The four-wheel drive set-up does take the edge off the handling a touch alongside rear-wheel-drive 4 or 3 Series models. That's not to say that the front end doesn't feel satisfyingly pointy, but the xDrive 4 Series does feel heavier in general and more inclined to understeer than the rear-wheel-drive equivalent.
The steering responses feel a bit inconsistent, and some might wish it had a bit more bite around the dead-ahead even in the heavier Sport mode. You also get a fair amount of kick-back, but those are the worst of this car's sins. By any standard, it makes for a really quite epic combination of leggy, relaxing cruiser and monstrously rapid and precise B-road weapon.
Firstly, that powertrain. Blimey, yes, that powertrain. We know from its use in other BMW models that it's got an embarrassment of torque that you can wallow in happily whether you're about town or going for a seven-tenths strop, all aided by the smooth-shifting, eight-speed automatic gearbox.
It even steps up to the mark if you want to really stretch it out, with sharp responses to the (slightly too small) steering-wheel paddles, and an engine that's happier to be revved out than most oil-burners.
The xDrive rear-biased, active four-wheel drive system has its advantages, too. Sure, it dulls turn-in a bit, but of course it also delivers great traction off the line and stoic consistency to its responses even in poor conditions.
Given how popular xDrive is in BMW's core models, it's clear that many people will cheerfully give up a bit of handling zing and a few thousand quid if it means more traction and a lower chance of trouser-change moments, whether in dodgy conditions or not.
If you do really want rear-wheel drive, then you'll have to settle for the 255bhp version of this engine in the 30d model, although that's still going to be no slouch in the performance department.
Ride comfort is generally good. Bigger potholes can be quite jarring, but most of the time the ride is settled, and together with great directional stability, this car makes for a brilliantly relaxing long-distance cruiser. Our car came on winter tyres. They didn't do too much for refinement, with a fair bit of road roar creeping into the cabin.
We're familiar with the 4 Series interior and all its pros and cons. That hatchback boot is much more useful than that of a 3 Series saloon, if a bit less ideal than a Touring, and most adults will be fine in the back, although headroom is a bit tight thanks to the swooping roof.