BMW has refreshed the 4 Series range, including the Coupé, Convertible and the Gran Coupé. Easily distinguished by its new lightly smoked headlight clusters, the company has rolled out a number of enhancements that also extend to minor but influential adjustments beneath the skin.

Based on the underpinnings of the pre-facelift model, the 2017 line of the 4 Series basically employs the same running gear but has been handily revised to give off even more comfort, refinement and to sharpen their sporting outlook. Engines are largely carried over from the 2016 cars, but limited to 420i, 420d, 430i and a lone six-cylinder 440i. The diesel motor derivative isn’t obtainable in the topless model, but a frugal 420i is available.

Other changes to the range include a recalibrated steering for sharper feedback and quicker turns when negotiating urban streets. Even their suspensions have been tweaked for equilibrium between pillowy softness and sportier cornering ability. The result of all this groundwork is pronounced effervescence right down to the 420i models, which have never sparked excitement, but have been proven to be the most popular among buyers.

The range’s interiors are characterised chiefly by a redefined digital arrangement on the instrument cluster. It’s not an entirely new look and is borrowed from the previous-generation 5 and 7 Series. To the uninitiated, this may look like a tacky move, but it adds an undeniable class and it’s a good rival for the famed digital cockpit found in its A5 range nemesis. These changes also affect the BMW M4 Coupé and BMW M4 Convertible, as they also gain adaptive full-LED headlights, redesigned full-LED rear lamps and an update of the navigation system.

Is there a pronounced shift in how they drive? The short answer is yes. Certainly, the dynamic envelope, straight-line punch and cornering ability are superior to the outgoing models. They are particularly impressive in how they float on the road and the lack of cabin noise. Even the cabrio seems to hold it all together, even with the roof peeled off.

The Coupé naturally felt more athletic due to its tighter shape, while the Gran Coupé is made significantly more fluidic with a distinctly spirited texture, as it lugs its 3 Series Gran Turismo sensibilities around.  Meanwhile, the Convertible felt decidedly cushier, yet retains an amazing dynamism and alacrity to be hustled hard alongside its tauter versions.

Where the new range scores is in the wide array of options. I was bowled over by a decidedly masculine convertible in white paint, M sports kit and a fire engine-red interior. Mind you, it was a 420i derivative. The improved comfort, sharper performance and new digital display interface and interior retouching make the 4 Series a compelling buy in a viciously contested niche.

Pricing

4 Series Coupé: R603 200-R861 900

4 Series Gran Coupé: R603 200-R861 100

4 Series Cabriolet: R715 400-R995 100