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New 4 Series Coupe: BMW’s style leader

2013-11-08 09:16


NEW BMW COUPE IS A STUNNER: BMW’s 4 Series Coupe has performance to match its great looks and should be a hit in SA provided you overlook the arguably steep price. Image: SERGIO DAVIDS

The 3 Series coupe is no more. In its stead is what’s arguably BMW’s new style leader – the 4 Series coupe, now available in South Africa. Is the new coupe as good to drive as it is to look at? Wheels24’s SERGIO DAVIDS finds out.

Hot on the heels of its facelifted 5 Series, BMW's 4 Series coupe has arrived in South Africa. Wheels24 attended the launch of the new coupe in Cape Town.

Its arrival coincides with BMW playing the numbers game yet again and conversations in its showrooms could begin like this: “Hello sir and welcome to BMW. May I interest you in a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7 Series? What’s that, the even-numbered vehicles are just rebadged models? Don’t be silly...”

Image gallery: 2013 BMW 4 Series coupe

By 2014, the automaker will have expanded its range substantially and with minimal effort. No, really, the upcoming SA-bound 2 series is a rebadged 1 coupe and the newly arrived 4 Series replaces the 3 coupe. Then there are its sub-brand battery offerings - the i3 and i8...

Why would the brand engage in this kind of marketing obfuscation with its new coupe? According to BMW SA’s spokesman, the 4 Series nomenclature is: “Logic, it’s a just logical progression. It just makes sense when you have a car this outstanding and different.” 

Apparently the sportier car in a series receives a new series name - the 5 Series coupe became the 6 series.

The automaker’s naming scheme is a relatively simple formula - two-door vehicles (coupes and convertibles) begin with even numbers, while odd numbers are reserved for more family-orientated sedans and estates.

Is the new 4 Series worth the marketing subterfuge? We say a resounding yes as the new BMW 4 Series coupe's sleek looks promises a lot in the way of excitement and largely delivers on the automaker's "Ultimate Driving Machine" tag.

Compared to the 3 Series, the overall length at 4.6m has been extended (+26 mm) and the wheelbase increased to 2.8m (+50mm). The coupe also sits 10mm closer to the road than the current 3 Series sedan and weighs 25kg less than its predecessor. Pricing starts at R520 988 for the 428i and R691 527 for the 435i.

In terms of design, it’s a stunner. With its sporty looks and elegant lines, the 4 Series is arguably BMW’s new style leader.

The engines are pretty much the same as those found in the 3 Series sedan.

The new model can be fitted with three petrol (420i 428i and 435i) options, though the smaller 135kW 420i will only arrive in 2014. A diesel engine is being considered for South Africa.

The flagship six-cylinder 3.0 435i is capable of 225kW/400Nm and is mated to an eight-speed sports auto with paddle shifts. It sprints from 0 - 100 km/h in 5.1 seconds to an electronically limited top speed of 250 km/h. Fuel consumption is rated at 7.2 litres/100kms with emissions of 169g/km.

The four-cylinder 2.0 428i produces 180kW/350Nm and can be mated to either a six-speed manual or eight-speed auto. In manual guise, fuel consumption is 6.6/100km and 154g/km, while the auto uses 6.3/100km and produces 147g/100km.


Is the 4 Series coupe as good to drive as it is to look at? Yes, but it’s not as naughty as it could’ve been. If speed is what you're after, the 435i offers plenty of grin-inducing power though the 428i performs admirably.

As it sits 10mm closer to the road than a 3 Series sedan, the coupe has the lowest centre of gravity of any in the current BMW range. When tackling twists and bends, the coupe is a delight with well-balanced handling, though it can be unsettled on irregular surfaces.

You’re never given the impression of controlled vehicular-hooliganism as can be found in say an M135i (or soon to be M235i) but it’s enjoyable all the same.

The comfort mode is best described as vague as it gives the steering an indirect and lacklustre feel. Sport mode stiffens the steering and suspension. There’s noticeable body movement and it's rigid at low speeds. Overall, bar the inert comfort mode, it’s a fun, fast and agile coupe that will bring a smile to your face.

Despite being a two-door coupe, the 4 Series is surprisingly practical. The rear bench has space for two adults, although headroom is slightly compromised by the curve of the roof and the boot is large too at 445 litres.

The interior will be familiar to anybody who’s driven a 3 Series, with the same combination of upmarket trim and intuitive layout. The cabin is smart, simple and well crafted, though despite sculpted lines on the doors and black trim on the centre console you’ll be hard-pressed to disguise the coupe cabin from the vanilla 3 Series.

The latest version of the automaker’s iDrive is superb. It controls the audio, navigation and vehicle settings through a 16cm screen and is faster and more responsive than ever.

There’s a host of driver assistance systems, among them head-up display, pedestrian-spotter, active cruise control (with stop/go) and 3D satnav.

The list of options is substantial and there are three specifications/lines - Modern, Luxury, Sport - and an M Sport package. The extras, however, makes an already pricey car much more expensive.
The new 4 series takes on Audi’s A5 coupe, Mercedes-Benz C-class Coupe and Infiniti's G37 Coupe.
The new number in the BMW coupe range is a sleek performer and whatever the marketing obfuscation is a great car to drive. It’s not quite as practical as the sedan, the rear seats are cramped and it costs significantly more than the standard 3 Series. Then there’s the options list to beware of...

If you want a vehicle that that stands out on the road, the new BMW 4 Series promises all the traditional strengths of the 3 Series with a hefty helping of style. This is a pretty practical coupe that comes with impressive performance numbers. The new 4 Series is a welcome chapter in the history of the automaker’s great coupes.

BMW SA has a busy year of ahead with the aforementioned 2 Series, 420i equipped 4 Series and convertible planned for 2014.

BMW 420i
Six-speed manual – R450 462
Eight-speed auto – R467 949
BMW 428i
Six-speed manual – R520 988
Eight-speed auto – R538 270
BMW 435i (eight-speed auto)  – R691 527
Read more on:    bmw  |  south africa  |  new models

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