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2014 BMW 4 Series Review: 435i M Sport Coupe Photo:
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What's Hot
Turbo straight-six performance, dramatic looks, beautiful balance.
What's Not
Options pricing is pretty steep
X-Factor
M4 lookalike that is a beautiful drive but without the fuel and tyre bills.
Peter Anderson | Mar, 08 2014 | 4 Comments

2014 BMW 435i REVIEW

Vehicle Style: 2 door sports coupe
Price: $108,500 (plus on-roads) | $117,910 as tested
Engine/trans: 220kW/400Nm 6cyl turbo petrol | 8spd auto
Fuel Economy claimed: 7.4 l/100km | tested: 12.5 l/100km

 

OVERVIEW

The 435i marks the start of a new naming convention for BMW, but is, in reality, a continuation of a long line of sporting coupes from the Bavarian master-craftsmen.

Based on the 3 Series, the new 4 Series badge is BMW's way of (supposedly) helping customers understand what they’re buying - but it’s really a way for BMW to use the even numbers.

Whatever, this new 435i is a terrific-looking machine and comes with the best engine currently available in any BMW this side of $200,000.

With a new name and a new face, there is certainly a whole lot to like about what used to be called the 3 Series Coupe.

 

INTERIOR

Quality: As always, there’s little to complain about with the interior.

Almost a straight lift of the 3 Series’ dash, it’s all well constructed, with good hardy materials but the usual hard, slippery leather.

The frameless doors clunk shut and the glass jumps a little higher to seal you in. Everything here is as rock steady as its four-door brother.

And the chunky, slim-spoked M wheel is a delight.

Comfort: While it’s a step down to get into this M Sport equipped 435i, it’s very snug and comfortable once you’re in.

Rear passengers will want to be of the 'under-five-foot' variety, but the snug seats are comfortable nonetheless.

Equipment: The dash is crowned by an 8.8-inch screen with BMW’s ever-improving iDrive controller sporting a touchpad (so you can scribble out place names for the professional grade sat-nav).

There’s also a 600Watt Harmon Kardon-branded 16-speaker stereo, reversing camera, dual-zone climate control, electric leather front seats with driver side memory function, M leather steering wheel, bluetooth, USB, gearshift paddles and a voice control that actually works.

The cruise control has brake function, there are front and rear parking sensors and the brilliant head-up display is one of the best we’ve seen.

Our test car also included the sunroof ($2920), metallic paint ($1840), 40/20/40 split fold seats ($500), heated front seats ($850) and active LED headlights ($3,300!). The LED headlights are pricey but terrific, bathing the way ahead in a cool blue-tinged glow.

Storage: The long doors feature decent-sized storage bins, there’s a shallow bin in the console, dual cupholders with a rubberised cover for your phone, dual cupholders in the back along with a little tray and a good sized glove box.

At 445 litres, the boot volume eclipses the outgoing E92’s and can be extended by dropping the standard 60/40 folding seats.

 

ON THE ROAD

Driveability: The 435i is fitted with BMW’s brilliant 3.0 litre turbo straight six. It suits this car perfectly.

In concert with the eight-speed ZF transmission, the 4 is a delight whether you’re pootling around town or flat to the boards on your favourite bit of road.

The engine is a cheerful, revvy unit, as it is in the 335i and M135i, but has a smoother character than in the very fast 1 Series. Throttle response is great in Sport mode - it is very quick - while a bit mushy in ECO-PRO.

Refinement: Even on big 19-inch alloys and very fat run-flat tyres, the 435i is a quiet, comfortable place to be.

The engine and transmission can’t be faulted for noise, and, right up to the legal limit, wind and road noise are well suppressed. It’s almost a shame you can’t hear the exhaust though.

Occasionally you’ll hear a woofle or whistle from the turbo and, again, it would be nice to be able to hear more.

Ride and Handling: Despite the big wheels and tyres, the 435i rides extremely well and you can sheet that home to the M Adaptive suspension.

In ECO-PRO and Comfort mode, the ride is firm but well-damped. There’s a promising fluidity to the handling though.

Push the button for 'Sport' and the suspension firms up, making it a little busy around town at low speeds. It is perfect though - even on really poor surfaces - once you’ve piled on the speed.

It’s a fantastic car to chuck around, with a low centre of gravity, a nose that will tuck in and a tail that will kick out, all the while with a progressive and balanced feel.

Braking: As always, BMW brakes are excellent for road use. The 435’s have excellent feel and even look good behind the M wheels.

 

SAFETY

ANCAP rating: The 4 Series is yet to be ANCAP tested (but 5-Stars NCAP)

Safety features: Standard is stability and traction control (three modes), ABS, EBD, corner brake control and cruise control with braking function.

The airbag count is six with dual front, side and curtain airbags. The 435i also comes with lane departure warning as an option.

 

WARRANTY AND SERVICING

Warranty: 3 years/100000km

Service costs: BMW’s are serviced on an as-needs basis and several service plans are available.

 

HOW IT COMPARES | VALUE FOR MONEY

Audi S5 ($135,400) - The S5 is the nearest logical competitor in the Audi stable, with a 3.0 litre turbo six, but a Quattro drivetrain to up the grip levels.

The Audi has more power and torque, but weighs more and isn’t as sharp a drive as the 435i. Lovely interior, though. (see A5 reviews)

Mercedes Benz C 350 ($99,545) - More power, less torque and slower to 100km/h, this soon-to-be-replaced C350 is always going to lag.

No turbo, older style interior but despite all that, a very competent and classy car. (see C-Class reviews)

Porsche Cayman ($107,100) - This is possibly stretching it a bit, as the Cayman is short a couple of seats and a whole lot of practicality.

It is, however, a fast, six-cylinder German coupe around the same price as the 435i. It’s the benchmark, but there’s a couple of sacrifices to make. (see Cayman reviews)

Note: all prices are Manufacturer’s List Price and do not include dealer delivery or on-road costs.

 

TMR VERDICT | OVERALL

The sublime 435i has been worth the wait for Australian buyers.

There’s a way to go for both Audi and Mercedes to get close to the balance and fluidity of the 4’s chassis and the lovely punch of BMW’s straight-six.

With both the Audi and the Merc due for a refresh, there’ll be a lot of head-scratching in their respective HQs - the 435i serves as a mildly terrifying preview of the new M4 - how much better can this car get?

Driven with a lighter touch, you will see much closer to BMW’s claimed fuel figures, but this car is far too much fun to drive gently.

It’s another brilliant car from Bavaria.

 

Pricing (excludes on-road costs)

  • BMW 420i Coupe - $69,500
  • BMW 420d Coupe - $71,800
  • BMW 428i Coupe - $80,500
  • BMW 435i Coupe - $108,500 ($117,910 as tested)

 
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