BMW 4 Series Review: BMW Raises the Bar with 435i Coupe
14 November 2014 - Shawn Jooste
BMW have made some bold moves of late, and one of the biggest and boldest has been to split it’s range of cars. We now have a lot of ranges in the BMW family. Traditionally we had odd numbers, 1,3,5,7 with the odd special edition (think 635ci) in between. Then we got the 6 a few years ago, and the 6 Series is already in its second model.
So BMW have seen fit to bestow on us more even numbers. We now have a 2 and 4 series.
We spent some time with the 4 series, which is actually a 3 series with less doors. But it’s also not. After a couple of days behind the wheel of a 435i, we came away with a couple of interesting conclusions.
The 35i badge is prevalent throughout the entire BMW range. And for good reason, it’s a good engine. 3.0-litre inline-six, twin turbo kicking out 225kW. It’s rear wheel driven, so with that much power under the hood being pushed backwards it’s quite easy to light up the rear tyres, which we may or may not have done a few times.
The 8 speed auto ‘box does a superb job of running you through the gears. And honestly, gear changes are hardly noticeable. Auto ‘boxes have come a long way over the years, and it seems they’re getting exponentially better with every new model we drive. The 435i is no exception here.
You’d think a 3-litre twin turbo engine wouldn’t be very economical and you’d be wrong. The continued pressure on emission reduction is largely what led BMW to put a turbo in the 435i in the first place, and the result is a powerful car that actually handles consumption very well.
On the open road, you’ll get well below 9 L/100km, although BMW claim 7.2. Once you find a twisty piece of road, and you engage sport mode it climbs somewhat, but that’s to be expected.
You’re in for a treat in the tech department. As per usual you get the iDrive system standard in the 435i, and honestly, it’s the best in the business, hands down. You can control the entire car from there, radio, lights, phone, maps, you name it, it’s in there. All handled via a neat round knob that allows you to seamlessly navigate the system.
The tech under the hood is just as impressive, although less visible. The rear electronic differential is like something from a sci-fi movie. The ability to transfer the power to the back wheels, manage the stability control and generally let you hoon about without killing yourself is very impressive.
No expense was spared in the making of comfort for the 435i. In fact, BMW undergo some rigorous testing to ensure that the ergonomics of the car are just perfect. The result is a cabin that rivals any luxury car on the market.
In the back you have enormous amounts of luxury too, with the full leather treatment, and spaciousness included, despite the car being a 3-door coupe.
It’s a 3-door coupe, not a family wagon. Despite this obvious observation, it’s still quite a big car. Getting into the back does require the front seats to fold forward, but it’s quite roomy at the back once you get in there.
The boot is huge though, properly big. You wouldn’t expect it in a car like this but it’s a welcome surprise.
The 435i is easy to live with on a day to day basis, as long as you don’t need to get people in the back seat 20 times before lunch.
BMW have made a couple of changes to the original 3 Series Coupe, made it more sporty, and somehow, despite sharing a lot of the same DNA, I’d have to say the 4 series looks better. It’s likely just the coupe thing, the two door version that makes the 435i look more slick and streamlined.
I think it’ll take a while for all the new model ranges to resonate with the masses and get them actually buying the cars, but I’m not entirely averse to the new range. The 435i, the first of it’s name, is an excellent car.
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