2021 BMW 430i Review
Sibling rivalry: Which is better – the BMW 430i Coupé or the entry-level 420i Coupé?
A couple of weeks back, we were able to jump in the entry-level variant to the 4 series range – the 420i Coupé. After spending some time with it, we concluded that it may well be the pick of the bunch given its price and inclusions.
We’ve now jumped in the 2021 430i Coupé, which is in the middle of the line-up, sitting below the M440i and the more well-known, fire-breathing M4.
Our test vehicle started life costing $88,990, but with two factory-fitted options, the price rose to $98,880.
Forgetting the M4 for a moment though – there are 3 options in the 4-series line-up with a price difference of $50,000.
Is this middle-of-the-road 2021 BMW 430i the perfect compromise?
- Visibility package: Tanzanite Blue metallic paint, glass sunroof, BMW Laserlight, ambient lighting - $7,900
- Comfort package: Lumbar support, automatic tailgate, seat heating for the driver and front passenger - $2,080
- M package fitted as standard
What’s it like inside?
Not much changes inside from the 420i we reviewed a few weeks back. The interior is well appointed, thoughtfully put together and covered in supple leather. You also get a digital key, so you can gain access to your 430i with your smartphone as well as the proximity key.
This time around, we sampled the leather “Vernasca” Oyster interior with decorative stitching throughout the cabin, which has a strong hint of premium. But, colour combinations are a personal thing, and remembering everyone's taste is different, it’s not the interior I’d have. I’d option the black, even though it's the Alcantara/SensaTec combination. To me, the darker interior is much cleaner and sharper.
My feelings aside, It is complemented by customisable ambient lighting around the cabin – part of the Visibility package fitted to the vehicle. That particular option also adds the large sunroof that stretches almost the length of the roof.
The seating is comfortable and both front seats are electronically adjustable with the driver’s seat getting a memory function. Both seats also cop electronic leg extensions for those taller individuals who need the base of the seat to provide extra support. Meanwhile, the Comfort Package added to our tester also brings heating to both of the front seats.
Behind the pleasing, thick, leather-wrapped steering wheel is a 12.3-inch digital cluster that can be configured to your liking – maps, media, trip computer and more can all be displayed or cycled through.
Above that, you also have a head-up display, which is adjustable via the infotainment system. When I first hopped in and set up my driving position, only half of the display was visible, but this was easily changed. You can also customise the information displayed.
Despite missing out on heated seats in the back, passengers (who can fit in the rear) get a third climate control zone. This makes things more agreeable back there, considering leg room may be compromised, depending on your height.
I couldn’t sit back there comfortably, but young kids or shorter adults should be able to fit, although possibly not for an extended period.
A 10.25-inch touchscreen sits in the centre of the dashboard and features BMW’s popular and easy-to-use iDrive system. The system can be operated using the touchscreen or through the rotary dial on the centre console. Not that you need a physical interface as it also features BMW’s voice assistant, which can do anything from adjusting the air conditioning to closing the sunroof’s sunshade.
You just need to say “Hey, BMW” and the appropriate command.
Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come installed too, and while this is convenient and works well 95% of the time, we found it did briefly drop out from time to time – just like we found in the 420i. There is also a wireless phone charging bay up front.
The 430i has a well-insulated cabin that doesn’t let much wind or road noise in and the iDrive system is wired into a 205W amplifier. This feeds sound to 10 speakers placed throughout the cabin.
2021 BMW 430i Boot
As mentioned, our 430i review vehicle was optioned with the Comfort package, which adds an electronically opening and closing boot lid. Underneath the tailgate, there are 440 litres of space (almost 100 litres more than the Mercedes C-Class coupé, but 40 litres less than the Audi A5 Coupé).
The rear seats fold down in a 40:20:40 configuration, so it can handle the odd fishing trip too.
What’s it like to drive?
The 2021 430i receives the same 2.0-litre turbo petrol power plant as the 420i below it; however, it has been tinkered with to produce an extra 55kW and 100Nm, taking the total output to 190kW of power and 400Nm of torque.
It is matched to the popular ZF eight-speed transmission, which does a great job of scaling up and down the gears.
The engine does feel noticeably more powerful than the entry-level model and can be switched between a range of drive modes including Sports, Comfort and Eco.
When pressing Sport, you then have the option of Sport Plus too. This mode makes the 430i as firm as it can be, taking the shackles off those extra 55kW.
BMW claims that the reworked engine in the 430i is good for 6.6 litres per 100kms on a combined cycle. At the end of our time with it, our combined fuel economy was 7.6 litres.
Perhaps we were making the most of that extra power more regularly than most, so BMW’s claimed figure isn’t outside the realms of possibility at all. A difference of 1.0L per 100km is certainly not unusual in real-world testing.
Unlike the 420i, the 430i is fitted with adaptive dampers that in theory should help elevate the ride and go some way to justifying the step-up in price. To be brutally honest, the 420i felt almost as comfortable. The difference is minimal.
Also unlike the entry-level model, you get adaptive cruise control in the 2021 430i. While it is a disappointing omission on the base model, it is good to see here. Other extras include a surround-view camera for those tighter situations as well as meatier brakes to restrain the extra power.
Being an “Ultimate Driving Machine”, impressive driving dynamics are a given and there are no disappointments in this area. The 430i is decently nimble, in part thanks to its sharp steering and a low-slung driving position.
How safe is the BMW 430i?
While the 430i hasn’t received an official ANCAP safety rating, it is a BMW and does come with a comprehensive safety suite. In terms of safety technology, the 2021 430i is fitted with the following:
- Autonomous emergency braking (AEB)
- Forward collision warning
- Blind-spot monitoring
- Auto-dimming mirrors (driver’s side and rear-view)
- Lane departure warning
- Speed sign recognition
- Rear-cross traffic alert
- Front and rear parking sensors
- Semi-automatic parking
BMW 430i ownership
One area that BMW lags behind its competition is the warranty on its vehicles. 4-series vehicles are covered by a 3-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty, whereas Mercedes-Benz offers up to 5 years of cover and Lexus provides a 4-year 100,000km warranty.
All 4-series coupés are also monitored by what the German brand has dubbed a CBS (Condition Based Servicing) system, which analyses how the vehicle is driven in order to determine servicing requirements.
Buyers can make a one-off payment for a servicing package in advance. According to BMW’s official website, this starts at $1,750 for the 4-series and is good for 5 years and 80,000kms.
It has head-turning looks, is an enjoyable, comfortable drive and is packed with tech.
In terms of the 4-series line-up, extra power and safety are the main drawcards for the 430i.
Despite this and even though every fibre of my body is screaming that more power is ALWAYS better – if you aren’t going to drive it like you stole it, the 420i is where I would spend my money.
For your comparison
Time: 0 - 100km/h
Fuel economy (combined)