Sharing much common character with the Concept 4 Series Coupe that was revealed in Detroit last January, the all-new 2014 BMW 4 Series has been officially revealed. This de facto replacement for the current 3 Series Coupe goes on sale here in late summer in base, Sport, Limited or more performance-biased M Sport trim configurations. Beyond adopting BMW's new family nomenclature, this striking 2-door represents an impressive elevation of the package from the standpoint of both design and dynamics.
Like the one-off Concept 4, this new volume-build Coupe is based on the latest 3 Series Sedan platform. Modestly longer, lower and wider than the current 3 Series Coupe, it boasts an additional 2.0-inches of wheelbase as well as significantly wider track dimensions that give it a more planted look add stability. The front fascia on the 4 Series puts its own, more aggressively sophisticated spin on classic BMW design cues, subtly integrating its forward-canted twin-kidney grille with recast quad-headlamps, including new optional full-LED units. Like the Concept 4, it also features subtle Air Curtain slots that improve overall flow characteristics as well as Air Breathers on the front fenders that reduce downstream drag around the wheel arches. A flowing roof that emphasizes the wedge-shaped profile resolves into the car's short deck in near-fastback fashion. Collectively, those elements combine to give the new 4 Series an exemplary 0.28 coefficient of drag as well as aero lift characteristics equal to the current M3 Coupe.
That parity of form and function in the new 4 Series carries over to what you can't see, as well. Far more extensive use of high-strength steel helps bump rigidity in the front structure by 60 percent while contributing to as much as a 99-pound reduction in overall curb weight compared to the current 3 Series Coupe. The car also features wind-cheating underbody fairings as well as Auto Start Stop and Brake Energy Regeneration systems plus energy-saving on-demand operation of various ancillary devices.
At launch, this new BMW will be available with a pair of familiar 3 Series TwinPower Turbo engines and transmission combos. The rear-drive 428i and all-wheel-drive 428i xDrive will be fitted with the automaker's 2.0-liter/240-horsepower force-fed 4-cylinder, while the 435i/435i xDrive packs BMW's 300-horse/3.0-liter T-charged inline-6. Either can be paired with a standard 8-speed automatic or no-cost optional 6-speed manual (not available on the 428i xDrive). BMW says that the 428i can sprint 0-60 mph in 5.7 seconds and the 435i will hit that mark in 5.0 seconds with the autoshifter and 5.3 ticks with the manual transmission. Top speed in all models when equipped with the available summer performance tires is electronically limited to 155 mph.
While sharing much basic chassis design with the 3 Series Sedan, the aluminum-intensive suspension hardware on the new 4 Series Coupe has been specifically tuned for this application. In addition to its 50/50 weight distribution, reduced ride height gives this new BMW the lowest center of gravity of any model in the automaker's lineup. The standard Servotronic power steering in the 4 Series can be upgraded with even more responsive Variable Sport Steering as part of the available Dynamic Handling Package, while the M Sport trim grade brings both a conventional sport suspension (rear-wheel-drive models only) as well upgraded M Sport brakes that can be had as a bare option on any 435i or on any M Sport-spec 428i model. Additionally, non-xDrive cars can be fitted with the primo full Adaptive Suspension as part of the Dynamic Handling Package.
All versions of the new 4 Series also get BMW's Driving Experience Control with Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and ECO PRO modes that tweak various powertrain and chassis settings to suit a given driver's preference. When that choice happens to be mileage maxing, BMW says the ECO PRO setting can cut fuel use by up to 20 percent.
Inside, the new 4 Series continues with the driver-centric theme seen in all BMWs -- and most directly the latest 3 Series Sedan. Save for specific base/Sport/Luxury/M Sport trim elements, there's little to differentiate it from the 4-door up front. It's a different matter in the aft quarters, where a 40/20/40 flat-folding bench features unique contouring that endows the two outboard seating positions with a bucket-like character. All 4 Series models will come with 10 years of eCall and enhanced Automatic Collision Notification, as well as BMW Teleservice. This new Coupe also will get the latest iDrive 4.2 system, and models with the optional navigation package will have the new Touchpad-enhanced controller. Other available features include the latest-generation high-res Head-Up Display, Active Driving Assistant collision warning, Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go Function, Active Blind Spot Detection, Lane Departure Warning, Parking Assistant and Surround View Cameras as well as High Beam Assistant with intelligent control for cars fitted with the LED headlamps.
Pricing for the 2014 BMW 428i Coupe will start at $41,125 and the 435i Coupe opens at $46,924. Adding xDrive to either will bump those figures by $2,000. The new 4 Series Coupe is expected to be joined by a Convertible sibling late this year.
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