Aug
31
2021 BMW 430i xDrive Coupe

2021 BMW 430i xDrive Coupe in Portimao Blue Metallic (a $550 option)

2015 Audi Q52021 BMW 430i xDrive Coupe

Class: Premium Sporty/Performance Car

Miles driven: 265

Fuel used: 9.8 gallons

Real-world fuel economy: 27.0 mpg

CG Report Card
Room and ComfortB-
Power and PerformanceB+
Fit and FinishA-
Fuel EconomyB+
ValueC+
Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide's impressions of the entire model lineup.
Big & Tall Comfort
Big GuyB+
Tall GuyB-
Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. "Big" rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, "Tall" rating based on 6'6"-tall male tester.
Drivetrain
Engine Specs255-hp 2.0-liter
Engine TypeTurbo 4-cylinder
Transmission 8-speed automatic
Drive WheelsAWD

Driving mix: 40% city, 60% highway

EPA-estimated fuel economy: 24/33/27 (mpg city, highway, combined)

Fuel type: Premium gas recommended

Base price: $47,600 (not including $995 destination charge)

Options on test vehicle: Portimao Blue Metallic paint ($550), black leather w/ blue stitching ($1450), Dynamic Handling Package ($2450), M Sport Package ($3800), Premium Package ($2300), Adaptive M Suspension ($700), wireless charging ($500), Harman Kardon surround-sound audio ($875)

Price as tested: $61, 220

More 4-Series price and availability information

 

Quick Hits

The great: Confident power with surprisingly good fuel economy for a sporty luxury coupe; upscale interior

The good: Better-than-expected rear-seat space

The not so good: Driving personality isn’t quite as athletic/communicative as we’d hope for a BMW; polarizing front-end styling; options drive up bottom-line prices

 

John Biel

When does criticizing something by degrees here and degrees there add up to fully finding fault with it? How many accumulated quibbles and picked nits does it take tip the balance between simple observation and outright disappointment? The redesigned 2021 BMW 430i xDrive makes you ponder these questions.

None of the Consumer Guide editors who drove the Portimao Blue Metallic all-wheel-drive coupe entrusted to their care found it irredeemably bad. Most of the restyling on a body 5.2 inches longer than its predecessor is nice, even if the huge “twin-kidney” grille openings have elicited a healthy share of derision. Engine output has been increased—nobody ever complains about that—and technology features have been added to this denizen of CG’s premium sporty/performance class. The 430i coupe mixes sportiness with the practicality of useful rear-seat and trunk space, and it can be surprisingly respectful of a gallon of gasoline.

2021 BMW 430i xDrive Coupe

BMW’s 4-Series coupes and convertibles are redesigned for 2021 on the basic platform that their 3-Series sedan sibling adopted for 2019. The lineup consists of 4-cylinder 430i models and 6-cylinder M440i models, each with a choice of rear-wheel drive or “xDrive” all-wheel drive. Serious high-performance buyers can choose the M4.

At the wheel, however, this two-door car based off the 3-Series sedan architecture in use since 2019 lacks the finely honed steering and ride sensations that made BMWs the self-proclaimed “Ultimate Driving Machine.” Plus, it seems to take a lot of expense-larding add-ons to truly get to levels of performance and luxury that a buyer might expect from a compact-sized car that starts at $48,595 with delivery.

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BMW 4-Series

The 4-Series’s clean, sophisticated dashboard layout is shared with 3-Series models. The console houses the engine start/stop button, infotainment control interface, drive-mode selector buttons, and electronic parking brake switch.

One of the barbs that’s been directed at the 4-Series—particularly the closed body—is that BMW went out and designed itself a nice Ford Mustang. From some angles this pointed analogy is apt. The following comparison of manufacturer-supplied dimensions shows how that translates under the skin:

                                                     BMW 430i            Ford Mustang

                                                        coupe             EcoBoost coupe

Wheelbase (in.)                                112.2                          107.1

Total length (in.)                               187.9                          188.9

Width w/o mirrors (in.)                       72.9                            75.4

Headroom, ft/rr (in.)                      38.0/35.2                   37.6/34.8

Legroom, ft/rr (in.)                         41.8/34.5                   45.1/29.0

Shoulder room, ft/rr (in.)               55.1/51.0                   56.3/51.9

Trunk capacity (cu ft)                         12.0                            13.5

