Striking styling gives the BMW 4 Series coupe a semi-roadster look

Striking styling gives the BMW 4 Series coupe a semi-roadster look

BMW knows a thing or two about long-bonnet-short-tail design, just look at shape of its little Z4 roadster and big 6 Series coupe and cabriolet. So it’s great to see the same theme, albeit in a less extreme format than on the Z4, being used on the all-new BMW 4 Series coupe.

A brief word about the ‘4’ before going into details. BMW has decided all its sporty models should have an even number in their title. So the 4 Series coupe is the replacement for the 3 Series coupe.

It hardly comes as a surprise that the all-new BMW 4 Series is longer, wider and lower than the outgoing ‘3 coupe.

The long bonnet is partly due to the more upright grille, but the shorter front overhang and longer wheelbase play their parts as well. The new BMW theme of joining the headlights to the grille emphasises the width of the 4 Series, as does the wide front track. Strong style lines along the flanks lead to a stubby tail that’s actually wider than the front of the car.

The vertical slots at each end of the front bumper appear to be for appearance sake, but are actually part of a clever aerodynamic feature. Air is drawn into these slots, passes over the front wheels, and is finally extracted through the boomerang shapes slits in the front guards.

The wind tunnel’s computer says it helps reduce drag. The CD number of 0.28 is nothing out of the ordinary in this day and age. However there’s more to aero bodies than simply cutting noise and fuel use and, during our drive program, we found the new BMW 4 Series to be impressively stable, even in strong winds.

Though the exterior of the 4 Series is totally different to the 3 Series, there are strong similarities in the dashboard area. Clever reworking of the style lines, colours and materials do give the 4 Series a new look.

It’s neat and well organised with the large infotainment screen being easy to read. BMW’s latest iDrive system is simpler to use than in the past and is largely intuitive in the way you work your way through the menus. As in other recent models, the ‘Back’ key at the base of the iDrive lets you take a different path should you make a mistake.

The BMW 4 Series’ powerplants are pretty much the same as those in the 3 Series sedan, and for that matter the recently revised Z3 roadster.

At this stage the engine range begins with the 420d that uses a four-cylinder turbo-diesel producing 135 kW of power and 380 Nm of torque. The impressively low fuel consumption figure of 4.6 litres per hundred kilometres will certainly attract many buyers.

Early in 2014 a four-cylinder turbo-petrol, the 420i will be imported.
Next up the current range is the 428i, again with four cylinders, turbocharging and a capacity of 2.0 litres. It generates 180 kW and 350 Nm. This engine is a full sports unit and can run sub six seconds for the zero to 100 km/h sprint.

BMW’s famed 3.0-litre turbocharged straight-six engine can get you to 100 km/h in only 5.1 seconds thanks to its 225 kW (300 horsepower) and 400 Nm.

All models come with an eight-speed automatic transmission with sports modes and paddle shifters. A six-speed manual is a no-cost option, but isn’t expected to be sold in any real numbers.

Ah, driving! – that’s what BMWs are all about and the new 4 Series continues this long tradition in a superb manner. Winding roads in the snowy areas of Victoria – with that white stuff still visible on the peaks despite us being well into spring – were the setting for some sensational test driving.

We got ourselves into all three engine variants, but there wasn’t a manual gearbox in sight (pity!). Road grip is tremendous and the chassis balance is guaranteed to bring smiles to faces, particularly with the Sport mode selected.

Steering feel is very good as it transmits messages from the front wheels in a way that lets the driver adjust the car’s direction to perfection.

In the ‘Comfort’ setting the ride is pretty good, though the BMW ‘4 is inclined to bottom out at times on rough Aussie roads. Sport mode made things a bit on the jiggly side at times. Tyre roar on roads that weren’t all that rough was certainly noticeable.

The front seats are reasonably large and comfortable, though the bulky transmission does steal some foot width for those in the front. This is a genuine four-seater, with sufficient head and legroom for most adults. Those in the rear – and that’s where the kids are going to be – will have a fair bit of glass over their heads. Which is hardly unusual in a coupe, but check it our during your private test drive.

The big new number in the BMW coupe range, the 4 Series, is sleek and low, provides good engine performance even in the lower powered models and carries the aura that goes with the ‘rondel’ badge. Pricing is competitive and there is a nice selection of lines and accessories.

BMW will soon introduce a convertible to the 4 Series range, can’t wait to try it.

The complete BMW 4 Series range is:
420i Coupe: $69,500
420d Coupe: $71,800
428i Coupe: $80,500
435i Coupe: $108,500
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local BMW dealer for driveaway prices.

About Ewan Kennedy

Ewan Kennedy, a long-time car enthusiast, was Technical Research Librarian with the NRMA from 1970 until 1985. He worked part-time as a freelance motoring journalist from 1977 until 1985, when he took a full-time position as Technical Editor with Modern Motor magazine. Late in 1987 he left to set up a full-time business as a freelance motoring journalist. Ewan is an associate member of the Society of Automotive Engineers - International. An economy driving expert, he set the Guinness World Record for the greatest distance travelled in a standard road vehicle on a single fuel fill. He lists his hobbies as stage acting, travelling, boating and reading.
Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *