Road Test: BMW 430d M Sport Coupe
Sector: Compact Executive Price: £40,245 Fuel: 56.5mpg CO2: 132g/km
Although the 184bhp 20d is more than enough for most company car drivers, the 430d Coupe could be one of the most desirable real-world user-chooser options on the market.
BMW has justifiably enjoyed good press and soaring sales with its EfficientDynamics economy-boosting technology. But that step up in competitiveness at the core of its fleet offering has dragged the rest of the range with it. Drivers who can tick the box for a larger engine, or who want to opt out without gaining crippling running costs, have really never had it so good.
The 430d features one of the few six-cylinder engines in the 3 and 4-Series line-up. It’s a twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre producing 258bhp and, in the M-Sport trim which has proved so popular in the UK, has the looks to go with its power output. Yet with the Luxury trim offering fuel economy of 57.6mpg and 129g/km CO2 emissions, it’s not far off the 420d with its efficiency-conscious automatic gearbox.
So it shapes up to be a very easy, practical car to live with. Ride quality, even on the M-Sport suspension and 19-inch wheels, is excellent and, even with ECO PRO mode turned off, it’ll average over 50mpg on the motorway when driven with a steady right foot. Rear seat passengers lose a little headroom for its lower roofline, but there’s plenty of legroom and ample boot space too.
But the selling point here is that it’s even more attractive as a car to take the long route home than the excellent 420d. In-gear acceleration is brutal, 62mph arrives in 5.5 seconds and it corners like a sports car, reassuring the driver through mechanical, perfectly-weighted steering. This is a machine you’ll always feel good driving.
The 430d is available with the Luxury and M-Sport trim levels, with a £630 price hike for the latter. It sits on larger wheels and wears an aggressive bodykit which has strong hints of the air vents on the M4, while adding more supportive seats and a three-spoke steering wheel almost identical to its full-fat sibling. A Sport Automatic gearbox is standard, but M-Sport versions come with a 3g/km lift in CO2 emissions as a result of the larger wheels. That’s a price British drivers tend to be willing to pay.
It also doesn’t face as stiff competition as the 3 Series. Mercedes-Benz is about to replace the C-Class Coupe and, though the A5 is still a compelling proposition as a performance diesel, these mandate quattro all-wheel drive and the car itself is just starting to show its age. Lexus could be viable threat with the RC Coupe, but the hybrid is still several months away.
So while the 420d is all the car most drivers could need, those who treat themselves to BMW’s iconic high-performance straight six will find every commute feels just that little bit more special.
Great to look at and even better to drive, the 430d is one of those rare cars which offers high performance without punishing on fuel economy or BiK. The only shame is that it can’t match the Luxury trim’s 129g/km CO2 emissions.