Four in hand
The edgy coupe is quite a carriage, with road manners to match its looks
THE sporting prowess of BMW’s mid-sized coupe is coming to the fore. The Bavarian maker has renamed its popular two-door range as the 4 Series to differentiate it in price and performance from the 3 Series sedans and align it with the two-door 6 Series. Beyond the name, the sharper ride and handling match the coupe’s edgier looks.
The 4 has more bang for the buck than the outgoing 3 Series Coupe, reflecting changes in the market (read Mercedes-Benz’s new C-Class). An eight-speed automatic is now standard in place of the six-cog self-shifter (six-speed manual is an option) and the techno-toys is a couple of generations ahead.
BMW spokesman Scott Croaker says Australia is still determining final spec before the local launch in midOctober. It’ll definitely be loaded with more standard features but I don’t expect the price to be too far from the outgoing 3 Coupe,’’ he says. This points to a starting price in the low $70,000s for the 420d, rising to about $85,000 for the 428i and $110,000 for the 435i.
The three engines available at launch are lifted from the 3 Series— 2.0-litre turbo diesel four, 2.0-litre turbo petrol four and 3.0-litre turbo six. Outputs are unchanged and all engines are paired with auto stop-start and brake energy regeneration to minimise fuel use.
The exhaustive list of options includes Navigation System Pro, displaying satnav details in high resolution on the 8.8-inch central display screen and complemented by a touchpad atop the iDrive controller. On this, occupants trace the letters of their destination with their finger and optical character recognition reads the result, even coping with abysmal handwriting.
The Driving Assistant Plus pack adds forward collision and pedestrian warnings. Adaptive cruise control, LED headlamps with auto-dipping, head-up display and surround-view camera are among the options. Weight is perfectly balanced, 50-50, and the 4’s centre of gravity is at just 500mm, the lowest of any BMW car.
Dropping a low, coupe body over a stretched 3 Series sedan chassis gives the 4 a meaner, leaner stance. This is the best-proportioned BMW in the range. The rear track is a full 80mm wider than the 3 Series but it avoids the flared-guard
boy race’’r look by gradually extruding the entire rear quarter panel. That width is emphasised by the elongated tail-lights and the front air intake across the car’s nose.