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The facelifted BMW 4 Series has improved on an already solid proposition but can it hold off the likes of the latest generation Audi A5 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupé?

You can blame the Audi A5 for the BMW 4 Series. Once upon a time, a BMW 3 Series saloon would arrive and then, a short time after, so would the BMW 3 Series Touring, followed by a BMW 3 Series coupé and, eventually, a BMW 3 Series convertible.

But the Audi A5 coupé, which brought with it significant differentiation from the A4 saloon on which it was based, has changed the dynamic of the market, and has continued to with a second generation Audi A5 and the alluring Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupé and Convertible all vying for the same buyers.

The 440i's coupé's engine delights in much the same way it did in the old 335i

You might argue that a 3 Series is classy enough for BMW to continue with a coupé that looks and feels just like it, except with two fewer doors. But things have inevitably changed with the inexorable rise of Audi.

This, then, is the BMW 4 Series, and it’s no longer simply a slightly less practical and more desirable variant of the saloon, at least according to its maker. Instead, the two-door 3 Series has been rebranded as a model in its own right, with its own dynamic and aesthetic appeal.

BMW has history in such exercises with body styles – witness the 6 Series’ long-standing relationship to the 5 Series – so it’s not an illogical step.

Is it an appealing one, though? We’ll find out later, but it’s worth remembering that this nameplate is imbued with all that made the 3 Series a stand-out model in its class.

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That means it shares the same basic underpinnings, but at 4638mm in length, 1825mm in width and 1362mm in height, the 4 Series coupé is 26mm longer, 43mm wider and 16mm lower than its 3 Series coupé predecessor. The wheelbase is up by 50mm to 2810mm, and the front and rear tracks are extended by 45mm and 81mm to 1545mm and 1593mm respectively. Although, a 2017 facelift saw BMW try to keep tabs on its younger rivals by further refining the 4 Series. It started by lowering the centre of gravity - by 40mm on the coupé, 30mm on the Gran Coupé and 20mm on the Convertible, before tweakin the 4 Series' handling through widening its tracks at the front and rear, stiffening the suspension and alterations to the traction control.

Other changes made during the facelift included LED headlight fitments, two new alluring body colours, redesigned alloys and a slight alterations to the front and rear, while inside was treated to a new steering wheel, trim and the latest version of the iDrive infotainment software - similar to the one seen in the new 5 Series.

The BMW 4 Series range features several engines. Petrol choices comprise the 181bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder 420i, the 248bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder 430i and the 321bhp 3.0-litre six-cylinder 440i.

Diesel engines match the petrol range closely, with the 181bhp 420d four-cylinder turbodiesel, the 255bhp 3.0-litre six-cylinder 430d and a 309bhp version of the same engine in the 435d making up the range.

The 435d is sold exclusively with BMW’s xDrive all-wheel drive system, a configuration available optionally on 420i and 420d models, while those who want a no-holds-bar 4 Series are treated to four M4 choices - the regular 425bhp, the 443bhp Competition Pack, the new 454bhp M4 Clubsport and the limited edition hardcore M4 GTS.

BMW 4 Series 2013-2020 First drives