Exclusive: We Sit Down with the 4 Series Manager and Talk Improved Driving Dynamics

by Mark Jurista on July 10, 2013, 11:05 am
4 Series BMW Hitting the Turns

Less than a month ago we had our first official infomration about the all-new 4 Series in the form of a press release but that wasn't enough for us so we took the opportunity to sit down with the 4 Series Brand Manager for BMW, Victor Leleu, to hear what he had to say about the new 4 Series Compact Coupe.

4 Series Driving Dynamics

4 Series BMW Hitting the Turns

The biggest question that everyone has been asking is what makes the 4 Series worth it's own name? On a first initial look, most people might even see the two cars as nearly identical - but as Victor pointed out to us, there are a large number of differences between the F30 Sedan and the new F32 Coupe particulary when it comes down to driving dynamics.

Quote:
You really do feel substantial difference from F30 to F32. This is car that is standard stiffer and you can really tell. It doesn't take as much body roll as you might expect from the comfort that it provides in the first place.

You really feel the work that has been done on the tracks of the car when you really enter a corner a little enthusiastically because it really feels like the car pushes on the exterior wheel of the back. It gives you the green light and says from now on, show me what you've got, I got this. I'm covering this. It doesn't feel like the tires are at the limit or the suspension is at the limit. It feels like it's on rails and it's not going to move.

It's the little things. It's the wider tracks. +3.1 inches to the rear track. That is huge. That means the rear track is 2.1 inches wider the current M3. That pushes the wheels so far to the extremities of the car that it gives it an even wider impression. The fact that the wheel fenders are so flared in the back with the broadest point of the car being the wheel fender - that something that we have never seen in a BMW.
For anyone who has been less than impressed with their test drive of a 3 Series Sedan, this is probably music to your ears. The impression we were given is that the suspension set up from the F30 to the F32 is substantially different and gives you a completely different impression of the handling ability. The 4 Series Coupe was described as a unique blend of elements from the current generation E92 3 Series Coupe and F30 3 Series sedan.

4 Series BMW Hitting the Turns

Further proof of the increased performance of the car can be found in multiple other areas including this very interesting nugget of information:

Quote:
Center of gravity. They lowered the roofline, they lowered the suspension but they increased the width and they came up with the lowest center of gravity of any current BMW.

The rigidity of the front end has been increase 60% over the E92. That is a huge leap forward in terms of rigidity and that usually means that it has to be so much heavier but if you realy compare apples to apples, the car is on average 75lbs lighter than the E92 despite the extra rigidity and growth in dimensions.
4 Series Concept vs 4 Series Production

4 Series Concept Coupe

In between all of our talk about the driving dynamics of the 4 Series, we also managed to talk about the differences in the car from the concept car that was shown off in Detroit this past year and the production model that we saw in the press release last month. Some highlighted differences or similarities between the two included:
  • The wheels are a little smaller but that isn't necessarily a bad thing
  • M Sport front bumper is very different but the other lines are exactly the same shape as the concept. The biggest difference being the trim pieces used in the front bumper.
  • The air breathers are also a slightly different shape and the door handles are obviously different.
  • The LED corona ring extension to the kidney grill also did not make it to the production model
  • Rear end trim is very different. In this case the M Sport rear is a closer match to that of the concept car.

The 4 Series is a Must See in Person

4 Series BMW Hitting the Turns

As with many BMW models, the 4 Series is one that just looks better in person than in photos. You can see more of the details that a photo sometimes fails to convey.

Quote:
It is very important to see the car in the flesh - that is when it all seems to make sense. It makes a striking impression when you see it. It all blends in together. No disparity in design - it flows from front to rear and the dimensions just make sense.

Then there is the impression of the roof. It slopes down much more than in the past. Lower roof line. Lower suspension. 10mm lower standard than the current F30. All of that contributes to giving the car this impression of a more muscular car and much bigger when in fact it is way more muscular.
Victor was very passionate when he spoke about the 4 Series Coupe having earned an identity for itself with the new name.

