Of that small group, BMW’s 2021 4 Series coupe, is one compelling car, especially with AWD.
We were privileged to test the 430i xDrive coupe that also comes as a 440i with a more potent powerplant. Both are available in 2WD or all-wheel drive (xDrive). We tested the latter which is the better choice here in the Snowbelt. And it does make a notable difference as we had snow the week of the test and traction was grippy and positive. In fact, I tried spinning the tires in the uphill alley behind my home, but the 19-inch Pirelli all-weather tires just dug in with no wheel spin.
The 430 is offered in Gran Coupe, Luxury, Sport and M Sport trim and handling packages. Its styling differs from the popular 3 Series in that it has a bolder kidney-shaped grille and a swept-back roofline. The latter gives the impression the 430i is going 60 mph standing still. Its drawback is the it takes a head duck and body twist to get into and out of the back seat. But with limited leg and headroom back there, the rear seat is mainly for two youngsters or short-statured adults.
430i xDrive’s cockpit is nicely arranged with easy to operate HVAC controls that uses simple push buttons for common selections. A 10-inch long display with some voice control, serves the Harmon-Kardon audio system, rearview camera with frontal view, apps including news feeds and driving modes. And it’s nicely hooded for good visibility in bright sunlight.
Next to it, the all-digital gauge cluster includes a driver information display showing features, functions and alerts.
430i’s heated front seats are exceptionally supportive for spirited driving with extended under thigh support that’s comforting over long trips.
A stubby 8-speed automatic transmission shifter in the center of the console has a “P” switch for park gear. That takes some getting used to if coming off a shifter where park gear is a forward push. It’s flanked by switches for the five driving modes of Sport, Comfort, Eco Pro, Adaptive and Auto H (hold), with all selections displaying on the LCD.
If you prefer taking control of shifting, paddle shifters reside on the burly and heated steering wheel. I’m surprised though that BMW didn’t include a flat bottom wheel for a racier look for this sporty car.
The only qualm we have with the 430i’s interior is that the inside door handles are small. Someone with large, thick fingers, can only get one (maybe two) fingers inside the handle.
Back in the trunk, it’s rated at 12 cubic feet of storage and with the rear seatbacks upright, has 39 inches of cargo loading depth. Flip the seatbacks and depth extends to 68 inches. Beneath the trunk floor is a bin housing a tire inflator kit that’s in lieu of a spare tire.
Powered by a 2.0-liter twin power turbocharged 4-cylinder, the Rolex-smooth and quiet running engine puts out 255-hp and 294 lb/ft of torque for EPA mileage estimates of 24 city, 33-highway mpg. When coupled to the super quick shifting 8-speed automatic transmission, gear changes go unnoticed. BMW says the 430i xDrive can do 0-60 in a quick 5.3 seconds.
During quick acceleration, torque builds quickly for a push-you-back-in-the-seat affect.
BMW makes superb engines and this one is a prime example. The engine even sounds precise under idle, normal and full throttle runs. And unlike many inline 4-cylinders, this 2.0 is especially quiet.
As for ride and handling with the optional Dynamic Handling Package ($2,450) that adds M Sport (bigger) brakes and M Sport Differential (limited-slip) that’s combined with the M Sport Package ($3,800) with variable sport steering, the driving dynamics exudes sportiness and preciseness with virtually no body dip when leaning into sharp turns taken at speed. And shod with Pirelli 19-inch tires, 430i rides smoothly and quietly over good roads, a bit bumpy on bumpy roads thanks to its sporty suspension.
The non-optional list includes such niceties as wireless phone charger, active driving assist, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto connectivity, park distance control, Sirius XM radio, frontal collision warning, active blind spot detection and many more.
Aside from the aforementioned options, the test car came with a $2300 Premium Package (heated steering wheel and seats, head-up display) and Adaptive M Suspension ($700) along with a delivery charge of $995 that took the base price of $47,600 to $61,220.
The 430i xDrive comes with a 4 year/50K new vehicle limited warranty; 12/unlimited rust protection; 4-year roadside assistance program and a free 3/36K maintenance program.
Overall, the 430i xDrive offers an exciting blend of performance and surprisingly good fuel economy for a 3,782-pound sports coupe.