First impressions: Driving the 2014 BMW 4 Series Coupe

by Bernie McGroarty on July 22, 2013, 2:55 pm
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This past weekend, while many of you were enjoying Bimmerfest East in Aberdeen, Maryland, I was across the pond tracking the elusive 2014 BMW 4 Series Coupe. I say elusive, simply because I personally had yet to drive or actually see the new 4 series in person. Well, that was about to change. This year, Bimmerfest.com got an invite to spend some quality time with the new coupe. The setting: the streets around Lisbon, Portugal, at the 2014 BMW 4 Series Coupe International press launch.

The 4 Series is BMW's latest line of sporty mid-sized coupes, the next step up from the 3 series, something more. The 4 series will be available in the following trims in the US: 428i, 428i xDrive, 435i, and 435i xDrive.

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I picked up the key to the car I would be driving and headed to the garage to check it out. There, BMW had a dramatic audio/visual presentation of the 435i that really played to how striking the car looks. The lowered roofline and the large front air intake, which is stretched to the edges of the front bumper, give the front that wide, low, and aggressive look. That low sloping roofline and pronounced upper door line lead you to the flared rear fenders, then to the stretched rear taillights, which further accentuate the flared fenders and wide, aggressive look. I think my only complaint would be that I would have liked to see a bit more done with the rear bumper. Not anywhere near a deal breaker though.

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The interior looks to have been taken right from the F30. I don't have a problem with that though. It's comfortable, supporting, and quite adjustable. The controls are all within comfortable reach. Looks are spot on too, thanks to the use of quality materials. Not a bad place to spend some time.<br />
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But how does it drive? Well, with Lisbon being one of the oldest cities in the world and the oldest in Western Europe, I had a large variety of road types to work with. There was also no shortage of scenery either. Having the 435i with the 3.0 liter and 300hp on tap made keeping my focus on driving quite a bit easier.<br />
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My drive started out on the highway, leaving the airport, so I played with the Driver Experience Control switch a bit. This car also had the BMW Adaptive Suspension installed. It adapts to the road surface and driving, but can be adjusted further with the Sport and Comfort settings. I started off in Comfort mode. The car felt smooth and handled changes in pavement well. Acceleration and shifting from the 8-speed automatic gearbox were buttery smooth. The variable sport steering had good feel at highway speeds, and a light feel at slower speeds, making for easy city driving. I then found my way off the highway and onto some narrow twisties, on my way to the hotel in Cascais, so I figured I'd been in comfort mode long enough. For these roads, I tried out the sport and sport+ settings, to see what the car could do. This is where the 4 series really started to show some of its personality. Turn-in was quick and precise. There was plenty of tire grip available throughout the turns. The active suspension did a great job of keeping the car sorted over crests and undulations in the road. Gear changes were wicked fast and there was never a shortage of power. This came in handy when overtaking other vehicles on these narrow roads. I found that 4 series braked well too, especially when getting the car slowed for a corner after passing a truck. All in all, it's quite a confidence-inspiring car, able to handle pretty much whatever you throw at it.

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Bottom line: The 2014 BMW 435i is a great package. It draws attention because of its great looks, and it backs those looks with some great performance.

If there are any specific questions on the 4 series you have, feel free to ask.

There is much more on the way, including an article on my track experiences with the 435i at the legendary Estoril Circuit!
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20 responses to First impressions: Driving the 2014 BMW 4 Series Coupe

rdkind62 commented:
July 22, 2013, 6:03 pm

I have read that the seating position is quite a bit lower than in previous versions. Could you notice a real difference in driving position or is this just one of their selling points that really doesn't mount to much?
Powaup commented:
July 22, 2013, 6:15 pm

