LESS is more in the case of BMW's 4 Series.
While based on the 3 Series, and it used to wear the "3” nomenclature until a few years ago, this 430i costs $9000 more than the sedan equivalent despite having two less doors.
Yet somehow the looks and performance manage to justify the extra investment.
The sedan remains one of our favourite drives, yet the two-door derivative is next level sensory excitement.
Receiving a minor facelift in June, the 430i comes standard with some go-fast bits from the M Sport garage, priced from $79,900 plus on-roads.
The 4 Series range includes the coupe, a hardtop convertible and a four-door called the Gran Coupe.
Sitting between the entry 420i and the insane M4, solid basic equipment means there is little need to bother with optional extras.
Resting on 19-inch alloys and coming with the M Sport Package that includes a body kit, gloss black air breathers and grille, along with "M” designation door sills and a leather covered sports steering wheel, it also comes Harman Kardon surround sound system that's equipped with full smartphone connectivity, along with an eight-inch screen with satnav.
Capped price servicing, or what BMW calls a "service inclusive” package, is available.
There are "basic” and "plus” levels, and prices vary between $1440 to $3800 which cover five years or 80,000km.
Go for the more expensive package and you get new front and rear pads and discs, along with wiper blades and a new clutch at the servicing intervals. Servicing is condition based, but expect annual or about 15,000km.
The packages provide extra peace of mind, and it's often good to bundle them into the purchase to avoid maintenance cost shock down the track.
Sitting lower than the sedan - it has a tighter, stronger body, wider track, slightly longer wheelbase and lower centre of gravity - the coupe is a little weapon.
The turbocharged four-cylinder gets things moving with unbridled enthusiasm. With a 0-100km/h sprint time of less than six seconds, it's quick without giving you whiplash.
Exercise your right ankle off the line and the fiery response shows its no slouch, but things get even better when the going gets twisty.
The little coupe embraces the steering wheel sawing in alternate directions, and it dances around the bends with sublime precision.
It's not as raw as the ballistic $139,900 M4, the 430i is more sporting luxury than hardcore.
Sitting low, the automatic strut hands front passengers the seat belt to save dislocating shoulders, and the back seats are suitable for smaller adults ... they just need some flexibility to get past the folded front chairs.
Operationally everything is straight forward, BMW hasn't changed a great deal in recent years. The smartphone mirroring Apple CarPlay is a $479 option (sorry Android users, nothing available for you), and a brilliant feature is the auto connection which means you don't need to be plugged into the USB.
Basic gear includes the standard dynamic stability control, traction control, anti-lock brakes and cornering brake control, while it also comes with the useful head-up display which projects your speed onto the windscreen, lane departure and pedestrian warnings, surround view cameras, front and rear parking sensors as well as radar cruise control.
There is also a camera-based speed limit detection function which provides constant advice as to restriction zones.
Great fun to drive and you can really sling it into a bend although getting inside can take some work as the large doors feel heavy.
It's a good drive without being great...we do miss the straight sixes of old.
The BMW 420i is an entrees to the full-course M2, which really is a brilliant
MERCEDES-BENZ C300 $83,900 (plus on-roads)
An equally adept coupe with good looks and and an upmarket interior.
LEXUS RC200T F SPORT $73,891 (plus on-roads)
Improved equipment list, but not quite as fun to drive as the German rivals.
AUDI A5 TFSI QUATTRO $81,500
Good looks and great technology, although lacks some pizzazz in the performance department.
INFINITI Q60 SPORT PREMIUM $70,900 (plus on-roads)
Doesn't quite have the poise, but a good looker with strong specification levels.
AT A GLANCE
PRICE $82,900 plus on roads.
ENGINE 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder 185kW/350Nm.
TRANSMISSION Eight-speed automatic, RWD.
THIRST 5.8 litres/100km (combined average).
SPARE None; run-flats
0-100KM/H 5.9 seconds
SERVICING AND WARRANTY 3 years/unlimited km, $1440-$3800 over 5 years/80,000km (condition based)
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