Some models are better, others are more of the same

BMW has finally launched the next-gen, 2021 BMW 4 Series, and with it comes BMW’s new (and massively large) kidney grilles, a new sporty yet muscular appearance, and a revised interior that pushes the 4 Series into the next level of evolution. But, is that new, muscular and sporty look justified by what’s going on under the hood? Well, BMW has revealed almost the entire coupe lineup, save for the full-on M4, so let’s take a closer look at your engine and performance choices.

2021 BMW 4 Series Coupe In a Nutshell

2021 BMW 420i – The Entry Level Coupe

2021 BMW 4 Series Coupe Powertrain and Performance Explained Exterior
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If you’re reading from the U.S., you might just want to skip to the next section, as the 320i wasn’t offered for the last-generation, and there’s a good chance you won’t see it this time around either. And, you probably wouldn’t want it anyway. It’s powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder (the same engine found in the base-model 3 Series), and it’s good for a meager 184 horsepower and roughly 221 pound-feet of torque. Like every model that has been revealed for 2021 as of the time of this writing, shifting duties are handled by an eight-speed automatic transmission. BMW claims that this model can make the run to 62 mph in a respectable 7.5 seconds and will top out at 149 mph.

BMW 420i Coupe specifications
Config/No of cyls/valves In-line / 4 / 4
Engine technology BMW TwinPower Turbo technology: TwinScroll turbocharger, High Precision Injection, VALVETRONIC fully variable valve timing, Double-VANOS variable camshaft timing
Effective capacity cc 1998
Stroke/bore mm 94.6 / 82.0
Compression ratio :1 11.0
Output 184 HP @ 5,000-6,500 RPM
Torque 221 LB-FT @ 1,350 – 4,000 RPM
Acceleration 0–100 km/h 7.5 seconds
Top speed 240 km/h (149 mph)

2021 BMW 430i – The Entry-Level U.S. Coupe

2021 BMW 4 Series Coupe Powertrain and Performance Explained Exterior
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The 430i is considered a step up for those across the pond, but here in the United States, the 430i is the cheapest 4 Series you can get.

For 2021 it’s powered by the very same 2.0-liter four-banger than we mentioned before, but it’s tuned to deliver 258 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. Compared to the current model, that represents an improvement of 10 horsepower and, impressively, 37 pound-feet of torque.

2021 BMW 4 Series Coupe Powertrain and Performance Explained Exterior
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Shifting duties are handled by the same eight-speed Steptronic transmission, but the real treat is the 5.8-second sprint to 62 mph and the standard 155 mph top speed. This is also where things really differ as the 430i that you can buy right now was available with a six-speed manual, so you might want to think twice about trading off if you’re a fan of three pedals. And, in comparison to the outgoing 430i, you won’t really experience any improvement in sprint times or top speed. The current 430i can make the run to 62 mph in the same 5.8 seconds (according to BMW Germany), so despite the extra horsepower and torque, not a lot changes on the performance front.

2021 BMW 430i Coupe specifications
Config/No of cyls/valves In-line / 4 / 4
Engine technology BMW TwinPower Turbo technology: TwinScroll turbocharger, High Precision Injection, VALVETRONIC fully variable valve timing, Double-VANOS variable camshaft timing
Effective capacity cc 1998
Stroke/bore mm 90.0 / 84.0
Compression ratio :1 10.2
Output 258 HP @ 5,000-6,500 RPM
Torque 295 LB-FT @ 1,550 – 4,400 RPM
Acceleration 0–100 km/h 5.8 seconds
Top speed 250 km/h (155 mph)

2021 BMW M440i – The Next Best Thing To the M4

2021 BMW 4 Series Coupe Powertrain and Performance Explained Exterior
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If you’re itching to get in on the next-gen 4 Series, but don’t want to wait for the M4, you could opt for the M440i – the current range-topper for now.

It’s powered by a 3.0-liter inline-six that’s good for 374 horsepower and 368 pound-feet of torque.

It’s all shunted through that same eight-speed automatic (That’s right; no six-speed is available for this model, either). These figures represent an improvement of 54 horsepower and 38 pound-feet of torque over the current 440i coupe.

