When you think of a sports car, it’s hard not to think of a BMW. They truly are some of the most engaging cars I’ve had the privilege of driving, but the latest model lineup of BMW includes a 4 series – some odd mix of a 6 series and a 3 series. As great as the car is to drive, it’s far from perfect, and that becomes especially apparent when you’re using it for a daily driver. So, should you buy a BMW 4 Series if you plan to use it daily?
Should You Buy a BMW 4 Series – 7 Things I Hate
If I had to pick one thing I despise most about the BMW 428i, it would be the suspension. It truly feels like the most unrefined suspension for a modern car. I’m sure most supercars have more firm suspension, but the problem with the 4 Series is that they should be able to be used daily. After all, it’s a $50,000 – not a $150,000 Italian exotic.
The suspension in the 4 Series is the biggest disappointment about the car, and it makes the entire experience unpleasant. The car has a Comfort mode, but I’m not convinced that button really does anything. The ride quality is poor when compared to the competing Mercedes and Audi models. It’s perfect for sporty driving, but it’s awful for living with daily.
iDrive/Connected Drive/BMW Infotainment
Whatever they’re calling it now, the iDrive system is a huge distraction to the driver, and you’d never be able to explain something simple to a passenger to have them set a destination or change the radio station preset. The infamous iDrive has many fans who claim it’s the best option available. However, I'm on the other side of that spectrum; I despise the infotainment system in BMWs. I much prefer a traditional touchscreen with a simple interface.
Trying to do simple things in iDrive takes far too long and too many steps. Earlier today I wanted to count how many buttons and options I had to select to show radio presets. After 7 screens, I gave up and turned the radio off. Luckily, that’s still a simple button… for now.
Synthesized Turbo Flutter & Engine Noise
The 428i offers an incredible inline 4 engine with plenty of power all through the power band; however, BMW decided that it would be a pleasant experience for the driver to listen to a synthetic engine and turbo noice while driving – even in Eco Pro.
I cannot explain just how obnoxious this feature is. The BMW 428i actually sounds pretty decent without the silly little synthetic engine sounds. When you’re driving sporty, it can be pretty cool to listen to the sounds as you shift and let off the accelerator. Unfortunately, when you’re driving through a city and waiting for a pedestrian to cross the street, the 4 Series still makes that noise, which makes you feel as if you’re revving the engine at the sweet old lady walking across the street.
I personally don’t think the synthetic engine noice was necessary, and I would love to come across an option somewhere in the abyss of iDrive where I could turn it off… *hint*
I understand it’s not a Toyota or Hyundai, but this was (at the time) the third cheapest BMW model you could buy (after the 1/2 and 3 Series). Unfortunately, this has the same maintenance costs as our previous BMW 750Li xDrive. Parts costs the same, and the repairs are just as frequent.
I don’t mind paying for the maintenance or repairs, but it would just make more sense next time to buy another 7 Series if you still have to pay that much for an oil change, broken electronics, or other repairs.
With the previous BMW 3 Series coupe, the seatbelt mechanism was built into the side of the seat to make reaching for your seatbelt easy. With the coupes, the pillars for the seatbelts are much further back, so car companies have to be creative with seatbelt placement. BMW decided to have an electronic mechanism, which I’m sure will break soon, that pushes the seatbelt forward.
Unfortunately, the seatbelt rarely ever catches, so you just get poked in the back with a cheap piece of plastic. It’s actually pretty uncomfortable, and on top of that, you still have to turn all the way around at an awkward angle to grab the seatbelt.
Another great feature of it is that it sometimes does not register that you’ve put your seatbelt on. Occasionally, after you’re buckled up, it retracts, and immediately pushes out again into the side of your back. It then continues to do that for 15 minutes or when you shut off the car again. Good thinkin’, Germany.
I realize this is rather petty to complain about, but when you deal with it 4 times a day at least, it becomes extremely annoying. I would much prefer the seatbelt to be built into the side of the seat.
The gearbox in the BMW 428i is fantastic for driving enthusiastically. The gear changes are smooth and unbelievably quick compared to competitors. However, when driving around town or driving on the highway, the gearbox can’t seem to make it’s mind up with which gear it wants to be in. Even on a flat road with no curves, the gearbox can’t pick a gear.
As great as the gearbox is, I’m not too sure it’s the right choice for the BMW 428i if you’re driving around town or on the highway.
Yes, it’s a two door coupe meant to be able to rip your head off in the corner. However, it’s also a daily driver for most owners, so having no place to put your phone or anything else you’re carrying is a bit frustrating. If you place your phone on the ledge next to the handle to close the door, it falls off and ALWAYS goes under the seat.
It truly shocks me that there are still cars being built for daily use with such poor storage options. I think there could be some innovation in that section of automotive design.
Overall, though, the BMW 428i from 2011 is actually a great car. Aside from some quirks, the car is actually okay for daily use; however, it’s not always the most convenient vehicle in the garage. If you’re going to buy one, buy it for weekend use, and you’ll love it for what it is. If you plan to use it daily and drive 40,000 in the first year, you’ll be disappointed.