2020 BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe vs. 2019 Chevrolet Impala

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The 4 Series Gran Coupe has standard Active Headrests, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Headrests system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Impala doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The 4 Series Gran Coupe offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Impala doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

The 4 Series Gran Coupe offers an optional Side and Top View Cameras to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Impala only offers a rear monitor and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the front or sides.

Both the 4 Series Gran Coupe and the Impala have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights and rearview cameras.

Warranty

The 4 Series Gran Coupe comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Impala’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

The 4 Series Gran Coupe’s corrosion warranty is 6 years and unlimited miles longer than the Impala’s (12/unlimited vs. 6/100,000).

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the 4 Series Gran Coupe for 3 years and 36,000 miles. BMW will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Chevrolet only pays for the first scheduled maintenance visit on the Impala.

Reliability

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the 4 Series Gran Coupe has a standard 170-amp alternator. The Impala’s 150-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

The battery on the 4 Series Gran Coupe is in the trunk, which protects it from hot underhood temperatures that can degrade battery life. By keeping the 4 Series Gran Coupe’s battery 20 to 30 degrees cooler, its life is increased by years. The Impala’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the 4 Series Gran Coupe first among compact premium cars in their 2018 Initial Quality Study. The Impala isn’t in the top three in its category.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Chevrolet vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks BMW 15 places higher in reliability than Chevrolet.

Engine

The 430i Gran Coupe’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 51 more horsepower (248 vs. 197) and 67 lbs.-ft. more torque (258 vs. 191) than the Impala’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. The 440i Gran Coupe’s standard 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. produces 15 more horsepower (320 vs. 305) and 66 lbs.-ft. more torque (330 vs. 264) than the Impala’s optional 3.6 DOHC V6.

As tested in Car and Driver the 430i Gran Coupe is faster than the Chevrolet Impala:

4 Series

Impala 4 cyl.

Impala V6

Zero to 60 MPH

5.7 sec

8.7 sec

6 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

14.9 sec

24.5 sec

15.5 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6.8 sec

9 sec

6.2 sec

Quarter Mile

14.3 sec

16.8 sec

14.8 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

98 MPH

85 MPH

97 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the 4 Series Gran Coupe gets better fuel mileage than the Impala:

MPG

4 Series Gran Coupe

RWD

430i 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

23 city/34 hwy

440i 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.

22 city/30 hwy

AWD

430i 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

21 city/31 hwy

440i 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.

22 city/30 hwy

Impala

FWD

2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

22 city/29 hwy

3.5 SOHC V6

19 city/28 hwy

Flex-Fuel 3.5 SOHC V6

18 city/28 hwy

Regenerative brakes improve the 4 Series Gran Coupe’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Impala doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

Regardless of its engine, the 4 Series Gran Coupe’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) Chevrolet only offers an automatic engine start/stop system on the Impala 4 cyl.

Transmission

An eight-speed automatic is standard on the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the Impala.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the 440i Gran Coupe’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the Impala:

440i

Impala

Front Rotors

13.4 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

12.4 inches

The 4 Series Gran Coupe’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Impala are solid, not vented.

The 4 Series Gran Coupe stops much shorter than the Impala:

4 Series

Impala

70 to 0 MPH

162 feet

178 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

The 4 Series Gran Coupe’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Impala’s standard 50 series tires. The 4 Series Gran Coupe’s optional 255/35R19 rear tires have a lower 35 series profile than the Impala Premier’s optional 40 series tires.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires standard on the 4 Series Gran Coupe can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The Impala doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

The 4 Series Gran Coupe offers an available driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads. The Impala’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The 4 Series Gran Coupe’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (50.1% to 49.9%) than the Impala’s (59.5% to 40.5%). This gives the 4 Series Gran Coupe more stable handling and braking.

The 430i Gran Coupe handles at .89 G’s, while the Impala LT pulls only .82 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the 4 Series Gran Coupe’s turning circle is 1.7 feet tighter than the Impala’s (37.1 feet vs. 38.8 feet). The 4 Series Gran Coupe xDrive’s turning circle is .1 feet tighter than the Impala’s (38.7 feet vs. 38.8 feet).

Chassis

The 4 Series Gran Coupe is 1 foot, 6.6 inches shorter than the Impala, making the 4 Series Gran Coupe easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the 430i Gran Coupe xDrive is quieter than the Impala LT:

4 Series

Impala

Full-Throttle

73 dB

77 dB

70 MPH Cruising

65 dB

69 dB

Cargo Capacity

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the 4 Series Gran Coupe’s power liftgate can be opened or closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Impala doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening trunk.

Servicing Ease

The engine in the 4 Series Gran Coupe is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the Impala. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because there are no rear spark plugs and the accessory belts are in front.

Ergonomics

The 4 Series Gran Coupe offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Impala doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The 4 Series Gran Coupe’s front and rear power windows all open or close with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The Impala’s passenger windows don’t close automatically.

If the windows are left open on the 4 Series Gran Coupe the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Impala can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The 4 Series Gran Coupe has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The Impala doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

The 4 Series Gran Coupe’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Impala’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The 4 Series Gran Coupe offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Impala doesn’t offer headlight washers.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the 4 Series Gran Coupe detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Impala doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the 4 Series Gran Coupe offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Impala doesn’t offer cornering lights.

A power rear sunshade is optional in the 4 Series Gran Coupe to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The Impala doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.

The 4 Series Gran Coupe’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Chevrolet only offers heated mirrors on the Impala LT/Premier.

When the 4 Series Gran Coupe is put in reverse, the passenger rearview mirror tilts from its original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirror into its original position. The Impala’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

Both the 4 Series Gran Coupe and the Impala offer available heated front seats. The 4 Series Gran Coupe also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Impala.

The 4 Series Gran Coupe has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning is only available on the Impala LT/Premier.

The 4 Series Gran Coupe’s optional Parking Assistant can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Impala doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

The BMW 4 Series comes in coupe, convertible and four-door hatchback bodystyles; the Chevrolet Impala isn’t available as a coupe or convertible.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the 4 Series Gran Coupe owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the 4 Series Gran Coupe with a number “1” insurance rate while the Impala is rated higher at a number “3” rate.

The 4 Series Gran Coupe will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the 4 Series Gran Coupe will retain 47.49% to 50.4% of its original price after five years, while the Impala only retains 39.29% to 41.42%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the 4 Series Gran Coupe is less expensive to operate than the Impala because it costs $310 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the 4 Series Gran Coupe than the Impala, including $230 less for a fuel pump.

Recommendations

The 4 Series was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” in 2014. The Impala has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

The 4 Series was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” in 2014. The Impala has never been an “All Star.”

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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