Now that the BMW 2 Series is here, enthusiasts seem to have turned a blind eye to the 4 Series. While a good car, it hasn’t quite lived up to the promise of being a 3 Series Coupe replacement. If that’s what you want, buy a 2 Series. However, that doesn’t mean the 4 Series is a bad car or one that can be fun. Car and Driver recently tested the BMW 430i Coupe with a six-speed manual to find out if it can still be an entertaining driver’s car.

Their Snapper Rocks Blue BMW 430i certainly looked the part, thanks to its flamboyant paint and M Sport package. Also, having a proper manual transmission helped. However, the actual results ended up being a bit of a mixed bag for C&D.

Under the hood, the BMW 430i packs a 2.0 liter turbocharged four-cylinder, which makes 248 hp and 258 lb-ft. When paired with its aforementioned six-speed stick, it can scoot to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds. While that’s not exactly fast, it’s enough to be fun and its performance is never something to complain about. In fact, C&D claimed “Strong four-cylinder engine” as part of the 430i’s “Highs”.

So the BMW 430i has the performance of a sports car as well. Where the 430i starts to fall down, though, is when the road gets twisty. Its chassis is well-balanced and capable, allowing you to tackle corners with ease. The problem is that there’s no sense of enjoyment, connection or feedback. Its steering is overly heavy and vague (although I personally thing 4 Series’ steering is actually too light and vague). So it has the capability, just not the enthusiasm.

Car & Driver came to the conclusion that, rather than be the BMW 3 Series Coupe replacement we had all hoped it would be before it debuted, the BMW 4 Series is actually a small grand tourer. It’s comfortable, quiet, stable and capable of blasting down highways at triple-digit speeds, for hours on end, with ease. Throw in the occasional corner here and there and it’s fine. But ask it to be a canyon carving sports car and it will comply just not happily.

If you want a sports car that can get to 60 mph in under 6 seconds while also being fun to drive and have a manual transmission, buy a 2 Series. If you’re not a badge snob and want to save some money, get the Volkswagen GTI.

[Source: Car & Driver]