Four is the new magic number for BMW buyers

BMW’s new 4-Series Coupé replaces the 3-Series, but there’s more to it than a new number on the back of the car

The BMW 420d Coupe hits the spot on twisty, mountainous roads

Make: BMW

Model: 4-Series

Year: 2013

Fuel: Diesel

Date Reviewed: September 24, 2013

Wed, Sep 25, 2013, 06:00

   

It may perplex motorists at first, but BMW’s all-new 4-Series Coupe is the replacement for its 3-Series Coupe precursor, which everyone is familiar with. BMW insists this is not merely a marketing ploy designed to justify a higher price tag. It claims this new model is far removed from the E92 coupé that it replaces.

From launch, Irish motorists can choose from three variants, two petrol-powered and one diesel. The petrol line-up consists of a 2-litre four-cylinder 245hp 428i and a brawny 3-litre six-cylinder 435i which produces a hefty 306hp and 400Nm of torque. The sole diesel model on sale initially will be the all-important 420d; it’s equipped with a 2-litre four-cylinder TwinPower turbo diesel engine with an output of 184hp coupled with 380Nm of torque. A further three variants, the 420i petrol and the 430d and 435d diesel models, will follow.

BMW’s XDrive all-wheel-drive system will be available optionally on some models, and is the sole drivetrain for the range-topping 313hp 435d. Prices start at €47,130 for the BMW 420d SE Coupe, while the 435i in M Sport guise will set you back €70,140.

The new 4-Series has a more purposeful look than its closest competitors, which include the Audi A5 Coupe and Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe. The interior is garnished with M Sport luxuries; the three-spoke leather sports steering wheel is as good to admire as it is to grasp with both hands.


Head-up display
Our test car had the optional head-up display which shows current speed – and directions if you’re using the satellite navigation – through the windscreen in clear detail. The six-cylinder engine at the core of the 435i is a silky-smooth machine that delivers copious amounts of power throughout the rev range. This, however, is disappointingly interrupted by the firm ride and excessive road noise from those immense wheels in sport mode. The drive performance control does let you opt for a comfort setting which softens the dampers (suspension) and improves the ride on country roads.

The 420d, on the other hand, hits the spot on the twisty mountainous roads of our test route. In this setup it visually lacks the deep front spoiler and twin rear exhausts of the M Sport variant; you can, however, have the sensible and more usable 420d finished in M Sport trim (€51,630). With similar torque to the 435i (380Nm versus 400Nm), the diesel power of the 420d is easily accessible, with the added benefit of delivering excellent fuel economy.


Abundance of grip
The 3-Series Coupe was no slouch around corners. This new model takes a step forward in this regard; it handles on rails with an abundance of front-end grip on corner entry. Strengthening elements in the front section of the car sees a 60 per cent increase in stiffness in comparison to the 3-Series Coupe. It bodes well for the xDrive model which will put a stern challenge to Audi’s A5 Coupe quattro. This new model is larger then its precursor; it’s 26mm longer and 43mm wider, with a 45mm wider front track, key to the car’s impressive chassis dynamics. Another benefit of this increase in size is an improvement in interior space, with additional 12mm legroom for rear-seat passengers. Our test car had the standard six-speed manual transmission fitted; it’s a no-nonsense gearbox that’s easy to use. Our preferred choice would be the optional eight-speed sports automatic transmission, which is a tried and trusted unit.

BMW is eager to demonstrate the advances in technology, along with the improvements in driving characteristics, that this new 4-Series Coupe possesses over its 3-Series predecessor. There’s certainly more to the name than a new number on the back of this BMW.

ENGINE
1,995cc four-cylinder diesel putting out 184hp and 380Nm with a six-speed manual transmission


PERFORMANCE
0-100km/h in 7.5 secs; max speed 240km/h

ECONOMY
Urban 5.8l/100km (48.7mpg) extra-urban 4.1l/100km (68.9mpg) combined 4.7l/100km (60.1mpg)

EMISSIONS
(Motor tax) 124g/km (€270)

RIVALS
Audi A5 Coupe 2.0 SE Diesel 177hp €49,450 (motor tax €200); Mercedes-Benz C220 CDI Coupe Blue Efficiency Diesel 170hp €42,665 (motor tax €200)


PRICE
€47,130


OUR VERDICT
Elegant coupe lines; looks best in M Sport guise