2013 BMW 4 Series revealed
There’s much more to it, though – BMW is eager to point out – than a new name.
At 464cm long, 136cm high and 183cm wide the well-planted 4 Series is longer, lower and wider than both the old 3 Coupé and the current saloon.
The 4 Series was previewed in concept form at the Detroit motor show in January, and the road version now carries many of its visual cues into production. That means the car gets sharp lines down its bonnet and flanks, a distinctive front bumper, and a boomerang-shaped air-vent behind the front wheels, to aid aerodynamics and improve overall efficiency.
The engine line-up will be familiar to anyone who has studied the latest 3 Series saloon offering: one diesel and two petrol variants which will be available when the car is launched in July. They include a 181bhp 420d, a 242bhp 428i and a 302bhp 435i.
Shortly after the launch a further five models will join the range: the petrol 181bhp 420i in two-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive (xDrive) formats, and the diesel 430d and 435d xDrive. Finally, an xDrive version of the 420d will also be offered.
How will they perform?
The quickest 4 Series will be the 435i, which manages the 0-62mph sprint in just 5.1 seconds when paired with the eight-speed automatic gearbox, while the six-speed manual takes 5.4sec. The 420d manages the same 0-62mph times as the 3 Series, the manual taking 7.5sec and the auto 7.3.
Currently, BMW says, there are no plans to offer any smaller engine than the 420d’s, so it’s likely that this will be the most fuel-efficient model. As the engine has been adopted unchanged from the outgoing 3 Series Coupé, CO2 emissions have not been drastically reduced.
The manual model drops only 1g/km to 124g/km, while fuel economy is 60.1mpg. The most efficient model is likely to be the automatic 420d with emissions down to 121g/km and economy up to 61.4mpg.
The 4 Series will be offered from launch in a choice of five trim levels – SE, Sport, Modern, Luxury and M Sport. Prices are marginally higher than the 3 Series Coupe's, but BMW claims the increases are offset by improved specifications.
The predicted bestseller, the 420d, rises by £540 to a starting price of £31,575 in SE trim. Sport and Modern trims add £1500, while the Luxury is £2500 more and the M Sport £3000 more than SE. Pricing for the remaining models, including the entry-level 420i and the four-wheel-drive xDrive models, will be announced closer to the car's debut at the Frankfurt motor show in September.
All cars come well-equipped as standard, and even the basic SE gets a 6.5-inch infotainment screen, Bluetooth, cruise control, electrically heated front seats, a multi-function steering wheel, 17-inch alloy wheels and front and rear parking sensors.
Every other model has 18-inch alloy wheels and sports seats, while the Luxury and M Sport add BMW’s business media package, which includes an upgraded navigation system and the diagnostics system that allows the dealer to work out problems with a customer’s car remotely.
Which options make most sense?
Option prices are the same for the 4 Series as they are on the current 3 Series. If the coupé is anything like the saloon, then the extras that are best to look out for are
the eight-speed automatic gearbox at £1550 and adaptive suspension at £750.
Inside, rear-seat passengers will enjoy a 12mm boost in legroom, although headroom is unchanged. Boot capacity is also unchanged at 440 litres, but the new coupé gets 60/40 split folding rear seats as standard, while a 40/20/40 split available as an option.
The 4 Series Convertible is set to join the range about six months after the coupé’s arrival. This model is expected to have a folding hard-top and should offer exactly the same range of engines and trims, while adding a few styling tweaks of its own.
Finally, the turbocharged M4 performance model is due a few months after the Convertible. It will take on a few more styling tweaks and is expected to join the 4 Series range at the same time as the M3 saloon arrives.
The standard 4 Series will make its official public debut at the Frankfurt motor show in September, ahead of the first customer deliveries on October 5.
By Tom Webster