2014 BMW 4-Series Coupe: First drive review
BMW differentiates the 4-Series Coupe from its 3-Series siblings.
Earlier this year BMW sent ripples of dismay through the world's young urban strivers when the company announced that yuppiedom's unofficial vehicle of choice was to be no more — the 3-Series Coupe was dead. Luckily for fans of one of the best driving machines on the road, BMW was just renaming the coupe: from here on out it's the 4-Series Coupe. Wanting to cast a unique shadow and differentiate the coupes from the sedans in the lineup, BMW lengthened the wheelbase, widened the hips and chopped the top to give the new coupe its own sense of identity.
Xenon headlights, a bit of luxury that you'll find optional on a 3-Series, come standard on the 4-Series. Power is plentiful as both turbocharged engines turn in zero-to-60 mph times under six seconds while doing a good job of being miserly with fuel.
While we're excited about the new Coupe, there are still a few things that kept us either wanting more or scratching our heads wondering what BMW was thinking. Questionable interior trim and a display screen that seems like an afterthought didn't sit well with us. The Servotronic electric power steering still doesn't do the best job of connecting driver to road, either.
The 4-Series Coupe is broken down into two variants based on the engine selection: the 428i and the
435i. As far as standard features go, both are almost identical, save for the 18-inch wheels found on the 435i instead of the 17-inch rollers on the 428i. Although the options list is extensive, the cars come well-equipped from the factory with features such as Driving Dynamics Control, Bluetooth connectivity, Xenon adaptive headlights and BMW's Efficient Dynamics-inspired Air Curtain and Air Breather for increased aerodynamic efficiency at highway speeds.
Within both the 428i and 435i BMW offers three main trim lines: Sport, Luxury, and M Sport. The Sport line features mostly blacked-out trim and plus-one wheel sizing for both the 428i and 435i (18-inch and 19-inch, respectively). Rear-wheel-drive iterations also receive a sport suspension to enhance the driving experience.
If you like chrome, look no further than the Luxury line as BMW chromes-out just about every piece of trim inside and out. Plus-one wheel sizing is also part of this line, along with some elegant ash grain wood-trim inlays.
Our favorite trim line by a longshot is M Sport. The already athletic exterior is given an extra shot of protein with the M aerodynamic package, featuring enlarged air intakes, a rear bumper with a diffuser and deeper side skirts. Special M design wheels are included in the package, in 18-inch and 19-inch (435i only) sizes. Behind the wheels you can also opt for the M Sport brakes with their noticeable blue calipers. The M Sport suspension is available on rear-drive only. In case you forget what line you selected, you will find the letter "M" adorning everything from the unique steering wheel to the footrest. The M Sport line is also the only trim with which you can select BMW's gorgeous Estoril Blue paint.
As with all BMWs, multiple option packages are available, adding features that include advanced real-time traffic information (Technology package), park distance control for those tight parking spaces (Driver Assistance package), and side- and top-view cameras (Driver Assistance Plus). The available Harmon Kardon surround sound stereo is also not to be missed.
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Under the hood
The 4-Series Coupe is all turbo all the time. In the 428i you will find a 2.0-liter turbocharged double-overhead-camshaft 4-cylinder engine producing 241 horsepower from 5000 to 6500 rpm and 258 lb-ft of torque from 1250 to 4800 rpm. That's a torque curve most 4-cylinders could only dream of. The standard transmission is an 8-speed automatic with a 6-speed manual as a no-cost option. Unfortunately, the 6-speed is not available on the all-wheel-drive 428i xDrive. The 428i may not have the soul of the old normally aspirated inline-6 engine, but the power delivery definitely helps ease the pain.