2014 BMW 4 Series Review
New 4 Series completes BMW’s dynamic duo
The BMW 3 Series has long established the benchmark for combining sporty driving characteristics with a premium touch. The latest iteration has even shown that the pro-athlete of a sedan can also clean up and please management, with more space and driving modes that allow the car to be driven more sensibly and more comfortably.
|1. The 428i starts at $41,425 with the 435i at $46,925. All-wheel drive is $2,000 extra.
2. A 2.0-liter turbocharged base engine makes 240 hp and 255 lb-ft of torque, while the 435i uses a turbocharged straight-six to make 300 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque.
3. Fuel economy ranges from 23/35 MPG for automatic 428i models, to 20/30 MPG for the 435i with the six-speed manual.
4. The 4 Series features the lowest center of gravity in the entire BMW lineup currently on sale.
Critics may say it’s been watered down. Thankfully, the two-door has seen no such dilution, solidifying BMW as the go-to brand when looking for a fun-to-drive, engaging and immersive experience.
When it comes to dominating the segment, the 4 Series coupe compliments the 3 Series sedan so well that the two could be considered the next big dynamic duo, mentioned alongside Kobe and Shaq or Jordan and Pippen. Heck, even Batman and Robin.
LIKE A 3 SERIES IN YOGA PANTS
Don't be misled into believing the 4 Series is just a 3 lacking rear doors. For the most part it may use the same sheetmetal and angles, but visually, it’s far more confident, the new corporate look matching the coupe’s athletic and agile prowess perfectly.
Two small details unique to the 4 Series include vertical slits on the outside of the front bumper as well as others behind the front wheels, both of which help the coupe cut through the air, reducing drag. These details will be making their way into other future BMWs, including the new X5 and 3 Series GT.
The 4 Series is available in two mostly aesthetic trims, the Sport trim and Luxury trim. Luxury trim vehicles opt to use more chrome in the interior and exterior of the vehicle, and have some wood-accenting. Sport trims models shun the flashy chrome and instead sport high-gloss black exterior trim. On the inside, Sport line vehicles feature a black leather interior with red-stitching.
Finally, there’s the M-Sport line, which adds more than just superficial changes. Featuring a body kit with larger, functional air intakes and rear-bumper with a diffuser, it also comes with the M-Sport suspension.
CLICK HERE: For Complete BMW 4 Series Specs
Compare the exterior looks of the 4 Series to the last iteration of the 3 Series coupe and the new vehicle is a sexy evolution in two-door design, paying its respects to the past generations while flirting with some details from its big-brother 6 Series. In fact, the 4 Series is a bit wider and longer than the 3 Series coupe, giving it a more hunkered-down look that will catch the attention of jealous types in your neighborhood.
THE BEST ENGINE IS THE ONE YOU CAN AFFORD
Helping to make you more noticeable to those around you and even spurring on the sporty driver within are the excellent sounding engines available in the 4 Series. The always-lovely turbocharged six-cylinder delivers a satisfying punch of 300 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque. Able to sprint to 60 mph in as little as 5 seconds, the 435i is the star athlete of the group, wowing fans with well-timed plays and a flashy smile.
On the other-hand, the turbocharged four-cylinder is the essential role-player, the teammate that earns your cheers thanks to all-out pluckiness. Making 'just' 240 hp and 255 lb-ft of torque, the 428i is a step behind its team-leader in all out power, but makes up for it in heart. Sixty miles per hour comes in as quickly as 5.7 seconds. Full-tilt acceleration brings with it a surprisingly awesome sound. Yes, it’s the base car, but don't count out the 428i. It easily can, and will, earn your adoration.
Thankfully a six-speed manual continues to be offered to send power to the rear wheels, while the optional xDrive all-wheel drive system comes paired exclusively with an automatic and costs a $2,000 premium.
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Opt for the 8-speed automatic and you’re treated with quick gear-changes leaving you in disbelief that this isn’t a dual-clutch transmission. The car selects the gear with the right mix of acceleration before you even finish forming the thought of stomping on the gas or grabbing for the standard paddle shifters.
Relax and the transmission settles into its eighth gear, letting the motor sip on fuel while you cruise to your next appointment.
FROM COMFORT TO SPORT
The 4 Series features fancy footwork too. The dynamic handling package is available for just $1,000 and was equipped on all vehicles we tested, allowing drivers to change the suspension setup to suit their driving style. With the lowest center of gravity in the BMW lineup at just 20-inches off the ground, the 4 Series is unbelievably agile and will have you hunting out the best roads in your county to experience just how capable it is.
SEE ALSO: Check out our Coupe Buyer's Guide
The sporty handling characteristics of the 4 Series do, however, come at a slight price of road comfort. While the dynamic handling package can easily soak up bumps in its more comfort-oriented settings, leaving it in sport can send a jolt up your spine.
A SENSE OF IMMERSION
At least the 4 Series addresses this slight complaint by having a wonderfully accommodating cabin. Along with a driver-focused cockpit and extremely well bolstered seats - even in the rear – there are a number of interesting technological highlights, namely the heads-up display and the newest generation of BMW's iDrive infotainment system, with slicker animations and a touchpad on top of controller that makes it easier to scroll about on the map.
The 4 Series also features a wonderfully versatile trunk, which comes with a few nice party tricks. With properly equipped models, you can swing your foot under the center of the rear bumper, and the trunk will open automatically. Buyers will also appreciate the folding rear seats, which can be split 40:20:40, with a nice pass-through for longer items.
THE OPTIONS YOU’LL WANT
The M-sport package delivers one of the finest steering wheels fitted to a car into your hands, not to mention a number of other improvements, including the previously mentioned dynamic suspension package. Yet another option (this is a German car after all), are upgraded brakes, which are easily visible thanks to the somewhat tacky blue brake callipers. We advise drivers planning on purchasing the quick 435i with the M-Sport package to pony up for the upgraded brakes, which are firm-feeling and can bring the car down from speed in a matter of moments.
The 4 Series also features a number of available convenience features and driver assists, like heads-up display, a rear sun shade, parking assist and active cruise-control. One notable feature that’s worth the extra $875 is the Harman/Kardon sound system. Flipping between a Harman equipped car and one without the premium sound system is like switching between high-def TV and one of those big boxes your grandma used to have.
After an extensive test-drive, the BMW 4 Series is easy to recommend for buyers looking for an engaging, eye-catching and emotional sports-coupe.
Unfortunately, the new 4 Series starts at a significant cost with the 428i priced at $41,425, or about $2,000 more expensive than the base Audi A5 and $3,000 more than a Mercedes C250 coupe. Still, it’s worth it.
As for the 435i, it starts at $46,925. That’s both more affordable than an S5 and just as enjoyable to drive.