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The 430i is the entry point to the 4-Series, with M440i xDrive and M4 models above it. Unlike them, the 430 has a 4-cylinder engine, displacing two liters and turbocharged to deliver 255 horsepower at 5000-6500 rpm and 295 lb-ft of torque from 1550 to 4400 revs. That’s a pick-up of seven ponies from 2020 but 37 more lb-ft of twist that help launch the 430i xDrive to what BMW says is a 0-60-mph sprint in 5.3 seconds—0.2 faster than the rear-wheel-drive 430i that costs $2000 less. Working with an 8-speed automatic that is the sole transmission choice, the powerplant makes for lively driving, especially in highway cruising when quick trans kickdown produces instant action. Selecting “Sport” mode changes shift and throttle profiles and teases out a nice sound.

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2021 BMW 430i xDrive Coupe

There’s a respectable 12 cubic feet of cargo space in the 430i’s trunk.

The automatic stop/start fires back up a little rougher than we’d like but the BMW four has the tools to be fairly fuel efficient. This driver booked 26.7 mpg from a 72.1-mile test stint that included 58 percent city-style operation. That’s right up to the EPA combined-mileage projection of 27 mpg, which is bracketed by estimates of 24 mpg in city driving and 33 on the highway. Considering that it burns premium gas, owners certainly will welcome this kind of metabolism.

It’s the other things that go on while the 430i is frugally zipping along that conjure up complaints. Steering remains responsive, but BMWs used to let you sense every inch of pavement passing beneath their tires as they changed course. Now models like the one CG tested filter out too much of that experience. You suspect there’s still a road underneath, and you trust the car is doing its job at staying on it. Going to Sport mode adds a bit more restraint to the steering, just making it a little harder but no more tactile. Ride, too, seems less tuned to responding to the topography—long a Bimmer virtue—than to trying to ignore it. Among the test car’s $12,625 in options were an adaptive suspension, M Sport Package with variable sport steering, and Dynamic Handling Package with an M Sport limited-slip differential and larger brakes. Though not exactly linear in action, the bigger binders stop the car with authority.

The cabin is cushy when dressed up with extra-cost leather upholstery stitched in blue thread, and it’s roomy enough in front to ward off sport-coupe claustrophobia. The real surprise is that there’s space in the rear seat to fit a considerable slice of the adult population. There’s enough headroom for folks up to 5-feet-10.5 to sit upright (take it from a guy who’s that size), and enough legroom to make it worth their while to try. Other signs that they’re welcome back there are rear-seat controls for the tri-zone automatic climate control; soft-surface sidewall armrests; and storage options including net pouches on the backs of the front seats, cup holders in the pull-down center armrest, and bottle holders built into the side panels. Rear seats are split 60/40 and retract nearly flat with the trunk floor to expand cargo flexibility. Drivers will find fairly good sightlines.

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BMW 4-Series

The 430i’s turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine supplies excellent acceleration; it feels stronger than its 255-hp rating suggests. Nineteen-inch “M” wheels on performance tires are standard equipment.

However, not everything that makes this grand tourer grand is built in. It takes the $2300 Premium Package to pump in heated front seats and steering wheel, keyless entry, ambient lighting, a head-up display, and the configurable  “Live Cockpit Pro” virtual instrument cluster. Wireless charging for smartphones commands another $500, and surround-sound audio by Harman Kardon sells for $875. Infotainment (including standard navigation) rests with iDrive 7.0, one of the remotely controlled systems that luxury brands love to death. As it stands, BMW’s is less complicated than some for doing the things you’ll ask of it most often, but there are still plenty of menus to plumb for those who get their kicks that way. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity are standard, as are frontal-collision warning and emergency braking, blind-spot detection, lane-departure warning, and speed-limit monitoring.

Do we utterly dislike the 430i xDrive? Absolutely not. Then do we love this BMW coupe? We’ll have to get back to you on that. . . .

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2021 BMW 430i xDrive Coupe

The redesigned BMW 430i has a suitably sporting powerplant and the upscale Euro ambiance expected of a BMW, but some longtime fans of the brand may find it lacks the lithe, communicative feel of of previous BMW coupes and sedans.

 

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2021 BMW 430i xDrive Coupe Gallery

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