Quote:
Renaming give the Coupe an identity. 6 Series you know what it is. 8 Series you know what it is. 3 Series gets lost - is it a coupe, sedan, convertible, wagon? This car has earned it's name.
Conclusion

I am now noticeably more excited about the 4 Series than I was a month ago when the first official photos were released. Victor's passion for the new 4 Series is very real and it sounds like this may just be an amazing car to drive.

Now we are just let waiting for a chance to get behind the wheel of the new 4 Series and see how the car behaves in real life. Let's hope it is as good as they make it out to be.

Stay tuned to Bimmerfest.com for our in person driving impressions of the car later this month.

More 4 Series Coverage

See a Photo Comparison of the F30 3 Series Sedan versus the F32 4 Series Coupe

See a Photo Comparison of the E92 3 Series Coupe versus the F32 4 Series Coupe

MY 2014 4 Series Pricing, Changes, Ordering Guide

Official 4 Series Coupe (F32) Photo Gallery
2014-bmw-4-series-coupe 12014-bmw-4-series-coupe 22014-bmw-4-series-coupe 32014-bmw-4-series-coupe 42014-bmw-4-series-coupe 52014-bmw-4-series-coupe 62014-bmw-4-series-coupe 72014-bmw-4-series-coupe 82014-bmw-4-series-coupe 92014-bmw-4-series-coupe 102014-bmw-4-series-coupe 112014-bmw-4-series-coupe 12


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42 responses to Exclusive: We Sit Down with the 4 Series Manager and Talk Improved Driving Dynamics

rdkind62 commented:
July 10, 2013, 11:24 am

Nice read, but I don't think we really heard anything that we haven't already read or heard before. It would be nice if they could take some decent pictures of it in various colors in real life instead of all of those over produced ones they have been putting out.
Shades commented:
July 10, 2013, 11:51 am

Thanks for the info,the handling specs sound very exciting.
Michael Schott commented:
July 10, 2013, 1:28 pm

Frustrating for someone who needs 4 doors to read this from the product manager. It just means that BMW has given up on sporty 4 door cars and seem to think that those of us who need easy access to the back seat don't care about more refined handling. I understand that coupe buyers may be thinking their car is sportier but at least make the F30 Sport suspension as buttoned down as that on the F32.
irianjim commented:
July 10, 2013, 1:38 pm

It's all marketing, guys. Would we have expected him to say anything different than "it's new and improved"? Please, rush out and buy one at a price close to MSRP because you gotta have it now!

The true test for me will be when the guys and gals on this forum get their hands on the new 4 and then give us their impressions, good and bad. Then I thing we will have a much better idea. Until then, take the marketing with a grain of salt.
PK2348 commented:
July 10, 2013, 1:40 pm

Brand Manager for BMW - what exactly does that entail? Is he a technical guy or a marketing guy. Cause to be honest it just sounds like a bunch of your everyday marketing BS
EstorilF30 commented:
July 10, 2013, 1:45 pm

Wait, did they just **** on the F30 in hopes of driving F32 sales?
Michael Schott commented:
July 10, 2013, 2:25 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by PK2348 View Post
Brand Manager for BMW - what exactly does that entail? Is he a technical guy or a marketing guy. Cause to be honest it just sounds like a bunch of your everyday marketing BS
Brand or Product Managers are nearly always on the marketing side. Obviously English is not his first language but he has all the talking points nailed.
tim330i commented:
July 10, 2013, 2:43 pm

Too bad you guys are so cynical about Victor. He genuinely believes what he said in the interview. Yes he has the talking points nailed but he believes what he is saying.

Tim
Michael Schott commented:
July 10, 2013, 3:12 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by tim330i View Post
Too bad you guys are so cynical about Victor. He genuinely believes what he said in the interview. Yes he has the talking points nailed but he believes what he is saying.

