Long live the BMW 4 Series
PUBLISHED: 16:00 28 August 2013 | UPDATED: 16:00 28 August 2013
The BMW 3 Series Coupé is no more. It's a victim, you see, of BMW's ambitious range extension; from next year the 3 Series range will comprise a saloon, touring estate, GT and Gran Coupé, leaving no room for the pretty little coupe. So BMW has taken a leaf out of the Audi marketing manual and created a new range, the 4 Series, to accommodate it.
BMW has done it properly, as the coupé only shares a bonnet with the 3 Series on which it is based. It’s lighter, wider, lower and stiffer than the 3 Series too, which bodes well for the enthusiastic driver. It also looks sensational; small things carefully executed, adding up to more than the sum of their parts.
BMW has always been a byword for sporting luxury and the interior of the 4 Series reinforces this. You sit low, much lower than you do in the 3 Series. The seats are firm but comfortable and the dashboard controls are immaculately placed and beautifully finished. It feels fast even before you start the engine, which is important; when you are spending so much on a car it must make you feel special, and the BMW does.
It’s a proper four-seater too, with enough legroom that you can actually use it to carry adults as well as children, even if the headroom for rear seat passengers is slightly compromised by that sloping roofline.
On the road the diesel engine (more are on the way in 2014) pulls well and delivers as much power as anyone really needs. The petrol engines are more powerful and more tuneful but, of course, cost more to run. As ever, you pay your money and you make your choice, but most would struggle to justify anything other than the 420d when it pulls this well and sips fuel so cautiously.
The premium over the 3 Series is about £3,000 and whether that represents good value will, inevitably, be a very personal decision. If it helps, I think the 4 Series is a more rounded, more stylish and more complete 3 Series, even if it is slightly less practical.