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2021 BMW 420i Coupé Review

2021 BMW 420i is a sleek, comfortable coupé with all the mod-cons.

The BMW 4 series caused quite a stir in the motoring universe when it was launched late last year. Not because of its credentials, but because of the massive, in-your-face kidney grille that the designers covered the front with.

Pictured is a 420i, the entry-level model to the 4 series coupes. The range starts from $70,900, followed by the 430i (which we will be testing shortly) and the range-topping M440i xDrive.

All 4-series Beemers are kitted out with an M-package as standard, while our tester also had a few other extras ticked before it went through the assembly line.

We’ll run through the full options list later on in the review, but in terms of the exterior, a Visibility Package adds metallic paintwork and BMW Laserlights, while an $800 High-gloss Shadow Pack sees black accents fitted around the vehicle.

  • Starting price: $70,990
  • Visibility pack: $2,860
  • High-gloss Shadow pack: $800
  • Final price of vehicle on test: $80,860.

What’s it like inside?

Starting at $70,990 and, of course, being a BMW, you would expect a quality interior. The 420i delivers on that expectation.

Getting inside the two-door coupé, you immediately notice the low-slung driving position, with the seats wrapped in faux “SensaTec” leather and alcantara. Electronic adjustment is available across both front seats, getting you set up quickly. As a driver, you can assign your settings to one of three memory buttons, a great inclusion for those partners who are at opposite ends of the height spectrum.

Futuristic seat belt tensioners also welcome you. These move the belt toward your shoulder, making it easier to grab. Once you’re buckled in, the belt moves back into place and to the right tension.

2021 BMW 420i Coupé seatbelt tensioner

Rounding out the standard features of the seating set-up are seat base extenders, for those who need more leg support.

Our 420i review vehicle was fitted with the Comfort Package, which adds $2,860 to the price of the car. With the Comfort Package, you get lumbar support, an electric tailgate, front heated seats and also BMW’s new digital key, which gives you the ability to unlock your car with your smartphone.

Touch points and the dash are covered in soft-touch material. Door tops, where the elbows rest, are deep too, making it more comfortable if you are an arm-up driver.

Behind the nice and chunky M-branded steering wheel is a 12.3-inch digital display that operates on BMW’s OS7.0 and can be configured to show all sorts of information like maps. It links up with a bright, clear Head-Up Display which also displays other information like speed limits and sat nav directions, not just your speed.

Media is accessed through a 10.25-inch touchscreen, or the standard rotary dial and menu shortcuts next to the gear selector. Along with DAB+ and in-built satellite navigation, the 420i is also equipped with wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The wireless smartphone mirroring is much more convenient, allowing you to use the wireless charging bay. However, during our time with the 420i, we found that it did drop out a couple of times per trip.

It did reconnect itself after a brief hiatus, though. When it does, and the music starts again, it is pumped out of 10-speakers throughout the cabin.

In the doors, you will find a decent amount of storage space for odds and ends, and while the centre bin isn’t the deepest, there is a good amount of storage space across the combination of areas.

A Visibility Package was also fitted to our 420i review vehicle, adding a sunroof and ambient lighting inside.

As is expected in a two-door coupé, leg room in the back is tight. Due to the sporty, sloping roofline, head room is the same story. Not a detractor at all, if you’re looking for this type of vehicle.

2021 BMW 420i Coupé Interior

BMW 420i boot space

The 420i, like the rest of the 4-series, gets 440-litres of storage space in the boot. With the Comfort Package fitted, it can be opened electronically. It is a deep recess with a bit of a lip, meaning you will need to lift cargo down into the boot, given its low ride height.

2021 BMW 420i Coupé boot

What’s the BMW 420i like to drive?

What the 420i lacks in grunt, it makes up for in driving dynamics.

Powered by a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder turbo petrol engine, it makes a modest 135kW and 300Nm. The 420i has the same eight-speed ZF gearbox as the Toyota Supra. This combination gets the power down well, but won’t get the adrenaline pumping, with 0-100km/h achieved in 7.5 seconds.

Steering is sharp and responsive. The 420i darts around corners, feeling planted at all times. Despite missing out on the adaptive dampers that are fitted to the 430i and M440i, the engineers at BMW have managed to configure the 420i quite comfortably, but it can be knocked about if you encounter imperfections when cornering.

A lack of Adaptive Cruise Control was noticeable in Sydney's stop-start traffic, and at this price point, I wonder if it should be included? But the other driving aids fitted to the 420i like Lane-Keep Assist, Parking Assistant and Speed Limit Detection worked like a charm. Speed Limit Detection, in particular, kept us out of trouble with roadworks and the many adjusted speed limits encountered during our time with it.

2021 BMW 420i Coupé review

The cabin is quiet and well-insulated too, as you would expect from the quality of the finish on this interior. There is very little road or wind noise, allowing you to make the most of the 10 speakers placed throughout the cabin.

Maneuverability around town isn’t an issue, with a range of front and rear parking sensors. Additionally, the 11.4 meter turning circle is the same as the Audi A5, but outdone by the Mercedes-Benz C Class Coupé, at 11.22 meters.

That aside, though, it also comes with a semi-automatic parking function and auto-dimming mirrors, but only on the driver’s side and rear-view mirror.

How safe is the 2021 BMW 420i?

The base model 420i (which we drove) gets a lot of safety technology and driving aids, despite missing out on adaptive cruise.

As standard, it comes fitted with:

  • Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), with Forward Collision Warning
  • Lane Departure Warning
  • Speed Sign Information
  • Blind-Spot Monitoring
  • Rear Cross-Traffic Alert
  • Auto-dimming mirrors (driver’s side and rear-view)
  • Semi-automatic parking

It is yet to be rated by ANCAP.

The verdict

The BMW 420i is a head turner with its new front-end and general coupé appearance. While it lacks power, the BMW ethos of being the “ultimate driving machine” lives on in terms of dynamics.

I’ll reserve judgement on the 420i for now until we have driven the remainder of the range – the 430i and M440i. Given the price jumps, though, of roughly $18,000 to the 430i and $47,000 to the M440i, if you don’t care about going fast, this is probably the 4-series you want.

Pssst! Want to read time-saving car reviews? Visit our car reviews section. If you already know what model you want, it's worth comparing car loan options, as well as car insurance, to see how much you could save.

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Alex Jeffs is the senior publisher for personal, car and business finance at Finder. He has been building websites since he was 14 years old and has tested cars everywhere from race tracks to Oodnadatta. See full bio

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