By on January 18, 2017

BMW 4 Series
Going over the announcement of BMW’s updated 4 Series was reminiscent of my childhood attempts to parse out the difference between two nearly identical images in the monthly Double Check of my Highlights for Children magazine.

Beyond the M Sport styled front bumper and newly standardized LED headlights and taillights for each trim, there is nothing obvious about this mid-cycle refresh of the 4 Series. Most of the improvements are minimal and located below the surface, including the only one that really matters to driving enthusiasts — an improved standard suspension designed to encourage a neutral response at the limit and better feedback. 

BMW 4 Series

BMW’s 4 Series has garnered a fair bit of criticism from some reviewers over its handling characteristics and lackluster feedback. Responding, the company says the new standard suspension has been stiffened without destroying ride comfort and should offer reduced roll and better steering feedback. That applies to all cars, including those making use of the M Sport and Adaptive suspensions. The company is also offering higher-performance tires as a factory-installed option for the 430i and up.

Inside the cabin, a digital cockpit cluster and revised infotainment display are welcome improvements. The car comes with Apple CarPlay, serves as a WiFi hotspot, and now has inductive phone charging available in the armrest. BMW is calling the 4 Series “an all-compassing personalized digital mobility assistant” but it’s really just integrating features you have on your phone into the upgraded center console.

BMW 4 Series

Expect new electroplated and chrome finishes for the interior trim, as well as double stitching details on the instrument panel. Outside, BMW has added model-specific wheels and two new colors: Snapper Rocks Blue and Sunset Orange (pictured).

It’s always nice to see a Beemer not in grayscale or navy.

While this information comes from European specification cars, you can safely assume North American versions will be nearly identical. The updated 4 Series should help to further differentiate itself from the 3 Series it owes its existence to, while keeping it competitive against the Audi A5 until its 2020 redesign.

BMW 4 Series

[Images: BMW Group]

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18 Comments on “BMW Takes an ‘If it Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix it’ Approach With the 4 Series...”

  • avatar

    And people thought yesterday’s Mustang refresh was subtle!

  • avatar


  • avatar

    Sounds like they are doing a “tick-tock” scheme for product development. Tick is big change, Tock is minor improvements (reviewers will usually say that the tock is what the tick should always have been).

  • avatar
    White Shadow

    I’d still choose an Audi A5 over this, even the not-nearly-as-nicely-styled new generation A5.

    • 0 avatar

      I think the new A5/S5 Sportback is gorgeous even if the new coupe is nothing special to look at. That’s what I’d have in this segment:

      • 0 avatar
        White Shadow

        The new Sportback just looks like a slightly extended 4-door version of the coupe. I’m not feeling the styling, especially from the front. I knew they were going to have a hard time improving on the current design….and it seems that they failed miserably. It’s not an ugly car at all, but it’s not nearly as nice as it was.

    • 0 avatar

      Audi has really grown on me over the last 3 or 4 years, especially as other manufacturers get all wavy/edgy/curvy and wacky with their aesthetics and overall exterior designs.

      Audi has kept their designs even, crisp, balanced, clean, and in S-trims, just the right amount of mean.

      Audi is the benchmark, IMO, for both exterior and interior design in terms of premium sedans and coupes, while Aston Martin gets the nod for exterior design in super premium vehicles because of the Vantage.

      BMW is just really getting stale and lazy, and has lost their luster and mustard…

      …though I really do wish I had purchased a 1M when they were first sold in the U.S. (I’m never going to pay the ask for the used ones available now, which is way more than the new transaction prices were).

      • 0 avatar

        I agree that Audi has the edge on both interior and exterior design as far as the A5/S5 coupe is concerned.

        Be that as it may, I’d go to BMW Mercedes every time as I believe this class is better off being RWD.

        • 0 avatar

          > I believe this class is better off being RWD.

          If you live in the Mountains, Midwest or Northeast during the winter months, rear-wheel drive becomes a huge liability.

          • 0 avatar

            I spent the last two+ years living in Chicago and never found RWD to be a liability. I just made sure to have the right tires.

            This class is far better with RWD, but you are aware there is an AWD option on this car.

          • 0 avatar

            AWD in the Chicago/Milwaukee area is totally unnecessary, but I can see it being useful farther out.
            When I lived in Champaign/Urbana they didn’t even bother plowing, they just threw some sand down.

  • avatar

    Maybe I’m old school here, but it is broke. BMW has veered off the track in it’s efforts to expand the base. I’ve owned multiple BMWs. All reliable, rewarding, and engaging. Almost all those being M models or performance oriented variants.

    I find modern BMWs nice to drive and I (generally) like the look, but they no longer have that edge. These new models are leaning luxury. It’s the same reason I have little interest in Mercedes and I’m now a Porsche owner. I get that people like luxury, but I miss the old days. I miss the edge and I miss the engagement. The most I will shop for today is (maybe) an older Z4M coupe and maybe a 1M.

    I realize this is just a complaint, but I’m realizing BMW isn’t coming back. This is their way forward.

  • avatar

    The suspension changes are badly needed. It’s absurd that BMW charges 300$ for Carplay in the current cars though this is nothing new for them – years back they charged extra for split folding rear seats.

  • avatar

    Nice looking…but in this segment my Choice Number One would be AMG C43 Benz.

    Mercedes should do something other than a four-banger in the base C-class models.

  • avatar

    how about improve their steering so that it doesn’t have the weight and feel of a Camry.

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