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2021 BMW 4 Series Debuts with More Power, More Tech, More Grille

BMW has unveiled the latest version of its best-selling coupe, with controversial looks and a 382-horsepower, mild-hybrid 440i range-topper.

At long last, BMW has officially showed off the production version of the 2021 4 Series. It takes the compact luxury-sport coupe even further away from the 3 Series sedan on which it’s based, at least in the looks department.

Yes, we have to talk about the design—again. On the whole, there’s plenty of big brother 8 about the 4 Series shape, which we’re all for. It’s that gaping maw up front that’s going to take a lot of getting used to. Elegant it ain’t. But hey, it should make it easier to ID a 4 in your rearview or coming your way.

SEE ALSO: BMW M850i xDrive Cabriolet Review

From nose to tail, the second-generation 4 Series is 5.2 inches longer than the model it replaces, at 187.7 inches. Width is up an inch (72.9 in), while the new 4 is just 0.2 inches taller (54.4 in). A 1.5-inch increase in wheelbase, to 112.2 in, should provide additional room for people front and back. Weights seem to be largely the same: BMW is quoting 3571 lb for the 430i, just 3 lb lighter than the current 430i, but regional equipment differences could play a part there. Meanwhile the M440i, which comes only with xDrive all-wheel drive, tips the scales at 4,001 lb. BMW says the 4 Series benefits from a one-inch lower center of gravity than its sedan sibling.

The 4 Series sits on the BMW CLAR platform, much like the 3 Series. It also shares the sedan’s engine lineup, with turbocharged four- and six-cylinder engines. While Europe gets a wider range of turbocharged gas and diesel engines, North America will stick to just two: the familiar 2.0-liter four-cylinder and 3.0-liter inline-six from the 3 Series. The 430i uses the smaller engine, producing 255 hp and 294 lb-ft of torque. It should clip off the standard 0–60 mph run in 5.5 seconds. BMW will also offer the 430i with its xDrive all-wheel drive system, which shaves 0.2 seconds off the same sprint.

Sitting at the top of the range—at least for now, before the M4—is the M440i xDrive. The turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder delivers 382 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. A new 48-volt mild-hybrid system helps here, adding an extra 11 hp when needed and perking up engine response. It also allows the start/stop function to kick in earlier, switching off the six-pot when braking and the speed drops below 9 mph.

The M440i also benefits from a standard M Sport suspension, which features stiffer suspension tuning. An eight-speed automatic is standard on all engines.

SEE ALSO: 2020 BMW 330i xDrive Review

Inside, the 4 again cribs from the 3 Series, which we’re already pretty big fans of. The base model uses traditional analog gauges, with a 5.1-inch color screen between them and an 8.8-inch central infotainment screen. The optional Live Cockpit Professional setup swaps out the instrument cluster for a 12.3-inch digital display, and bumps the infotainment item to 10.25 inches.BMW’s SensaTec leatherette is standard, with real cow hide available as an option in half a dozen shades. Oak wood trim is standard on the four-cylinder models, while metallic inserts are present in the M440i. The six-pot model also gets its dash draped in SensaTec; if you want it on the 430i, it’s optional.

Of course, this being a modern luxury car, there’s a whole suite of standard tech and driving assists. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are both standard, and wireless now to boot. The LED headlights swivel into corners, and include auto high beams. Automatic climate control, powered front seats, and navigation are standard as well. On the safety front, dynamic cruise control, lane departure warning, automated emergency braking, rear cross-traffic alert, and blind spot monitoring are included on all 2021 4 Series models. An available Driver Assistance Professional Package adds active cruise control with full stop-and-go capability, Extended Traffic Jam Assistant, lane-keep assist with side collision avoidance, and front cross-traffic alert.

Sales of the 2021 4 Series coupe begin in October. You’ll need at least $46,595 to get into a base 430i, including $995 in destination. Adding xDrive will tag another $2,000 onto that bottom line. Graduate to the full-fat M44oi and you’re looking at $59,495 for the opportunity. Expect convertible and four-door Gran Coupe versions in the following year, as well as the hi-po M4.

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