Before we talk about the all-new 2021 BMW 430i Coupe, let's start with the giant snout in the room. The new BMW grille has been the subject of intense debate. People either love it or hate it. Personally, we're more on the hate it side of the discussion, but even though we think the grille looks like a dog's nose, the new 430i is a great car.
There's something magic about 250 horsepower in a compact to mid-size platform. That's the point where you've got enough power to make a pass in a short passing lane, but not so much that you scare yourself at the end of that run. Many premium automakers shoot for that level of performance in their base models. There are certainly more powerful options available if that's what you want.
In BMW's case, the company has tuned up its 2.0-liter turbocharged engines to produce 255 horsepower and 294 pound-feet of torque, which is right in the sweet spot. Paired with an eight-speed transmission and rear-wheel-drive, the 430i delivers engaging and satisfying performance while giving you respectable fuel economy for a sports coupe.
BMW also made sure that the new 4-series offered suspension and braking to match the driveline performance. The 430i is smooth and comfortable while also giving you the tight, precise handling you expect from a modern BMW. Our test car came with many of the high-performance M-series goodies, like the M-Sport brakes and limited slip differential, and the variable sport steering and adaptive M suspension, which is what pushed the price to almost $60,000. The only thing missing is the more powerful engine from BMW's M4 performance model.
Inside, the 430i gives you the luxury and convenience you've come to love about BMW. The supple "Mocha Vernasca" leather upholstery covers heated sport seats and the heated steering wheel that comes as part of the Premium option package. When you look out the window, you'll see the configurable head-up display, also part of the Premium package.
The technology presentation in the interior includes a great audio system, and while BMW's interface is not our favorite, it only takes about a week to get your brain programmed to use it efficiently. The test car also had wireless device charging, which is fast becoming a must-have feature. BMW sells it as a standalone option for $500. Well worth the add-on, in our opinion. Standard safety and driver assist features on the 430i include an active driving assistant with blind spot detection, automatic high beams, and lane keeping assist.
One complaint we had with the BMW lane keeping system is that it's more than a little bit intrusive, especially on the narrow country roads we have around Portland. If a log truck is coming the other way and you get too far over to the side to give it room, the BMW will try to steer itself back to the center of the lane against your will. You can turn the lane keeping feature off with a button in the center of the dash, but doing so also turns off the other driver assistance features. However, BMW is hardly the only manufacturer with this issue.
The bottom line on the 2021 BMW 430i is that if you enjoy the BMW driving experience, you'll love this car. A two-door coupe is a stylish personal luxury vehicle, and BMW will be the first to tell you that they make cars to please drivers. The 430i certainly does that very well.
2021 BMW 430i Coupe
Base price: $45,600
Price as tested: $59,220
Type: Compact coupe
Engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder (255 hp, 294 lbs-ft)
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
EPA estimated mileage: 26/34
Overall length: 188 inches
Curb weight: 3,918 pounds
Final assembly: Dingolfing, Germany
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.