Tim
I agree we shouldn't be cynical and that you can sense his enthusiasm. As one who has been in sales and marketing for a very long time, belief in your product and company is vital to success.
PK2348 commented:
July 10, 2013, 3:50 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by EstorilF30 View Post
Wait, did they just **** on the F30 in hopes of driving F32 sales?
they totally did. that's how i read it
PK2348 commented:
July 10, 2013, 3:52 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by tim330i View Post
Too bad you guys are so cynical about Victor. He genuinely believes what he said in the interview. Yes he has the talking points nailed but he believes what he is saying.

Tim
As long as he is getting a paycheck to genuinely believe what he is saying, i will continue to be cynical and assume its marketing bs.
If his paycheck was signed by VAG or MB, he might have different genuine beliefs.
pix335i commented:
July 10, 2013, 3:53 pm

I believe the point that is being made is that the 4 Series Coupe is a very different car than the 3 Series Sedan. Read into it how you want but from having driven the F30 Sedan and F31 Wagon extensively (and very much enjoyed them both) - that car certainly hasn't been ignored. I have always viewed a coupe as more sporty in nature and it makes sense that it would be different than the sedan.
tim330i commented:
July 10, 2013, 3:53 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by EstorilF30 View Post
Wait, did they just **** on the F30 in hopes of driving F32 sales?
With the split of the 3 and 4 the point is to simply show how they're different. People were complaining that the F32 didn't look that different from the F30. We asked Victor to explain how the two cars are not the same. How the F32 is not a 3 series coupe but it's own car, how it has earned the 4 series badge. He described it as a 3 plus 1. So yes, the coupe has more then the 3, but i wouldn't call it crapping on the F30.

Tim
PK2348 commented:
July 10, 2013, 4:00 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by tim330i View Post
With the split of the 3 and 4 the point is to simply show how they're different. People were complaining that the F32 didn't look that different from the F30. We asked Victor to explain how the two cars are not the same. How the F32 is not a 3 series coupe but it's own car, how it has earned the 4 series badge. He described it as a 3 plus 1. So yes, the coupe has more then the 3, but i wouldn't call it crapping on the F30.

Tim
The only concrete factual difference i saw from reading above is the wider wheel base.
Everything else is his impressions and opinions with no facts to back it up.
No real details on how suspension, steering, tires or anything else on the 4 is different
tim330i commented:
July 10, 2013, 4:02 pm

Wider wheel base, lower center of gravity and more ridge chassis. Nope, no facts at all
PK2348 commented:
July 10, 2013, 4:35 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by tim330i View Post
Wider wheel base, lower center of gravity and more ridge chassis. Nope, no facts at all
missed the center of gravity, but again how much lower? no data.
The rigidity of the front end has been increase 60% over the E92 - are we not comparing to F30? How did e92 get in the mix?
rdkind62 commented:
July 10, 2013, 5:04 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by PK2348 View Post
missed the center of gravity, but again how much lower? no data.
The rigidity of the front end has been increase 60% over the E92 - are we not comparing to F30? How did e92 get in the mix?
Does the amount of how much the center of gravity has lowered really matter? And I'm sure the comparison to the E92 came from the fact that it is a coupe just like the F32. If you were looking for facts they were there, and if you are just looking to argue over minutia then have have succeeded there too.
PK2348 commented:
July 10, 2013, 5:52 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by rdkind62 View Post
Does the amount of how much the center of gravity has lowered really matter? And I'm sure the comparison to the E92 came from the fact that it is a coupe just like the F32. If you were looking for facts they were there, and if you are just looking to argue over minutia then have have succeeded there too.
What matters is factual data vs sales pitch.
This is sales pitch. You bought it. Enjoy.
kunal_D commented:
July 10, 2013, 6:16 pm

I'm hoping that these improvements mentioned here, specifically the stiffer suspension find their way to the F30.

