Updated M4 Coupe heads BMW model upgrades | Top Gear
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Updated M4 Coupe heads BMW model upgrades

Refreshed M car heads up BMW's changes to 4, 5, 6 and 7 Series. Spot the difference

Published: 17 Jan 2017

So, what you’re looking at is a brand-new model. We promise. Well, BMW says it’s new, anyway, so let’s put on our anoraks and find out what’s changed.

So, what exactly is new in this year’s 4 Series? Ah. Yes. Well, there are new LED headlights and taillights, as well as a “large intake with eye-catching bars”, which probably refers to the little moustache-like winglets that give the front end a bit of a Hercule Poirot effect, especially when teamed with headlights that BMW says have a “characteristic ‘eyebrow’ design”.

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The biggest real change comes from some suspension fettling, with dampers that BMW says are better, as well as an upgraded steering setup. That’s all pretty nebulous, so we’ll reserve judgement until we get a chance to test it out on the road.

Moving inside the standard new BMW 4 Series, there are some new leather choices, which is lovely, as well as new… erm, air vent surrounds.

There are also new (admittedly optional) ways to connect, navigate, display and generally do all the things that we’ve always felt are sundry to actual driving, but have turned out to be absolute lifesavers when trying to navigate home on a cold winter’s night from the intersection of no and where.

For all you badge-worshippers out there, BMW has updated to what different models in the 4 Series range are actually called. To wit, all coupes and convertibles now start off as a ‘Sport’ model, with the ‘M Sport’ package available as an option on the smaller-engined models and standard on anything beginning with ‘430’ or higher. 

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The Gran Coupe starts off in SE spec for the 420 petrol and diesel, then it runs up through Sport and M Sport as per its two-door brothers. 

BMW says the Gran Coupe makes up 50 per cent of its 4 Series sales, which is thoroughly unsurprising, given the way it looks. Yes, yes… there’s always the joke about the four-door version of the two-door version of the four-door car, but we’ve heard it enough now, and, as Morissey once sang, that joke isn’t funny anymore. 

The M4 gets the same upgrades – many of which are standard, as befits a top-spec model – as well as the option of forged 20in wheels that come as part of the Competition Package. Those with a penchant for dropping good money on bad ideas can spend £3,000 on some carbon-fibre trimmings, a further £400 on carbon-fibre door mirrors, and £850 for some more bits of the matériel du jour in the cabin. 

Up in the 5 Series, there’s a brand-new engine choice, which BMW says “will offer the lowest fuel consumption and emission levels” in its segment. The frugality is down to a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder diesel BMW says will do more than 72mpg, even though it’s good for 190bhp and 295lb ft, and a zero to 62 dash of 7.5 seconds. It’s also likely to be pretty clean, with particulate filters and selective catalytic reduction (read: a tank of urea that scrubs the icky stuff out of the diesel fumes) on hand to help make London air… well, less London-ish. 

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The 6 Series is less well-off in terms of upgrades and new kit. Suffice to say that there’s new paint, new wheels and some optional carbon fibre. 

Moving on to the 7 Series, and the focus is driver assistance. With the optional Driving Assistant Plus package, includes cross-traffic alerts, which is fairly standard fare, and one feature that really isn’t. So, let’s say you’re barreling along the motorway at 95mph. All of a sudden, there’s an errant Skoda doing 20 in the passing lane. If BMW’s system thinks it’s safe to do so, it’ll swerve into the other lane for you, leaving you free to hurl abuse at your leisure. Also, if you were to absentmindedly go the wrong way down a slip road or somehow enter a roundabout backwards (because we’ve all been there, right?) it’ll “intervene”, which sounds embarrassing. Probably beats a head-on collision, mind. 

So, that’s the wrap-up of everything new in BMW’s world. Exciting times, indeed.

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