Did you drive at night? If so what did you think of the LED headlights? Do you feel that the car would be more fun in the narrow twisties with a manual gearbox?
Bernie@Bimmerfest commented:
July 22, 2013, 8:16 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by rdkind62 View Post
I have read that the seating position is quite a bit lower than in previous versions. Could you notice a real difference in driving position or is this just one of their selling points that really doesn't mount to much?
I have also read that the seating position was about 9mm lower than the 3 sedan. I honestly didn't notice a difference. Being vertically challenged, I am usually pretty low in the seat anyway.
Must say, the seats are quite comfortable and hold you in place well during hard cornering though.
Bernie@Bimmerfest commented:
July 22, 2013, 8:54 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by Powaup View Post
Did you drive at night? If so what did you think of the LED headlights? Do you feel that the car would be more fun in the narrow twisties with a manual gearbox?
Sorry, I didn't get to drive it at night, but was presented the car in pretty much darkness in the airport parking garage. They had the outer daytime lights come on and just those put off an impressive amount of light. I'd bet the night lights would be quite bright.
As for the gear box, I'm always going to lean to the manual side, but.... the 8 speed in sport or sport +using the paddles....I couldn't even think of changing gears that quick. I had a blast, big smile on my face. There were some real tight switch back combos, where you would come out of one have a quick straight and back into another. It was nice to go up a gear or two quick and immediately on the brakes and back down. Changes are also incredibly smooth, so less disruption of the car. Sorry got excited...I'd say more fun with the flappy paddles. --can't believe I'm saying that.
Powaup commented:
July 22, 2013, 9:33 pm

More fun with the flappy pedals that's tough considering I was hoping to get a 435 as my first MT before they go extinct. My other choice for my next car would be a CPO e92 m3 so I'd like to ask how does the 4 series compare to an M3?(assuming you've driven one) I know, tough question, both are quite different but in the same price range so as a daily driver and weekend canyon carver will the 4 series be more than enough or should I take the M and pay the premium on gas and tires?
chris328 commented:
July 23, 2013, 11:09 am

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bernie@Bimmerfest View Post

I think my only complaint would be that I would have liked to see a bit more done with the rear bumper. Not anywhere near a deal breaker though.

If there are any specific questions on the 4 series you have, feel free to ask.

I feel the same way about the rear, even the m-sport diffuser imo looks like crap... however BMW may have redeemed itself with the m performance parts, which brings me to my question, it is confirmed that m-performance parts will be available in november? Any pricing details? Will you be able to order m-performance parts with your car, or local dealer install only?

Chris
beware_phog commented:
July 23, 2013, 11:13 am

how much space in the back seat vs the current 3 sedan?
hans007 commented:
July 23, 2013, 11:22 am

Quote:
Originally Posted by chris328 View Post
I feel the same way about the rear, even the m-sport diffuser imo looks like crap... however BMW may have redeemed itself with the m performance parts, which brings me to my question, it is confirmed that m-performance parts will be available in november? Any pricing details? Will you be able to order m-performance parts with your car, or local dealer install only?

Chris
i think my big gripe with the 4 is the rear looks too much like the sedan.

now i have the sedan and i think it looks great on the sedan. but the 6 series rear and 5 series rear are different and the e92/e90 rears were obviously different.

it just doesnt seem different enough i guess. i suppose the E36/E46 coupes and sedans looked pretty similar, but still , this rear end doesnt look quite sleek enough for a coupe.
chris328 commented:
July 23, 2013, 11:47 am

i feel the same way about the rear, and I also felt the same way about the m-sport for the E92. It looked really bland and boring, but the performance diffuser corrected that. This seems to also be the case with the F32 now, here is the stock diffuser which looks so cheap, i almost cant even look at it, it looks like it belongs on a mazda3:



and here is the performance diffuser which looks to actually be an (can you believe it) aesthetic progression from the previous performance diffuser.



i like the look, almost looks maserati-ish. not a fan of the little spoiler and the crease stripes however.
Bernie@Bimmerfest commented:
July 25, 2013, 12:14 am

Quote:
Originally Posted by chris328 View Post
I feel the same way about the rear, even the m-sport diffuser imo looks like crap... however BMW may have redeemed itself with the m performance parts, which brings me to my question, it is confirmed that m-performance parts will be available in november? Any pricing details? Will you be able to order m-performance parts with your car, or local dealer install only?

