2020 BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe vs. 2019 Kia Cadenza

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 Cadenza 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 Cadenza doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

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

Warranty

The 4 Series Gran Coupe’s corrosion warranty is 7 years and unlimited miles longer than the Cadenza’s (12/unlimited vs. 5/100,000).

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. Kia doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Cadenza.

Reliability

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 Cadenza’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 Cadenza isn’t in the top three in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Kia vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 7th in reliability, above the industry average. With 4 more problems per 100 vehicles, Kia is ranked 10th.

Engine

The 430i Gran Coupe’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 5 lbs.-ft. more torque (258 vs. 253) than the Cadenza’s 3.3 DOHC V6. The 440i Gran Coupe’s standard 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. produces 30 more horsepower (320 vs. 290) and 77 lbs.-ft. more torque (330 vs. 253) than the Cadenza’s 3.3 DOHC V6.

Fuel Economy and Range

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

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

Cadenza

FWD

3.3 DOHC V6

20 city/27 hwy

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

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the 4 Series Gran Coupe’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Cadenza doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

Brakes and Stopping

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

440i

Cadenza

Front Rotors

13.4 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

11.8 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 Cadenza are solid, not vented.

Tires and Wheels

The 4 Series Gran Coupe’s optional 255/35R19 rear tires provide better handling because they have a lower 35 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Cadenza Technology/Limited’s 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 Cadenza 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 Cadenza’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

Chassis

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

Cargo Capacity

The 4 Series Gran Coupe has a larger trunk with its rear seat up than the Cadenza (17 vs. 16 cubic feet).

The 4 Series Gran Coupe’s standard rear seats fold to accommodate long and bulky cargo. The Cadenza doesn’t offer folding rear seats, only a ski pass-through.

Servicing Ease

The engine in the 4 Series Gran Coupe is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the Cadenza. 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’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Cadenza’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

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 Cadenza can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

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 Cadenza’s standard 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 Cadenza doesn’t offer headlight washers.

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 Cadenza doesn’t offer cornering lights.

The 4 Series Gran Coupe has standard automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Cadenza has an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

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 Cadenza doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

The BMW 4 Series comes in coupe, convertible and four-door hatchback bodystyles; the Kia Cadenza 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 Cadenza is rated higher at a number “5” rate.

Recommendations

The 4 Series was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” in 2014. The Cadenza 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 Cadenza has never been an “All Star.”

The BMW 4 Series outsold the Kia Cadenza by almost seven to one during 2018.

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

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