It is not everyday that we get to see BMW release a whole new Series. In fact, (X and Z models aside) there were no changes to the 1, 3, 5, 6, and 7-Series lineup for decades. Unsurprising then, it caused a huge stir in the automotive world when BMW announced that they will be replacing the 3-Series coupe with a whole new model called the 4-Series.
If you are a Chinese, the number 4 may not be very appealing, but I guess BMW have no other choice as the number 5, 6, and 7 had already been taken, and calling it a 3.5-Series or anything else would just don’t make sense or silly.
So what’s wrong with the 3-Series coupe nomenclature? Nothing wrong at all, but the car is supposed to be a more premium offering, and including the number “3” in the name will not justify its premium image BMW wants it to be.
BMW is not alone though, Mercedes-Benz did a similar thing when replacing the CLK-Class. The CLK name was dropped and in came the E-Class coupe. Yes it does look like a very sexy E-Class even though it is actually based on the cheaper C-Class. But hey, it still looks like an E-Class from the outside which meant it can also be priced like one too. In fact, the future replacement of the outgoing CL-Class will also be renamed as the S-Class coupe. See where this is going?
So naturally you will expect the 4-Series to be more pricey than its predecessor, and surprise surprise, it is! However it is complicated when you try to compare the prices between the now-defunct 3-Series coupe as well as the 4-Series coupe as both are offered here in different variants.
The only model variant we could directly compare their prices will be between the 335i coupe M-Sport and the new 435i M-Sport. Costing around RM499k and RM526k respectively, the price increase is pretty noticeable. Your BMW salesperson will most likely attempt to justify the higher price by saying it’s a whole new model, totally unrelated to the 3-Series, simply because the name said so.
Only two variants of the Four will be available here. The cheapest one being the 428i coupe with an on-the-road price of RM358,800 (USD 113,383) and comes only in Sport Line trim. Next up the line is of course the aforementioned 435i coupe which will cost RM525,800 (USD 166,156) and will come with the full M-Sport treatment as standard.
This means you not only get the more sporty bodykit, but also tasty-looking 19-inch BMW M Double-spoke light alloy wheels, beefier M-Sport brakes, and also the stiffer but adaptive M-Sport suspension. Let’s hope the stiffer suspension does not sacrifice too much ride comfort in favour of better handling, in which no customer would even come close to exploit.
Now back to technical stuff. The “base” 428i coupe is powered by BMW’s TwinPower turbocharged, 4-cylinder, 2.0 liter petrol engine producing 245hp and 350 Nm of torque. The 435i on the other hand, gets the more potent 3.0 liter, 6-cylinder petrol engine producing 306hp and 400 Nm of torque. Both variants feature the same limited top speed of 250km/h.
As for the interior, the 435i gets a posher and sportier interior theme with “Aluminium Hexagon” finish on the dashboard as well as the lovely to hold M-Sport leather steering wheel. It may be called the 4-Series, but current-gen 3-Series owner will feel at home here as it does look and feel similar.
Naming this car as a whole new Series, I was surprised BMW did not took this golden opportunity to make its design (both in & out) unique which will stand out from the BMW range. It just look too similar to the 3-Series sedan that keeping with the 3-Series coupe name would have done it more justice. In fact, many might just find it better looking if it’d kept the 3-Series coupe name because we would only compare it to the 3-Series sedan, and not as a completely new BMW model.
Nevertheless, the 4-Series looks good in person. Not stunningly beautiful, but handsome and smart-looking. The 435i M-Sport shown at the launch event in stunning Estoril Blue paint looked very attractive especially under the stage lighting. Being a brand new car with perfectly polished body sure helped.
The other two models on display were the cheaper 428i Sport Line. One in Alpine White (white) and the other is in a very unique shade of grey which is almost brown-like Mineral Grey paint. Lighting was especially poor on that two cars that’s why you won’t see much photos of them here. A deliberate plan to lead us media to take more photos of the more attractive 435i M-Sport? Haha!
Anyways, being a two-door coupe, you would expect the rear accommodation to be compromised for passengers. In this case, the 4-Series will prove you wrong. It does take some time to get the electronically-adjustable front seats to move (a problem further emphasized if it’s raining), but once adjusted and seats folded forwards, full sized-adult passengers will have no problem getting comfortable in the rear seats.
Both rear head and leg room are generous and seats are comfy and supportive. You can undoubtedly take on a road trip with four adults on-board comfortably, and the 435i’s standard, 16-speakers, Harman Kardon Surround Sound system should keep them well entertained. The 428i gets “only” 9-speakers.
The BMW 4-Series is a very well-rounded vehicle packed in a stylish coupe body. Its sleek coupe lines, lack of rear doors, and sporty character may give people the impression of compromise in favour of style. However, after my brief encounter inside the high-quality cabin, it is more spacious than its looks suggests.
Just like all BMW, I’m sure it will drive great but do not expect it to be a proper track weapon even with the M-Sport suspension. Look at it as more of a very capable, sporty grand tourer than a full-on sports car. You will have to wait for the 420hp M4 if you are looking for the latter. Better start saving up.