Back when the BMW 4 Series was first beginning to show itself in pre-production form, there were rumors that it would be more of a small GT car, a miniature 8 Series if you will. Rather than act as the sportier alternative to the 3 Series, it was said that the 4er would be more of a competent but comfortable cruiser. After hearing the responses from pre-production drives, however, it sounds as if those rumors were without merit. According to this recent Car and Driver review, the new 4 Series feels much sportier than its three-door sibling.

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BMW already released some of the 4 Series’ mechanical info, such as its increased negative camber, slightly sharper steering and lower center of gravity. According to C&D, all of those changes are felt and noticed.

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If you’re hoping that the new 4er will feel sharp and sporty, you’re in luck. As per C&D’s Jens Meiners, “The steering is ultra-precise and rather direct but has a more natural feel than before. Switching the steering to Sport increases effort significantly. It’s a good setup for a sporty coupe, and it fits this car’s character.” Sounds encouraging.

One interesting point to note, the newly revised stability control will allow for surprising drift angles before kicking in and saving the day. That just shows BMW’s intent with the 4 Series. If its willing to allow for more slip-angle, the brand clearly feels the 4er is a sports car, not a sporty GT car.

You also get to hear about the BMW 430i in this review, whereas most other reviews focused on the M440i. The former of which is actually quite a surprising little car, with its 2.0 liter turbocharged four-pot providing ample power and a surprisingly good sound (however fake it may be). Obviously, the stand-out of the review was the M440i, though. Its brilliant B58 inline six — now with 48-volt mild-hybrid tech — never fails to impress and that was the case for C&D as well.

BMW 4 Series Prototype 41 830x553

Ultimately, it’s safe to say that things are looking good for the next-gen BMW 4 Series. It seems to be sportier than the 3 Series and nicer to drive than expected. Now, we just have to wait to see what it looks like…

[Source: Car and Driver]