I'm looking forward to seeing these on the road.
jjrandorin commented:
July 10, 2013, 6:16 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by PK2348 View Post
What matters is factual data vs sales pitch.
This is sales pitch. You bought it. Enjoy.
Its pretty strange to me how fast BMW owners are to turn on ANY model that is not the SPECIFIC one they own...
HokieXDriver commented:
July 10, 2013, 6:30 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by jjrandorin View Post
Its pretty strange to me how fast BMW owners are to turn on ANY model that is not the SPECIFIC one they own...
Nobody wants to hear that they don't own the best by their definition of the best. I don't think that's specific to BMW. People do that all the time when a new model of their computer comes out too.
rdkind62 commented:
July 10, 2013, 9:52 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by PK2348 View Post
What matters is factual data vs sales pitch.
This is sales pitch. You bought it. Enjoy.
If you had read my first comment you would have seen that I said there was nothing new put out in that interview that we hadn't already seen. There is nothing to fall for. There are certain facts about the car that were put out there such as a wider track, 60% more rigidity in the front end, lower ride height, etc. Again, those are not sales pitch, those are facts. I am not falling for "improved handling" or "exclusivity". I think it will be a great car to have and I plan on buying one. I assume you have a car that you like and if I chose I could probably pick apart all the reasons you have for owning it but that would just be stupid and childish. If I don't have anything good to say I prefer to just leave it alone. Feel free to do the same.
WillInDenver commented:
July 10, 2013, 10:21 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by PK2348 View Post
As long as he is getting a paycheck to genuinely believe what he is saying
Nah. I've had it both ways. You get used to the paycheck. If you think the product is below par, you don't get used to that and it catches up to you quickly.
WillInDenver commented:
July 10, 2013, 10:24 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by PK2348 View Post
What matters is factual data vs sales pitch.
This is sales pitch. You bought it. Enjoy.
Good sales pitches are based on factual data. You're just showing an inclination to throw out a message because it came from someone in a sales role.
PK2348 commented:
July 10, 2013, 10:55 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by rdkind62 View Post
If you had read my first comment you would have seen that I said there was nothing new put out in that interview that we hadn't already seen. There is nothing to fall for. There are certain facts about the car that were put out there such as a wider track, 60% more rigidity in the front end, lower ride height, etc. Again, those are not sales pitch, those are facts. I am not falling for "improved handling" or "exclusivity". I think it will be a great car to have and I plan on buying one. I assume you have a car that you like and if I chose I could probably pick apart all the reasons you have for owning it but that would just be stupid and childish. If I don't have anything good to say I prefer to just leave it alone. Feel free to do the same.
The headline is "talk about improved handling". Silly me, i assumed we are comparing it to F30. So why bring up 60% better than e92? Because it's a coupe or because it sounds impressive? Or is he trying to say that F32 will out handle E92?
I think i know a sales pitch when i hear one. You are free to disagree.
You are also free to pick apart my car and reasons i am driving it, if you have nothing better to do, since i really could not care less of your opinions on that subject.
boltjaM3s commented:
July 10, 2013, 11:32 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by PK2348 View Post
The headline is "talk about improved handling". Silly me, i assumed we are comparing it to F30. So why bring up 60% better than e92? Because it's a coupe or because it sounds impressive? Or is he trying to say that F32 will out handle E92?
I think i know a sales pitch when i hear one. You are free to disagree.
You are also free to pick apart my car and reasons i am driving it, if you have nothing better to do, since i really could not care less of your opinions on that subject.
The BMW manager kind enough to give an interview made an extra note of comparison to help illustrate his point. That besides being a better handler than the F30, it's also a better handler than the E92.

Let's be honest here. You bought an XDrive without DHP and you drive the softest F30 possible and resent it. Please stop slamming every positive about the new BMW models just because you're sour on the configuration that you yourself decided to buy. You've made your point 10x already, move on.

BJ
PK2348 commented:
July 10, 2013, 11:52 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by boltjaM3s View Post
The BMW manager kind enough to give an interview made an extra note of comparison to help illustrate his point. That besides being a better handler than the F30, it's also a better handler than the E92.

