Is the BMW 4-Series coupé just a 3-Series in disguise?

September 5, 2014
With the change of a single digit, BMW has seemingly re-aligned the planets. Or at least that’s what diehard BMW fans will tell you when the company decided that its 3-Series Coupé will now be called the 4-Series while the saloon that it’s based on will remain badged as the 3-Series. Still with me? It’s not that hard, you see there is logic behind this, as originally the 3-Series was one model you could buy with two doors or four and other than the extra rear access, the cars were virtually identical. Fast forward to 2014 and what we see here is the new BMW 435i M coupé and sure, it looks like the 335i saloon it’s based on, but look a little closer and you’ll see that it sits a touch lower, it’s girth is a tad fatter and its wheels front to rear are spread a tiny bit further apart. So in fact, it’s quite a different car and to give it its kudos, it deserves to leave the 3-Series nest and become a model in its own right. bmw4series4 Even more so when you consider the 4-Series has just sprouted the four-door Gran Coupé version, but that’s far too confusing to get into here. The 435i’s bonnet is the only panel that’s been carried over from the four-door version. It’s 25kg lighter, 16mm lower, has 45mm more in the wheelbase and the rear wheels are 80mm further apart, so when you park it next to the 335i, it’s got muscles on muscles, especially over the rear arches. The 3-litre, twin-turbo six is one of the standout engines of the decade but when bolted into this taught body and backed by the latest gen, eight-speed auto, it’s an absolute gem. The power band seemingly never runs out and yet it’s as docile and as compliant as your rental Yaris at walking pace. But smoother, way smoother. It develops 306bhp at 5800rpm and gets to 100kmh in 5.1 seconds and being a BMW coupé, of course it’s driven through the rear wheels only. [gallery link="none" ids="7830,7828,7827,7826"] If there’s a criticism, it’s the same one that’s carried through the full BMW range and it’s the depth you have to delve in the car’s iDrive system to set up the chassis and suspension settings to get it just right. It’s great for it to be that flexible but you need to do it before setting off. Once done though and my faith is restored in what is one of the finest rear-wheel drive chassis on the market today. You can change the badge all you like, but the 3-Series BM and now the 4-Series Coupé continues to be a most rewarding drive. Details: visit bmw-me.com