Denial is not just a river in Egypt. The BMW 3 Series Coupe that we've known and loved for decades has just become the 2014 BMW 4 Series. Why the name change? Because BMW wants you to think that the 2014 4 Series is more special than the plebian four-door 3 Series. To that effect, Bimmer is taking the Spinal Tap approach with the 4. "The new 4 Series Coupe represents something more than its BMW 3 Series cousins," says the press release, "[A] 3+1, if you will." That logic parallels Spinal Tap's Nigel Tufnel's explanation as to why his amps go up to 11 instead of the usual 10 -- "Well, it's one louder, isn't it? It's not ten…these go to eleven."
Despite the Spinal Tap nomenclature, the new two-door certainly looks sharper than the related 3 Series. The production 4 Series looks virtually identical to the striking concept we first saw in January at the 2013 Detroit auto show. It gets the same slightly-raked 3 Series-inspired front-end, large air intake, flared wheel arches, L-shaped taillights and "Air Breathers" and "Air Curtains" as the concept. As we mentioned in our look at the 4 Series Concept, the Air Breathers and Air Curtains are just fancy names for aerodynamic aids that help improve the 4 Series' aerodynamic qualities, giving it a claimed 0.28 Cd; the only thing breathing in the 2014 4 Series will be its engine and occupants.
Size-wise, the 2014 4 Series rides on the same 110.6 in wheelbase as the 3 Series, is 0.1 inches longer, 2.7 inches wider, and just 0.6 inches lower than the sedan. Thanks to the widened track and lower roofline, BMW says the 4 Series has the lowest center of gravity of any car currently in its lineup.
Under the hood the new 4 Series Coupe sports the familiar "TwinPower" turbocharged I-4 and I-6 engines, eight-speed automatic and six-speed manual transmissions, and rear- or all-wheel drive. The quick-shifting automatic will be standard, with the manual available as a no cost option. The 2014 428i gets the 328i's 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4, which makes an identical 240 hp and 255 lb-ft of torque. The 2014 435i gets the 335i's 3.0-liter turbocharged I-6, which makes 300 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque. BMW expects the 428i to accelerate from 0-60 mph in 5.7 seconds with either transmission (matching our test figures for the 328i), while the 430i will accelerate from 0-60 mph in 5.3 seconds with the manual and 5.0 seconds with the automatic. We've achieved a 4.7 second 0-60 mph run for the criminally-underrated 335i with the automatic, so we wouldn't be surprised to see a 4.5 second run out of the 435i. Max speed for both 428i and 435i is an electronically-limited 155 mph.
Both 4 Series cars will get the 3 Series' familiar EfficientDynamics systems and drive modes. Though BMW has yet to release the 4 Series' EPA ratings, we expect the 428i to net around 22/34 mpg city/highway depending on transmission and drivetrain, and the 435i to get around 20/30 mpg on the EPA cycle.
BMW didn't change much to the 4 Series' suspension in its transformation from the 3 Series other than fitting firmer shocks and springs, revising its spring and damping rates, bushings and bearings, and adding stiffer anti-roll bars. For those looking for more out of their 'Ultimate Driving Machine,' Bimmer is offering two sport suspensions on the 4 Series – an adaptive sport suspension as part of the Dynamic Handling Package, and an even stiffer M Sport suspension. The latter also includes 18-inch lightweight alloy wheels (optional 19-inch wheels are available on the 435i). Other M Sport gear includes the optional M Sport Brake kit, which features blue four-piston aluminum fixed calipers up front and two-piston units in the rear, paired with large discs.
As with the 3 Series, the automaker will offer a variety of BMW Lines for the 4 Series: Sport Line, Luxury Line, and M Sport, all of which add unique exterior and interior trim to the car. The Luxury Line adds chrome touches to the BMW signature kidney grille, window trim and rear bumper, as well as adds twin chrome exhaust tips. Luxury Line 4 Series models also get unique multi-spoke wheels. The chrome treatment continues inside with chrome trim on the center stack, though BMW breaks it up with "Ash Grain fine wood" trim.
2014 BMW 4 Series Sport Line models, on the other hand, get the same treatment as the 3 Series Sport Line models – the exterior gets black trim in the grille and on the B-pillars, black exhaust tips, and with the 4 Series-specific Air Breathers also getting blacked-out touches. The 4 Series Sport Line gets the 3 Series Sport Line's lightweight five-spoke alloy wheels, black and red interior trim, and the aforementioned sport suspension.
For those that can't wait until the 2015 BMW M4 makes its debut, Bimmer is offering the M Sport line on the 2014 4 Series. The M Sport Line includes the aforementioned M Sport suspension, brake kit, and wheels, as well as a unique front bumper with larger air intakes, side skirts, a rear diffuser, and M Sport-specific Estoril Blue Metallic paint. Inside the M Sport gets an M-designed steering wheel and foot rest.
As expected, the 2014 4 Series is available with the same tech as its sedan counterpart. Optional equipment includes navigation, a heads-up display, Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go (which allows the car to essentially drive autonomously in stop and go traffic), and your standard assortment of blind spot and lane departure warning systems. The latest itineration of iDrive is also available on the new 4 Series Coupe, which gives the driver online access, advanced real-time traffic info, and a touchpad integrated on top of the iDrive controller.
The new 2014 BMW 4 Series is expected to hit showrooms late this summer with a $41,425 base price for the rear-drive 428i, and a $46,925 sticker for 435i with rear-wheel drive, including destination and handling. With BMW's xDrive all-wheel drive system the 428i's price jumps to $43,425, and the 435i's price creeps up to $48,925.
The 2014 4 Series Coupe only represents BMW's first 4 Series salvo. With 4 Series 'is one better' ideology than the 3 Series, we can just see an M4, a 4 Series Convertible, and possibly even a 4 Series Gran Coupe on the horizon. Get ready, the 4 Series is coming, and it'll be exactly one better than you ever imagined.
2014 BMW 4 Series
|Vehicle Layout:||Front engine, RWD/AWD, 4-pass, 2-door coupe|
|Engine:||2.0L/240-hp/255-lb-ft turbo DOHC 16-valve I-4; 3.0L/300-hp/300-lb-ft turbo DOHC 24-valve I-6|
|Transmission:||8-speed automatic; 6-speed manual|
|L x W x H:||182.6 in x 71.9 in x 53.6 in|
|0-60 MPH:||5.0-5.7 sec (mfr est)|
|EPA City/HYW Fuel Econ:||20-23/30-33 mpg|
|On Sale:||Summer 2013|