2020 BMW 420i M Sport Coupe Review: To The 4

Design & Exterior

Once you get that into perspective, it’s easy to understand why BMW went with the big-nostril concept, or as one clever dick observer has said, they’re not kidneys anymore but lung grilles now. 

BMW 328 Mille Miglia with the racing version of the BMW 3.0 CSL behind

Whatever you think of them, there is at least a historical link: Many old BMWs have had tall grilles, but the ones BMW is most keen to link to are the 1970s 3.0 CSL (the ‘Batmobile’) and the 1936 328 Coupe. In more recent times, big nostrils aren’t even a novel concept for BMWs with vertically-expanding grilles have already landed on the X7 and 7 Series, and the furore on that has died down pretty quickly. 

Fun fact for grille pedants: While the 4 Series has what looks like an immense grille, according to BMW, the BMW X7 and 7 Series have larger grilles in terms of surface area.

Does anyone care that the X7 has a kidney grille bigger than a suitcase? No, we only care that it can fit seven people.

And remember, BMW courting controversy in car design isn’t anything new either. Recall the ‘infamous’ Bangle Butt of the 2001 E65 BMW 7 Series? No? See what I mean. And other brands ended up copying it, which as far as automotive design goes, is one way to show you’re doing it right – if not nosing ahead of the competition. 

In person the grilles don’t look as outrageous as they do in pictures, largely because they’re bisected by the numberplate. Insider secret: BMW couldn’t side-mount the plate because they would block sensors. 

They give the car a unique attitude that’s different from the almost default shark-like appearance of coupe-styled vehicles these days, the strakes on the bonnet further focusing the eye on the nose, making the car resemble a sort of futuristic cannon

From the rear the car’s just as good-looking as the 8 Series, the overall proportions are similar. If you read our news story, you’ll also know that the car is considerably longer, lower and wider than the 3 Series.

The swooping roofline flows nicely into strong shoulders, flat taillamps and a blacked-out diffuser at the bottom. In an era of coupe-bastards and SUV-mutants, this is a beautiful machine and more importantly, one that nobody will mistake for a 3 Series. 

Continue to page 3: Interior and Equipment

Page 1: Introduction
Page 2: Design and Exterior
Page 3: Interior and Equipment
Page 4: Driving Experience
Page 5: Pricing, Rivals, Conclusion

about the author

Derryn Wong
CarBuyer's chief editor has a keen interest in all things mechanical, technological, animal and mineral. He's particularly fascinated by eco-cars and cars which make no logical sense. An avid motorcyclist and photographer, he also enjoys cats. Follow him on Instagram @werryndong