Rather than a total reimagining, BMW has given its mid-sized executive coupé a subtle facelift to ensure it still stands out alongside the new Audi A5 and current Mercedes C-Class at this year's Geneva International Motor Show, which opens its doors on March 9.
Changes for the 2017-18 model year, unveiled Tuesday, will include new headlamps that emphasize the car's sporty character, bigger front air intakes and a redesigned rear apron. And while the external alterations appear minimal, under the skin it's a different story.
The car's suspension system has been comprehensively revised so that no matter which powertrain option an owner plumps for (and there's a potential 31 different combinations now on offer), the ride is firmer when driving ‘enthusiastically' but is comfortable when cruising. BMW says that the adjustments also make the steering more communicative -- responding to one of the few criticisms of the 4 Series in its current form.
As for propulsion, all engines both gasoline and diesel on offer now use BMW's TwinPower turbo technology for upping power without upping fuel consumption and XDrive intelligent all-wheel drive is now standard or an option on 12 different models.
So, owners can pick from something as sensible as the 184hp four-cylinder 420i with its 0-100km/h time of 7.3 seconds and a combined fuel economy of 6.1l/100km. Or they can go for the six-cylinder 440i xDrive with eight-speed automatic transmission, 326hp, a 0-100km/h time of 4.9 seconds and an electronically limited 250km/h top speed.
Inside, BMW is introducing new electroplated and chrome finishes for console and trim pieces and has added double stitching details to the instrument panel. There's an even bigger selection of upholstery for the seats and there's a new optional navigation and instrumentation system, the layout of which can be tailored to suit an individual driver's preferences.
Deciding to take the hugely popular 3 Series and turn it into two distinct models -- the 4-Series two-door coupé and the 3-Series four-door sedan -- seemed like a gamble but since rolling out the new model line in 2013 and then adding to it with a convertible and a Gran Coupé (i.e., a longer four-door model), BMW has sold almost 400,000 examples without cannibalizing sales of the 3 Series.
And with the latest updates the 4-Series should still be able to stand its ground against its closest German competitors until its complete overhaul in 2020.