It’s hard to keep up with BMW’s model range, with what seems like a constant avalanche of new products. Whether that be an all-new model or a life-cycle impulse, to use BMW’s fancy words, which basically means a nip and a tuck here and there, which is more commonly referred to as a facelift. It only seems like yesterday that the German firm ruffled die-hard BMW fans’ feathers by dropping the 3 Series badge from the Coupé and elevating it to 4 Series status.

Now almost four years on, it’s time for one of the firm’s mid-life updates, which translates into a range of exterior and interior changes to keep the model fresh. The revised front bumper is more muscular with new intakes, while the headlights are upgraded from Xenon to full-LED items on all versions. At the rear, the bumper has been updated, the exhaust pipes enlarged and new LED tail clusters deliver BMW’s latest lighting signature at night. Step into the interior and the centre stack has been revised, along with the air vent surrounds, and buyers have the option of new digital instruments and BMW’s sixth generation navigation system that utilises a tile-like arrangement. The icing on the cake is a new range of colours for the leather upholstery, a plush feature that comes as standard equipment on all versions of the 4 Series Coupé and Convertible.

But this update is more than just a series of visual changes, with new shock absorbers, thicker anti-roll bars and retuned software for the adaptive suspension. The anti-lock brakes and dynamic stability control systems have been re-calibrated to sharpen them up, and the steering settings have been revised to deliver an even more dynamic feel on the road. Our test car came fitted with the most popular engine in the 4 Series line-up, the 188bhp 2.0- litre turbodiesel unit with 188bhp on tap, mated to M Sport specification. xDrive four-wheel-drive is a relative newcomer to the UK BMW line-up, and our test car came with this specified alongside an eight-speed automatic transmission. And this is a great combination on challenging back roads, with quick acceleration off the line and excellent mid-range pull. The powerplant may be a little grumbly from cold, but soon settles down to become a distant sound, especially if you’ve got the radio on or chatting to passengers. There’s some road noise, too, but wind flutter has been usefully dialled out. The steering is responsive, nicely weighted and highly entertaining, with just the right amount of feedback transferred to the driver’s fingertips. Excellent body control and fluid handling is designed to plaster a smile across the face of the driver, and thanks to the xDrive four-wheel-drive system, you’re unlikely to run out of grip. Ride comfort, while certainly on the dynamic scale, manages to achieve that perfect balance between agility and absorption, especially on a long motorway journey.

Even though the centre console of the 4 Series is billed as new, it has a dated feel to it, and that’s perhaps because of the numbered shortcut buttons that feel like a throwback from 1990s radio presets. We’ve always loved BMW’s approach to its navigation systems, with a widescreen that is perfectly perched atop the dashboard. And the new Professional system is just as easy to use as its predecessors after a few moments familiarisation, and the wireless Apple CarPlay system removes the final hurdle for true smartphone harmony and compatibility. It’s surprising to still find a proper handbrake in the la4 Series, with electrical systems seemingly dominating the world of modern car interior design, but it works well and the argument that it takes up space on the console is decidedly flaky. The quality of materials used throughout the cabin are quite simply excellent, with plush, soft-touch plastics wherever you feel. The upper crust materials have a solid, built-to-last feel, all with a pleasingly reassuring weight to them. All of the controls are logically arranged, and there’s a super, sporty, low-slung driving position with seats that hug your frame nicely. Head and legroom is generous up front, but be warned that the two seats in the back are best reserved for younger members of the family, or if you must carry adults, keep the journey to a minimum. It’s tough finding sufficient leg space in the back if average height occupants are sat in the front. Oddment space is well catered for, however, with a large glovebox, generously proportioned door pockets and a covered tray positioned ahead of the joystick-like gear lever. There’s even some space underneath the central armrest. In terms of cargo carrying capacity, the 4 Series falls between its direct rivals, with more space than you’ll find in a C-Class Coupé, but not as much as in the latest A5. Owners of the BMW will be pleased to find a low loading sill, a wide opening and extra storage underneath the boot floor, adding further to the car’s versatility.