Review: 2021 BMW 430i xDrive Coupe is toothy fun
Redesigned for 2021, the second-generation BMW 4 Series follows the updates from the 3 Series to get a stiffer chassis, more power and updated technology – all behind a very distinctive beaver-toothed grille that's sure to split opinions.
At a Glance
- Excellent driver’s car
- New front grille won't be to everybody's taste
- Well-matched base model engine with the coupe
- Smart technology and safety updates
The 430i is the base model for the 4 Series, though our test model had the xDrive all-wheel drive setup and several package add-ons. Its turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder outputs a respectable 255 hp (190 kW) and 295 lb-ft (400 Nm) of torque. This goes through an eight-speed automatic transmission that doesn’t hesitate to shift. The coupe model that we drove comes with a standard sunroof, so taller folks might have headroom issues in the BMW 4, but there is a convertible option for those looking for endless headroom instead.
Outside of our chief and most obvious complaint, that being the two-toothed grin of the cringe-inducing front grille on the 4 Series, we have had little to complain about in the 430i. With added xDrive and a couple of smart packages like the M Sport and Premium upgrades, the 430i becomes a well-outfitted, sporty little ride. Ours had these updates plus some others (Driving Assistance Professional, Parking Assistance, and Dynamic Handling) and rang in at about US$60,000 with delivery. Deleting a couple of those packages would knock the price down a few thousand to a more manageable mark for a buyer who is looking to maximize fun, luxury drives with a budget.
We like the M Sport package in particular, which adds 19-inch wheels (a nice add-on for this car) and summer performance tires as an option. Its variable sport steering, body kit updates, and suspension tuning are great. Those looking for even more can then add on the Dynamic Handling package with its upgraded brakes and sport-tuned differential and adaptive suspension dampers. The upgraded brakes can be had as a stand-alone upgrade with the M Sport as well and is probably all the 430i really needs after that package. A 16-speaker Harman Kardon audio system is also a stand-alone upgrade worth putting in, we think.
With those additions, the 430i xDrive becomes a powerful little sports coupe. There are more expensive options like the six-cylinder M440i trim package. The cost to benefit, though, may not be there for drivers who are more interested in a fun daily drive than they are a potential weekend track car or who need to point to the M logo to impress their friends.
In our week with the BMW 430i, we enjoyed its driver-centric feel and dynamic. The long, flat hood makes for a lot of guesswork when parking, however, and as mentioned, the standard sunroof greatly impedes on interior headroom. The upgraded brakes with the M Sport or Dynamic Handling packages take some getting used to as well.
We expect that some of the electric vehicle fans in our readership will have contumelious commentary about the BMW 4 Series, but must assure them that there is no actual competition for this car in any other manufacturer’s EV lineup. And at a $45,000-$60,000 price point, this car is far better outfitted than would be a comparable EV from Tesla. Plus, there’s just something about a transmission doing its thing adeptly while the engine raises and lowers its chug.
On the technology front, BMW has gone to great lengths to improve infotainment and safety. The 4 Series now features BMW’s new iDrive infotainment with optional gesture and natural speech voice control. Forward collision mitigation, blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning, and a suite of parking sensors are also standard on the 4. Upgrades like adaptive cruise, lane keeping assist, and automated steering for highway driving are available as well.
Really, though, it’s the signature BMW drive quality that is the highest draw for the 4 Series. The 430i, especially with xDrive, just feels natural on the road. If you can get past that beaver-tooth grille, there’s a lot to enjoy in the new BMW 4 Series.
Product Page: 2021 BMW 4 Series