Chris
I will check into this and get back to you. Sorry for the delay.
beden1 commented:
July 25, 2013, 12:24 am

Quote:
Originally Posted by chris328 View Post
i feel the same way about the rear, and I also felt the same way about the m-sport for the E92. It looked really bland and boring, but the performance diffuser corrected that. This seems to also be the case with the F32 now, here is the stock diffuser which looks so cheap, i almost cant even look at it, it looks like it belongs on a mazda3:



and here is the performance diffuser which looks to actually be an (can you believe it) aesthetic progression from the previous performance diffuser.



i like the look, almost looks maserati-ish. not a fan of the little spoiler and the crease stripes however.
That diffuser on the white car is very similar to the one on my 335is.
chris328 commented:
July 25, 2013, 6:12 am

well thats what i was saying, i have the performance diffuser on mine as well (although it is not a 335is just a 335). similar to how i felt about the 335 m-sport stock diffuser, if i go with this car, it will only be if I can avoid the stock m-sport F32 diffuser (as seen on the blue car above). to me, it looks really cheap and is an insult to anyone spending 50k on a car.
CALWATERBOY commented:
July 25, 2013, 11:08 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bernie@Bimmerfest View Post
This past weekend, while many of you were enjoying Bimmerfest East in Aberdeen, Maryland, I was across the pond tracking the elusive 2014 BMW 4 Series Coupe.

That overbite....Moe? Simpsons?

Other'n that, sweeeet!
pkim1079 commented:
July 26, 2013, 2:00 am

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bernie@Bimmerfest View Post
I have also read that the seating position was about 9mm lower than the 3 sedan. I honestly didn't notice a difference. Being vertically challenged, I am usually pretty low in the seat anyway.
Must say, the seats are quite comfortable and hold you in place well during hard cornering though.
You sure you didnt have to brace yourself against the door with your knee?? Ha
pkim1079 commented:
July 26, 2013, 2:02 am

Quote:
Originally Posted by beden1 View Post
That diffuser on the white car is very similar to the one on my 335is.
The one on the white one i would redo the whole bottom section all the way to the edges in black/cf.

The msport rear - that is a rear bumper NOT a diffuser. Lol.
pkim1079 commented:
July 26, 2013, 2:05 am

Edit
pkim1079 commented:
July 26, 2013, 2:09 am

Quote:
Originally Posted by Powaup View Post
More fun with the flappy pedals that's tough considering I was hoping to get a 435 as my first MT before they go extinct. My other choice for my next car would be a CPO e92 m3 so I'd like to ask how does the 4 series compare to an M3?(assuming you've driven one) I know, tough question, both are quite different but in the same price range so as a daily driver and weekend canyon carver will the 4 series be more than enough or should I take the M and pay the premium on gas and tires?
Get the m3. I did. Its in another league. Now, when the new m3/4 comes out, itll be a little scare but the e9x m3 are the last of the n/a v8 bespoke engine. Find one for less than a new 435 optioned well with low miles!

When i drive my gfs 135i i get horrible mileage. Even she averages 17mpg only. In my M, i average 14 mpg overall (11 city). That difference is neglible to me. And if you really want to save your gas, just dont get high in the revs - but thats not that simple lol.

Bernie, did you get to see chris harris monkey?
pony_trekker commented:
July 26, 2013, 6:49 am

I should have waited for the coupe. To hell with carrying passengers in the back seat. Pshaw.
CALWATERBOY commented:
July 27, 2013, 10:04 am

Quote:
Originally Posted by pkim1079 View Post
Get the m3. I did. Its in another league. Now, when the new m3/4 comes out, itll be a little scare but the e9x m3 are the last of the n/a v8 bespoke engine. Find one for less than a new 435 optioned well with low miles!

When i drive my gfs 135i i get horrible mileage. Even she averages 17mpg only. In my M, i average 14 mpg overall (11 city). That difference is neglible to me. And if you really want to save your gas, just dont get high in the revs - but thats not that simple lol.

Bernie, did you get to see chris harris monkey?

Wow! Low mileage....I blast around but ave 21.2....JB4 helped t'reach that.

Whatsa gfs?


.
Snareman commented:
July 27, 2013, 1:11 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by CALWATERBOY View Post
Wow! Low mileage....I blast around but ave 21.2....JB4 helped t'reach that.

Whatsa gfs?


.
Do you like your JB4? Could you tell a significant difference? My CA was just recommending it the other day.