Let's be honest here. You bought an XDrive without DHP and you drive the softest F30 possible and resent it. Please stop slamming every positive about the new BMW models just because you're sour on the configuration that you yourself decided to buy. You've made your point 10x already, move on.

BJ

i will ignore this as i have your previous posts to me
jjrandorin commented:
July 11, 2013, 12:26 am

Quote:
Originally Posted by PK2348 View Post
i will ignore this as i have your previous posts to me
Do you have an xdrive without dhp?


Sent from BimmerApp mobile app
solstice commented:
July 11, 2013, 3:00 am

The world is full of sporty coupes, what made BMW special is that they make all their styles wether it's sedans, wagons, coupes and to a slightly lesser extent SuVs near equally sporty. Please BMW do not change this and start making inferior sedans, you have a dedicated crowd that needs four doors or five but want the driving dynamics of a sports car / coupe. I like the old 6 series formula better where style is the differentiator to the 5 not driving dynamics. Big fail in model strategy IMO if the coupes now get superior handling. Unless of course the coupe is just lessons learned from the sedan and the F30 LCI will have the same upgrades. "We only make one thing, the ultimate driving machine". Make it count.
rdkind62 commented:
July 11, 2013, 8:58 am

I do believe that BMW engineers do learn their lessons from one model to the next and I don't think it is their intent to make a "sporty" handling coupe and a lesser handling sedan. I do believe, however, that they went maybe a little too far to the comfort side when they went to the F30 and have realized that they need to stiffen up the suspensions a bit. Hopefully they will bring back the steering feel in the F30 for those that really do want it.
HokieXDriver commented:
July 11, 2013, 9:15 am

Quote:
Originally Posted by rdkind62 View Post
Hopefully they will bring back the steering feel in the F30 for those that really do want it.
The good news is that with electric power steering, a good deal of this can be done with software upgrades.

Personally, I have no gripes with the steering feel, especially since it is adjustable. I tend to notice accuracy more than I notice weight, and the VSS is very accurate even with stock summer performance tires. No doubt even better with Michelin PSS.
Mark K commented:
July 11, 2013, 12:36 pm

Victor sez:
Quote:
"You really do feel substantial difference from F30 to F32. This is car that is standard stiffer and you can really tell. It doesn't take as much body roll as you might expect from the comfort that it provides in the first place.
[cut]
It doesn't feel like the tires are at the limit or the suspension is at the limit. It feels like it's on rails and it's not going to move."
... and people get upset. Imagine that. But hey, at least he never mentioned "underwhelming boat"

All joking aside, it almost got me curious to at least try to drive it. Kudos to Vic. Not that I will ever consider buying it, but I think I will at least test drive it.
thumper_330 commented:
July 11, 2013, 1:20 pm

So far the only bit I don't like is the hood. It looks... lumpy.
Kar Don commented:
July 12, 2013, 1:29 am

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Schott View Post
Frustrating for someone who needs 4 doors to read this from the product manager. It just means that BMW has given up on sporty 4 door cars and seem to think that those of us who need easy access to the back seat don't care about more refined handling. I understand that coupe buyers may be thinking their car is sportier but at least make the F30 Sport suspension as buttoned down as that on the F32.
The coupe has ALWAYS been the sportier version. Going back to E46, coupe had sport suspension std regardless of packages. Maybe we will see a return of the ZHP pkg for the F30 sedan?
chris328 commented:
July 12, 2013, 8:08 am

Despite what any official person from BMW says, they can't change the fact that the entire paradigm has changed.

With the E92, one could argue that it looked different enough to stand on its own as an exclusive looking BMW. This personally is why I loved it. One could even argue that it looked better than the old 5 series. I believe BMW acknowledged this and this is why the new F32 looks like a cheap 5. They dont want people who paid more for the 5 series looking worse than people who paid less for the 4 series.

Unfortunately, instead of making the 5 series look better, they simply made the F32 look worse.

