2014 BMW 4 Series Coupe Production Model First Drive
By Henny Hemmes
Senior European Editor
The Auto Channel
CASCAIS, Portugal, July 18, 2013. BMW’s new 4 Series Coupe
has gotten a name that is in line with its larger brothers. BMW gave the on
the 5 and 7 Series based two-door models already an even number, 6 Series
and 8 Series. Therefore, it is no surprise that the coupe based on the 3
Series starts as 3+1, a separate model so to say.
The numeral change was already used at the Detroit Auto Show in January,
where the new model made its world debut as BMW Concept 4 Series Coupe.
In Portugal, where the 4 Series made its official debut on the
public roads earlier this week, you immediately realize that the car
presented in Detroit was not a concept, but the real thing, except may be,
for the larger wheels that are always popular for show cars.
During the media presentation in Cascais, Adrian van Hooydonk, BMW
Group’s Senior Vice President Design, said that properties are always
studied before designers are making any sketches. “Because of the
wider track compared to the 3 Series Coupe, you immediately see the front
of the Coupe is wider and the design enhances this impression.”
BMW’s typical kidney grill as well as the lights and the front
and rear fascias are lower, while the front bumper does not show a
horizontal line, but bends down in the middle. At the side, the few lines
underline the longer wheel base, enabling shorter overhangs up front and in
“The two lines on the side indicate sportiness and
elegance,” said Van Hooydonk. “While the muscular wheel arches
point at rear wheel drive and give the car an aggressive stance.
The air breathers that debuted on the 3 Series Gran Turismo help
guiding air out of the front wheel arches to the boomerang shaped louvers
just behind the front wheels. Air Curtains in the front apron reduces
turbulence around the front wheels. Together with a flat underbody and the
sleek body style, they help achieving a coefficient of drag of 0.28.”
When talking to the engineers, it became clear that the 4-Series
may be wider and longer than the E92 3 Series Coupe, but compared to the
new 3 Series saloon that already grew in size. This means, that the 4
Series Coupe is just 22 mm wider, sits 10 mm lower on the wheels and has an
extra track width of 22 mm that is a result of applying wider hub carriers.
The optimal weight distribution of 50/50 has been achieved, while the
center of gravity is low as well: 50 cm (19.7 inches). Torsional stiffness
has also been improved – according to BMW not less than 60 percent
thanks to different measures. One of them applying 5 link suspension.
Just like the other BMW models, the 4 Series Coupe will be
available in Luxury line, Sport Line and M Sport trim.
Upon arrival at the Lisbon airport, a slew of 4 Series Coupes were
waiting for us, looking inviting as well as fast. Getting in the drivers
seat is easy, and the seatbelt feeder, which I call ’James’
makes it easy to buckle up. The red leather interior looks very nice and
familiar as well. Indeed, it shares its components with the 3 Series Sedan.
But you also notice that the front seats are lower and feel more
The interior is spacious thanks to the longer wheel base and
together with the longer and more raked wind shield the Coupe offers a
The 435i with the 3.0-liter petrol in-line straight six bi-turbo engine
that is also powering the top model of the 3 Series Sedan and the 535i, was
the only model available for our first drives.
No surprises there, since we know that the engine reacts instantly
on the throttle and does not show any turbo lag. Torque is easily and
willing available as from some 1,400 rpm until the needle reaches the 5,000
line, but the 4 Series does not have any objection to cruise at lower speed
either. The unsurpassed 8-speed transmission is – I have already
written this often – brilliant and the software has been developed
for quick gear shifts that are hardly noticeable.
The growl that reaches the cockpit is subtle but always there, in
Sport + mode, Sport, Comfort and even in the EcoPro mode. But who wants to
drive economically, when you just have a short time to test a new car? It
is easy to cruise in Sport mode as well and comfortable too. You can hardly
hear the tires and wind noise is only coming from the mirrors and
During the 120 mile long test route through the mountains to our
hotel in Cascais, we drove ‘actively’, keeping in mind that we
would be able to push it much more and much safer on the race track the
next day. But the handling – both in Sport and Sport + mode –
left an impression of supreme agility. It seemed that the rear end was set
up a bit softer than up front because when pushing the throttle from stand
still, there is a slight movement of the rear. When I asked the engineers
about this, the answer was clear:
“Even the M Sport suspension, that is included in the Sport Line and
M Sport, leaves room… for the M Performance Package. We could not
drive it yet, but it was on display in a pit box at the Estoril Circuit,
where we proceeded with our test drives the next morning.
Henny's 2014 BMW 4 Series Hot Laps
As the tarmac was still warming up after a cool night, I lined up
to get into the car as soon as possible. Even the limited number of laps
would confirm my impression of this new 435i Coupe.
The electric power
steering allows for a quick and obedient turn-in into short bends, where
you need to be precise and exact on the throttle to suppress the
car’s tendency to under steer. Then with a slight change of steering
input and adding some power, the car can be pushed into swaying its tail
out a bit. We were asked not to drift, but believe me, that will not be
Under no-drift conditions, the tires on the optional
19-inch wheels would endure half a day of torturing, before the front ones
would have to be exchanged among themselves.
No worries about brakes either, the pedal feel remained constant
and braking was quick and stable during all laps. The Coupe’s
stability is excellent, especially noticeable in the very long fast bend
before the grand stand. Paddle shifting the transmission is easy and fun
and the powerful engine responds instantly. This all makes the 4 Series
Coupe a joy to drive, not only on the public roads, but also to play once
in a while on a closed course. While you will feel good looking all the
Upon the market introduction in the US, late this summer, the
‘Vierer’ Coupe will be available as 428i with 4-cylinder engine
with 245 hp and 350 Nm/255 lb-ft of torque between 1,250 and 4,800 rpm, as
well as 435i with the 306 hp strong six-in-line power plant, with 400 Nm/
300 lb-ft of torque between 1,200 and 5,000 rpm. On other markets there
will also be a 420d with the 4-cylinder diesel engine producing 184 hp and
All models get the 6-speed stick shift, while the 8-speed
transmission will be available as an option. The automatic transmission
will automatically be the combined with optional xDrive all-wheel drive.
xDrive will be available for the diesel models from November.
At the end of the year, the 4-cylinder petrol engine will be
available in the 420i. Then also the big diesel engines in the 430d and 435
d (respectively with 258 and 313 hp) will be introduced. A 4 Series
Convertible is also in the planning.
Fans of the sportiest variant of a coupe body style need not worry:
the 440 hp strong M4 Coupe is under development! When BMW’s M3 DTM
(German Touring Car Championship) race driver Bruno Spengler offered a
ride in a 435i with the M Sport package, he told me that he is busy testing
Speed addicts that would prefer to stay with the iconic 5 door
model can also look forward to September: at the IAA auto show in
Frankfurt, BMW M GmbH will unveil both the M3 and the M4 models.
Prices of the BMW 435i Coupe start at $ 46,000 MSRP; the Sport Line
trim adds another $ 1,700 and the M Sport $ 3,100. The prices of the 428i
Coupe start at $ 40,500 MSRP.
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