2021 BMW 4 Series Coupe Powertrain and Performance Explained Exterior
- image 909460

In terms of straight-line performance, the new M440i is a huge step forward. Where the current model made the sprint to 62 mph in 5.1 seconds, the new M440i will get you there in 4.5 seconds. Of course, it still tops out at 155 mph, but this is BMW we’re talking about; what else did you expect?

2021 BMW M440i Coupé specifications
Config/No of cyls/valves In-line / 6 / 4
Engine technology BMW TwinPower Turbo technology: TwinScroll turbocharger, High Precision Injection, VALVETRONIC fully variable valve timing, Double-VANOS variable camshaft timing
Effective capacity cc 2998
Stroke/bore mm 94.6 / 82.0
Compression ratio :1 10.2
Output 374 HP @ 5,500-6,500 RPM
Torque 368 LB-FT @ 1,900-5,000 RPM
Acceleration 0–100 km/h 4.5 seconds
Top speed 250 km/h (155 mph)

BMW 420d – The Very European, Entry-Level Diesel

2021 BMW 4 Series Coupe Powertrain and Performance Explained Exterior
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BMW doesn’t offer too many vehicles with a diesel engine here in the U.S., and that’s not going to change for 2021, but those of you in Europe will have a couple of good options to choose from.

The 420d is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that’s good for 190 horsepower (196 PS) and 295 pound-feet of torque (400 NM) for 2021.

Is that much of an improvement? No, not really. In fact, these figures represent just three extra ponies and no improvement in the torque department.

2021 BMW 4 Series Coupe Powertrain and Performance Explained Exterior
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But what about performance? The 2021 BMW 420d might not come with an impressive boost in power output, but it will get you to 62 mph (110 km/h) in 7.1 seconds – an improvement of 0.2-seconds compared to the outgoing model. Top speed remains at 240 km/h or 149 mph, and you’ll also have to deal with the eight-speed automatic as the only transmission option, at least for now, anyway.

2021 BMW 420d specifications
Config/No of cyls/valves In-line / 4 / 4
Engine technology BMW TwinPower Turbo technology: multi-stage turbocharging, common-rail direct injection with solenoid injectors (max. injection pressure: 2500 bar)
Effective capacity cc 1995
Stroke/bore mm 90.0 / 84.0
Compression ratio :1 16.5
Output 190 HP @ 4,000 RPM
Torque 295 LB-FT @ 1,750 – 2,500 RPM
Acceleration 0–100 km/h 7.1 seconds
Top speed 240 km/h (149 mph)

Will BMW Offer the 2021 4 Series With a Manual Transmission?

2021 BMW 4 Series Coupe Powertrain and Performance Explained Interior
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As of now, there’s no word on whether or not BMW plans to offer the six-speed manual transmission in the new 4 Series.

We’re genuinely hoping that it comes at a later time, as it should be able to carry over from the outgoing model practically unchanged, but the industry, as a whole, is shifting (no pun intended) away from three pedals. If you’re hoping to hold out for a manual transmission, I wouldn’t expect to see one until at least late-2022, if at all.

When does the 2021 BMW 4 Series Go on Sale and How Much Does it Cost?

2021 BMW 4 Series Coupe Powertrain and Performance Explained Exterior
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The 2021 BMW 4 Series is scheduled to arrive in showrooms by October 2019. As for pricing, BMW has remained silent, at least for now. We’re expecting to hear how models will be priced in all markets sometime closer to early-Fall, just a month or so before the 4 Series officially goes on sale.

Robert Moore
Editor-in-Chief and Automotive Expert - robert@topsped.com
Robert has been an auto enthusiast his entire life. He started working cars at a young age, learning the basics from his father in the home garage on the weekends. As time went on, Robert became more and more interested in cars and convinced his father to teach him how to drive when he was just 13 years old. Robert continued working on cars in his free time and learned as much as he could about engines, transmissions, and car electrical systems, something that only fed his curiosity more and eventually led him to earn a bachelors degree in automotive technology with a primary focus on engine performance and transmission rebuilding.  Read More
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