IN THE WORLD OF BIMMER, the sheer number of models, variants and editions can make it difficult to pick the right car for you. While we’re in awe of anything coming out of the electric division, such as the i8 and i3, the best-selling 3 Series compact sedan has long been the company’s heart and soul. Now in its sixth generation, the 3 Series has undergone many transformations and chassis changes over the years, but none as dramatic as splitting off its coupe segment into its own line, resulting in the all-new 2014 BMW 4 Series.
To get you up to speed, we’ve broken down the latest addition to the family and our top reasons for getting behind the wheel.
BMWs have typically relied upon the well-known 3, 5, 6 and 7 monikers for the majority of their model lineups. However, a few years ago, after the pint-sized 1 Series was unveiled, a brand strategy began to shift all odd-numbered vehicles to sedans, with new coupes (two-door) in the following even number. The 4 is the first of these models and the 2 Series is due out this spring.
The 4 Series is being released in three forms: Coupe, Convertible and Gran Coupe, although the much larger latter has, confusingly, four doors. We’re just going to have to trust the Germans on this one, especially because they just created the performance M4.
Considering the focus on smaller and more efficient engine options recently (see: The Lincoln MKZ), BMW is offering up the base 4 Series with three engine variants: a 2.0-liter four-cylinder (the 428i with 245 HP), a four-cylinder diesel (the 420d with 184 HP) and, our favorite of the bunch, the 3.0-liter six-cylinder in-line (the 435i with 306 HP). We don’t doubt that the first two options will get the job done, but after driving the six-cylinder we just can’t go back.
A six-speed manual transmission comes standard on the 4 Series to give you an authentic feeling of control when shifting through the gearbox. If you insist, though, a plenty capable eight-speed automatic is available with shift paddles. But seriously, go for the manual.
Your acceleration from 0 to 62 mph will take you a respectable 5.4 seconds—and only 4.9 seconds with the xDrive AWD. Not that a gentleman needs to get to the finish line first, but that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be capable of doing so.
BMW’s ever-evolving ConnectedDrive system is front and center in the 4 Series with the ergonomic iDrive controlling the next-generation Navigation and Infotainment console. The RTTI (Real Time Traffic Information) system was our best friend during the morning commute to the Mansion and was stellar combined with the new full-color heads-up display that projects sharply onto the windshield in front of the driver.
We hate to suspect any of our readers of being bad drivers, but there are enough reality shows and tow trucks on the road to prove otherwise. If this is you, then BMW’s nifty Driving Assistant Plus might be helpful. A camera mounted in front of the rearview mirror scans ahead of the vehicle and the system warns the driver of any potential risks and will even apply the brake should you fail to react. Throw in the optional lane departure warning in case you drift and you’re almost guaranteed to get from one place to another intact. Just don’t drive into a lake…it won’t stop.
As great as a car looks or performs, the rims can easily make or break its appearance. Just think of it as the choice between a pair of tasteful leather shoes and Uggs. In the 4 Series’ case, we’re a big fan of the industrial-themed spoke option above.
If you can’t afford the M4 ($64,200) then the 4 Series M Sport package should help to fill that void. Featuring the same firmer M-tech adaptive suspension and brakes, you’ll also get the option of 18- or 19-inch alloy wheels, an aerodynamic package with sculpted apron with diffuser, new side skirts and rear bumper and M insignia with exclusive blue stitching in the cabin.
As much as we love the S-Class with its 32 onboard computers, the interior of the 4 Series has been extremely well designed for comfort and practicality. The stunning chocolate brown and red leather options take the cabin to the next level; in fact, we’d be happy to move in permanently.
Typically a dealbreaker, the starting MSRP of the 4 Series Coupe is quite reasonable at $41,125 for the 428i. For the premium 435i, that inches up to $46,925, with the optional xDrive bringing the total starting price to $48,925 before options. Overall, this is a pretty sweet deal for under $50K.