Right below the almighty M4 sits the BMW 435i Coupe, a powerful machine which coupled with the M Sport Package and the xDrive system, is fast enough for many BMW enthusiasts out there.
When BMW launched the 4 Series last year, it not only introduced an exciting design but also a new numeric nomenclature as a response to the market’s demands and direction. Following the steps of the Audi A5, the two-door extension of the A4 Sedan, the new 4 Series Coupe uses the F30 3 Series sedan as a starting point.
While the design is based of the F30 sedan, the F32 4 Series Coupe is a far more attractive, premium looking automobile that also comes with a premium price.
After our short first drive of the BMW 435i rear-wheel drive model back in 2013 at Estoril, Portugal, we took ownership for a week of BMW 435i xDrive with M Sport Package and the Alpine White color. Our goal was to see how the 4 Series Coupe handles as a daily driver and if we can live with a two-door car. More on that a bit later.
Same DNA, different personalities
Compared to the 3 Series Sedan, the two-door model stands out with some underbody work praised by the BMW engineers. The folks responsible for the chassis has told last year that the 4 Series Coupe comes with a reworked chassis and different driving dynamics than the four-door sedan.
Though the new 4 Series wheelbase is 50 mm longer than the outgoing E92 3 Series Coupe, the BMW 4 Series has the same 110.6” wheelbase as the existing 3 Series sedan. Its overall length, 182.7 inches, is just a hair longer that the F30 sedan by 0.2”. The new 4 Series overall height is 53.6 inches. This is lower than the existing 3 Series sedan by 2.7” and the E92 3 Series coupe by .63”, giving the car a more dynamic and sporty stance. The 4 Series Coupe is also 0.3 inches wider at the front than the sedan (60.8 inches) while in the back is two inches wider.
Until the M4 Coupe arrived, the 4 Series Coupe was regarded as the BMW with the lowest center of gravity in the current lineup.
Furthermore, the German engineers have done some extensive work on the suspension by changing the settings of the springs, dampers and camber angles and strengthened the front section, while also adding two braces between the front subframe and the body. Driving the car on the terrible Chicago roads, makes you feel the stiffer ride when compared to the E92 coupe – BMW says 60 percent stiffer.
While most of the time we LOVE to ride in the Sport+ mode, this time around we found ourselves using the Comfort mode more often than we would like, a setting that we weren’t fond of in the past. This proves that with all their new models, BMW is looking to cater to a wider demographic that enjoys a comfortable ride just as much as a sporty one. Luckily with a push of a button, the car’s character changes in a pinch of a second.
The xDrive system does wonders with the grip and winter comes it would prove to be a great ally in overcoming the monstrous Chicago winters, but in the summer, the added weight might put off some of the enthusiastic drivers. The curb weight of the BMW 435i xDrive with M Sport package is 3,735 lbs, nearly 200 lbs more than the rear-wheel drive version.
The unbeatable six-cylinder
With the risk of sounding off as fanboy, we can say that BMW’s 3.0-liter turbocharged engine is the best in the business. Whichever model is the N55 powerplant used in, the engine never disappoints and in a lighter car, stands out even more. It has never been the most powerful, nor the most economical or most space efficient six-cylinder, but the balance achieved has been remarkable. It doesn’t let you down when you need to push close to 6,000 RPM and it doesn’t break your bank when you need to fill up the gas tank.
Its 300 horsepower and 300 lb-ft of torque are paired, in the model we tested, to the award-winning ZF 8-speed automatic, an exceptional transmission which is smooth, fast and fun to use, especially when the car comes with the shift peddles.
One could say that the biggest powertrain issue is that the engine is so terribly vibration-free that you would forget to shift up from fourth.
Now onto the usual suspect that every automotive journalist likes to point out: the steering. Yes, the electric power steering (EPS) suffers a bit compared to its predecessors, it lacks a bit of the road feel and input we all loved in previous bimmers, but truth is that virtually all drivers out there won’t ever notice the difference. Automotive journalists or track people excluded.
As a matter of a fact, we would go as far as saying that the steering was great in helping us avoid all the potholes in Chicago, and believes us, there are more than you can imagine.
Using the 435i xDrive as a daily driver is fun, even when stuck in traffic. The car is always ready-to-go and eager to please, so even short sprints put a smile on our face. It’s a looker for sure, thanks to the classy Alpine White and the aggressive-looking M Sport Package, so you won’t certainly go unnoticed on the road.
Luxury and versatility inside the cabin
The interior design of the BMW 4 Series Coupe mimics the one found in the 3 Series. Not many differences there and lots of familiarity. It is a bit roomier though, especially noticeable for those riding in the back seats. At 6″2 (188 cm) tall, I had no issues with bumping my head or knees against the headlining or seats – 13mm more legroom (0.5 inches).
The trim combinations and different leather choices are some of the subtle things that BMW designers have added to the 4 Series Coupe. While we love all of that and the gadgetry inside the car, we had a much bigger test to put the 435i Coupe through: using it to haul things during an apartment move.
BMW has traditionally charged extra for rear seats that fold forward to expand cargo capacity. Not only is this feature standard on the 2014 4 Series coupe, it has been enhanced. The seat back is split into three sections in a 40:20:40 configuration so that, for example, the middle section can fold down to accommodate longer objects like skis, even with two occupants in the back seat.
In our case, we used the rear space to haul two 50 inch LCD TVs and some other longer objects. Granted, we didn’t use the car for transporting large furniture – who would have – but during two roundtrips we managed to carry about 12 large small and large boxes, using the front passenger seat as well.
Is the car ideal for moving? Will it replace your U-Haul truck? Not even close, but we aimed to show its versatility and our perseverance to make the best of it.
All at a price though: looking extremely weird in front of our neighbors while offloading the beautiful 435i xDrive with California license plates.
Should I buy one?
The BMW 435i xDrive is a great all-rounder and despite the high price tag, it’s a coupe that everyone should consider. We drove an Audi S5 last year and we came back impressed with the overall package and its attractive price point, but the BMW 435i is a strong contender and we believe the final purchasing decision will come down to sales price, rather than performance or amenities. With some aggressive BMW financing programs in place and choosing the right amount of options, the monthly price won’t differ much from the S5.
We believe that the F32 4 Series Coupe will excel in sales and in time, pass the number of units sold compared to the previous generation E92 3 Series Coupe. So if you’re still in doubt, jump behind the wheel of a 435i, either with all-wheel drive or rear-wheel drive, and see how it feels.
Base Price: $48,925 (Destination & Handling included)
As-Tested Price: $63,725
Drivetrain: 3.0-liter turbocharged I6; AWD, six-speed manual
Output: 300 hp @ 5,800-6,000 rpm, 300 lb-ft @ 1,300-5,000 rpm
Curb Weight: 3,735 lb
Fuel Economy (EPA City/Highway/Combined): 20/28/23 mpg[PHOTOS: Johan Lee Photgraphy]