When a long established, popular car maker like BMW changes things up so dramatically, it inevitably draws an emotional response from casual observers to those we might call fanatics. But the reality is that cars like the M3 have found their way into the hearts and minds of enthusiasts the world over. So when BMW wants to drop the whole idea of a 3-Series Coupe, you’d better believe it has something better up its Bavarian sleeves.
BMW 4-Series designThe good news is this whole episode of introducing the all-new BMW 4-Series has been a bit like when Facebook changes layout. Everyone has a small-to-large freak-out for a few weeks and then when we realise the new way is just better, we all seem to get over it and move on with our lives.
Cue the 4-Series. It happens to have the widest hips of any series-production BMW, ever. And it shows. The 4-Series is sexy. Low, wide and sleek, it’s much more sportscar than the 3-Series coupe ever was.
Based on the 3-Series, mostly for cost-saving benefits, the 4-Series runs a wider track, has a lower centre of gravity and of course is more rigid because there are less massive holes in the body work created by those pesky door things.
The result is remarkable. It is taut, eager and effortless up to and almost on the limit, like a true sportscar. It has a serious demeanour but manages to have fun – it’s quite possibly the best 'normal' BMW I’ve ever driven. And that’s saying something.
PracticalityBut living with a sportscar can be a headache. They can be cramped, impractical and expensive to run. And this is why it’s easy to make an argument for buying one of these instead of a traditional sportscar, like a BMW Z4 or Nissan 370Z.
The rear seating in the BMW 435i is generous. Sure, it’s a bit difficult to access, but once you’re in, it’s easily as comfortable, if not more so, then the back of a 3-Series. I don’t know how they’ve done it, but it actually feels more spacious back there.
The boot is large, and with the flick of a conveniently located handle, the seats fold almost flat to offer a massive load space, to fit all sorts of toys. It is very easy to live with, this 4-Series.
BMW 435i powerplantThere is the worry about fuel. That combustible liquid is not cheap anymore and running a sportscar, in my mind at least, is a lot like taking out your wallet and setting it on fire. Step in BMW Driving Experience Control.
All modern cars from the German manufacturer have this feature, but in the BMW 435i with a 225 kW, 400 Nm, 3.0-litre, six-cylinder turbocharged engine, the system seems to be even more impressive, and important. Four driving modes can be flicked through at the touch of a button, from Sport+ through comfort and all the way down to EcoPro. This is the wallet saver.
If you can live with an incredibly dull version of your BMW 435i on shorter, urban drives, you will quite literally halve your fuel consumption. It even tells you how many kilometres you’ve added to the range on your tank. But I warn you, it is exceptionally boring, something I discovered in the video.
RivalsAt the moment, the BMW 435i only really has two main rivals, until the Lexus coupe arrives next year. Until then, in my opinion, BMW has pretty much the perfect recipe in this segment of the market.
|BMW 435i MSport||Audi S5 Coupe||Mercedes C350 Coupe|
|Price||R708 000||R735 000||R637 000|
|Engine||3.0 inline-6 turbo||3.0 V6 Supercharged||3.5 V6 NA|
|Power||225 kW||245 kW||225 kW|
|Torque||400 Nm||440 Nm||370 Nm|
|0 – 100km/h||5.1s||4.9s||6s|
|Top Speed||250 km/h||250 km/h||250 km/h|
|Fuel consumption||7.2l/100km||8.1l/100km||7.0 l/100km|
|Gross weight||2 120 kg||2 175 kg||2 085 kg|