Also, the side profile looks like a mustang. I could really go on all day about what I do not like about the F32.
Michael Schott commented:
July 12, 2013, 8:56 am

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kar Don View Post
The coupe has ALWAYS been the sportier version. Going back to E46, coupe had sport suspension std regardless of packages. Maybe we will see a return of the ZHP pkg for the F30 sedan?
But this coupe has altered suspension, tracks and center of gravity. In the past, a sedan could be equipped exactly as a coupe. This is no longer the case.
SamS commented:
July 14, 2013, 12:25 am

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Schott View Post
Frustrating for someone who needs 4 doors to read this from the product manager. It just means that BMW has given up on sporty 4 door cars and seem to think that those of us who need easy access to the back seat don't care about more refined handling. I understand that coupe buyers may be thinking their car is sportier but at least make the F30 Sport suspension as buttoned down as that on the F32.
The F36 will be the perfect car for you
Hound Passer commented:
July 15, 2013, 9:55 am

I'm not really sure how to interpret. Does this mean the electric steering in the F32 is closer to the feel of E92/3 than F30 or just empty marketing words? I've driven an F30 Sport and an F25 non-sport and both were looser and less tactile than I prefer -- less so in sport mode on both, but still nothing like my E93.
jwac commented:
July 16, 2013, 4:01 am

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Schott View Post
In the past, a sedan could be equipped exactly as a coupe. This is no longer the case.
Actually, that's never been true, even on the E46. Back when I was shopping the E92 vs E90 I made sure to dig into the detail differences-

- Lower hip point and CG in the coupe. Driving position is a bit different.
- Higher chassis rigidity in the coupe largely due to an extra U-brace
- Slightly firmer steering effort in the coupe
- Different exhaust system tuning on the 335i coupe vs 335i sedan, much different sound. E92 is louder and throatier
- 19" wheels not available on sedan
- 335is model offered on the E92 and E93 body style only

And there were some exclusive coupe/vert features:
- LED angel eyes and brake lights (LCI)
- Extra ambient lighting in the doors, pop-out door pockets, seatbelt assistant, front park assist on M Sport
- Unique aluminum interior and anthracite bamboo trim options

I'm sure I'm forgetting a few things as it's been awhile, but I'm not at all surprised the 4-Series has deviated further.
-=Hot|Ice=- commented:
July 16, 2013, 5:45 am

Quote:
Originally Posted by tim330i View Post
Too bad you guys are so cynical about Victor. He genuinely believes what he said in the interview. Yes he has the talking points nailed but he believes what he is saying.

Tim
Tim, BMW has been saying this for some time now, and honestly, I don't feel like they've improved anything. The M Sport F30 while better then the rest, still doesn't invoke a lot of confidence. Honestly, it's come to - I'll believe it when I drive it kind of deal. Never did I think that I would say 3 series and body roll in the same sentence, but the F30 3 series has tons of body roll, and I don't see that changing with the F32.
Crzy'boutBimmer commented:
July 16, 2013, 10:23 pm

By renaming coupes as 4-series, BMW has lost its individuality! it's shown the world how desperately its trying to follow into Audi's footsteps - A4;A5, A6;A7,... tch tch! Bimmer coupes are already different from sedans, all E92 and previous owners know it.. Why then rename it to 4-series? Does BMW want to try and grab Audi's clientele? Seriously, originality is getting extinct these days..
Kayani_1 commented:
July 17, 2013, 1:42 am

To me the 4 series from its concept to its current form is a huge disappointment exterior styling wise.

They took everything that made the concept 4 series stand out and turned it into more dull. The production version rear end lower bumper area looks blah and ditto for non-M-sport front bumper.

Also, him mentioning that the F32 will drive better then F30. I hope so because the F30 seems too soft core and heavily criticized recently for its handling and steering feel/feedback.

I hope they fix the garbage EPS steering setup.

I am not even so sure if that is fully possible. Even the Porsche EPS setup which is way better then the BMW setup lacks in pure driving sensations that their hydraulic setup provided for years.

It is like putting a pair of driving gloves on your hand and then blowing air on it and hope you can feel the sensation of cooling effect.