airbags, stability and traction control, wide-angle cameras at the front and rear, plus a suite of lane keeping and collision warning features, but no adaptive cruise, which is available as an option.

BMW 4 Series.
Camera IconBMW 4 Series. Credit: Supplied

Cabin fit-out features some nice geometric-pattern aluminium accents and an M leather steering wheel, with Alcantara and Sensatec synthetic material upholstery, which is a good vegan option.

Front sports seats are electronically adjustable with a memory function for the driver and, with the comfort upgrade in our model, included lumbar support and adjustable sides for a snug fit when cornering.

The only gripe — and it’s not the grille, which grows on you — is the the narrow boot opening.

Loading boxes is likely to be a struggle, which is frustrating because the cargo space is otherwise 440 litres with handy access to the cabin through the fold-down armrest in the middle of the back seat that means you can cart timber mouldings from Bunnings — even with three passengers in the car.

VERDICT

Plenty of attitude in the oversized grille, but it stands out from the crowd and hits the road with typical BMW aplomb.

  • Price $70,900 (as tested $80,060)
  • Engine 2.0-litre four-cylinder twin turbo-petrol
  • Outputs 135kW/300Nm
  • Transmission Eight-speed automatic RWD
  • Fuel economy 6.4L/100km

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