Will the New Mustang Be a Serious BMW 4-Series Coupe Competitor?

Who is copying who? I recently looked over a BMW 4-Series coupe at our local dealer. They’re pretty, well-designed sporty coupes. But from some angles, the Bimmer looks just like the newly updated 2024 Ford Mustang and has features that make it a supreme Ford Mustang alternative. Or is that the other way around?

Most would never cross-shop these two premium sporty coupes, but for 2024, so much is so similar, it’s hard not to put these two two-doors in the same box. Well, if you ignore the prices.  

What is so similar between the BMW 430i and the Ford Mustang?

From many angles, the BMW 4-Series couple looks like a Ford Mustang.
2023 BMW 4 Series Coupe

We don’t know much about the specifics of the 2024 Ford Mustang GT, as Ford has not released every detail. But, we do know that it’s going upscale with higher-quality interior design and materials but keeps the big motors that have made the car a success for 60 years.

It looks like BMW copied Ford’s design brief with the 4-Series. It, too, can be had with a small, efficient, turbocharged motor or big, powerful, engines that make more horsepower than most of us know what to do with. Both seat four, though the back seats are cramped. Both look the part, especially in the sport M440i or Mustang GT trim levels that add bigger wheels, bigger exhausts, and lots of sporting touches.

The 4-Series is a truncated 3-Series

A 2024 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Premium cruises a park road.
2024 Ford Mustang EcoBoost | Ford

In many ways, the 4 is just a 3-Series sedan, but with two doors lopped off and a cramped rear seat. The dash, seats, and interior of a 4 is hard to differentiate from a 3. At least in the front. The back seat and trunk are a bit smaller in the name of sportiness.

In the old days, we would have called the Mustang a 2+2 for its two full-sized seats in front and two bucket seats in the rear. We don’t yet know all the specifics on the 2024 Mustang’s interior volume, but the trunk should hold two golf bags, according to Ford.

The interiors look surprisingly similar

Forget envelope-sized nav screens in these two cars. Both the BMW and the 2024 Mustang have fully immersive screens that surround the driver. Previous (as in the current 2023 version) Mustang has a screen that, while large, has to be supplemented with a gauge-cluster screen to show you all of the information you need. We won’t be surprised if more cars add wrap-around screens like these two in the future.

They both come as a coupe or a convertible

BMW 4-Series convertible

The Mustang and 4-Series also seem to go after one specific type of buyer; the one who wants top-down fun. Since it’s inception in 1964, the convertible Mustang always garnered the most attention. The 4-Series doesn’t want to be left out on the fun, however you pay a steep premium for it. It starts at $57,200 or $68,550 for the M440i.

Yes, the M440i is quick, and and so is the Mustang GT

A bright red Ford Mustang GT Convertible shows off its drop top by the coast.
A new Ford Mustang Convertible | Ford

The base BMW 430i has just 255 horsepower from a turbocharged four-cylinder. While the turbo-four makes quick work in a smaller 230i, the extra weight of the 4 slows it down somewhat. Lead foots will prefer the M440i, but at $60,550, it’s a big ask.

The Mustang makes an impressive 315 horsepower from its base motor, while the V8 pumps out 480 horsepower (or more). The Dark Horse package makes 500 horsepower, but those come in limited numbers at $57,970.

They both handle but get expensive

The new 2024 Ford Mustang lineup shows off its coupes and convertibles.
The new Mustang lineup | Ford

The 2021 BMW M440i Is a Symptom of a Larger Problem

Unlike Mustangs of yore, however, the current and new ones have a genuine independent rear suspension. Previous Mustangs had a live axle connecting the rear wheels that, while it worked well for going fast in a straight line, destroyed the comfort. New in the 2024, the Mustang has an optional Performance Package adjustable suspension that can set everything from the transmission’s speed to the drive modes according to Ford Authority. Of course, all of the settings are accessed through the giant wraparound screen.

The Mustang, though, does appeal to one type of driver that BMW seems to have forgotten about: those that like to shift gears. The Mustang is one of the few cars that you can buy today equipped with a six-speed manual gearbox. The biggest difference, though, is the Mustang is cheaper .The 2024 Mustang starts at $30,920 with the 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine. That makes it a stylish bargain compared to $49,100 for the base 430i.