Four in hand

The edgy coupe is quite a car­riage, with road man­ners to match its looks

Herald Sun - Motoring - - First Drive - CRAIG DUFF craig.duff@cars­guide.com.au

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.

VALUE

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.

TECH­NOL­OGY

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.

DE­SIGN

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.

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