2020 BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe vs. 2019 Subaru Legacy

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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 Legacy only offers a rear monitor.

Both the 4 Series Gran Coupe and the Legacy have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras and available all wheel drive.

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 Legacy’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 7 years longer than the Legacy’s (12 vs. 5 years).

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. Subaru doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Legacy.

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

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that BMW vehicles are better in initial quality than Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 11th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 28 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 28th, below the industry average.

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 Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 7th in reliability, above the industry average. With 14 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 14th.

Engine

The 430i Gran Coupe’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 73 more horsepower (248 vs. 175) and 84 lbs.-ft. more torque (258 vs. 174) than the Legacy 2.5i’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. The 430i Gran Coupe’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 11 lbs.-ft. more torque (258 vs. 247) than the Legacy 3.6R Limited’s standard 3.6 DOHC 6 cyl. The 440i Gran Coupe’s standard 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. produces 64 more horsepower (320 vs. 256) and 83 lbs.-ft. more torque (330 vs. 247) than the Legacy 3.6R Limited’s standard 3.6 DOHC 6 cyl.

As tested in Car and Driver the 430i Gran Coupe is faster than the Subaru Legacy:

4 Series

Legacy 2.5i

Legacy 3.6R

Zero to 30 MPH

2 sec

3.4 sec

3 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

5.7 sec

8.8 sec

7.1 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

14.9 sec

24.5 sec

17.7 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6.8 sec

9.1 sec

7.3 sec

Passing 30 to 50 MPH

3.6 sec

4.3 sec

3.6 sec

Passing 50 to 70 MPH

4.3 sec

5.9 sec

4.4 sec

Quarter Mile

14.3 sec

16.9 sec

15.5 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

98 MPH

85 MPH

94 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the 430i Gran Coupe xDrive gets better fuel mileage than the Legacy 3.6R Limited (21 city/31 hwy vs. 20 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 Legacy 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 Legacy doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the 4 Series Gran Coupe’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Legacy:

430i

440i

Legacy 2.5i

Legacy 3.6R

Front Rotors

12.3 inches

13.4 inches

11.6 inches

12.4 inches

Rear Rotors

11.8 inches

13 inches

11.8 inches

11.8 inches

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

4 Series

Legacy

70 to 0 MPH

162 feet

179 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 Legacy 2.5i/2.5i Premium’s standard 55 series tires. The 4 Series Gran Coupe’s optional 225/40R19 front and 255/35R19 rear tires have a lower 40 series front and 35 series rear profile than the Legacy Sport/Limited’s 50 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the 4 Series Gran Coupe has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the Legacy 2.5i/2.5i Premium. The 4 Series Gran Coupe’s optional 19-inch wheels are larger than the 18-inch wheels on the Legacy Sport/Limited.

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 Legacy doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

The 4 Series Gran Coupe has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Legacy’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

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 Legacy’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the 4 Series Gran Coupe’s wheelbase is 2.3 inches longer than on the Legacy (110.6 inches vs. 108.3 inches).

The 4 Series Gran Coupe’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (50.1% to 49.9%) than the Legacy’s (58.9% to 41.1%). This gives the 4 Series Gran Coupe more stable handling and braking.

The 430i Gran Coupe handles at .89 G’s, while the Legacy 3.6R Limited pulls only .79 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

Chassis

The 4 Series Gran Coupe is 6.4 inches shorter than the Legacy, 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 Legacy 3.6R Limited:

4 Series

Legacy

At idle

40 dB

44 dB

Full-Throttle

73 dB

74 dB

70 MPH Cruising

65 dB

69 dB

Cargo Capacity

The 4 Series Gran Coupe has a larger trunk with its rear seat up than the Legacy (17 vs. 15 cubic feet).

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 Legacy doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening trunk.

Servicing Ease

The 4 Series Gran Coupe has a maintenance free battery for long life without checking the battery’s water level. The Legacy doesn’t have a maintenance free battery, so the water level in the battery’s cells must be checked often to prevent damage.

A Condition-Based Service Display is standard on the 4 Series Gran Coupe to save the owner time and money by calculating maintenance intervals for oil changes, spark plug replacement and brake pad replacement, vehicle inspection based on actual driving conditions. This takes the guesswork out of keeping your vehicle in top condition and helps it last longer. Subaru doesn’t offer a maintenance reminder on the Legacy.

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 Legacy doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The power windows standard on both the 4 Series Gran Coupe and the Legacy have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the 4 Series Gran Coupe is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Legacy prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

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 Legacy’s standard passenger windows don’t open or close automatically. With the Legacy Premium//Limited’s optional power windows, only the front windows open or 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 Legacy 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 Legacy’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 Legacy doesn’t offer headlight washers.

A power rear sunshade is optional in the 4 Series Gran Coupe to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The Legacy 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. Subaru only offers heated mirrors on the Legacy Premium/Sport/Limited.

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 Legacy’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

On extremely cold winter days, the 4 Series Gran Coupe’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The Legacy doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

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 Legacy Premium/Sport/Limited.

Both the 4 Series Gran Coupe and the Legacy offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the 4 Series Gran Coupe has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Legacy Base doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

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 Legacy doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

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

The 4 Series Gran Coupe is available in both rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive configurations. The Legacy doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the 4 Series Gran Coupe is less expensive to operate than the Legacy because it costs $246 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost less on the 4 Series Gran Coupe than the Legacy, including $154 less for a fuel pump.

Recommendations

The 4 Series was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” in 2014. The Legacy 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 Legacy hasn’t been picked since 2006.

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

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