When we first started seeing spy photos of the newly-released BMW 4 Series, clad in camouflage, we thought it looked like a mini-8 Series. Moreover, we had heard rumors that it would actually drive like a baby 8 Series as well. Turns out, neither of those were exactly accurate. BMW claims the new 4 Series to be more of a sports car than anything else and we now know that its styling is not a direct carryover from the 8 Series. So we thought we’d put together a side-by-side comparison to see how the two BMW coupes differ.
Let’s get the faces of both cars out of the way first. Up front, the 4 Series makes the 8 Series positively tame. When the 8er first debuted, it was said to have had massive grilles. Now, it looks reserved and understated compared to its younger sibling. The 4 Series’ monstrous kidney grilles are comically disproportionate and the 8er’s are far more normal. That said, the 4 Series headlights are far prettier and more interesting and it does look sportier than its older sibling. So BMW nailed that aspect of it.
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In profile, the two cars are similar but not identical. BMW has done a good job of differentiating the two cars well enough that it doesn’t look like the 8 Series is just a stretched 4 Series. That was wise, too, as the more similar the two cars are, the less likely customers will opt for the more expensive car. And BMW is having a hard time selling 8 Series’ as it is. The 8er is longer, a bit more muscular and a bit more athletic looking. While the 4 Series is actually a bit smoother and prettier. Both have accentuate rear wheel arches but the 8 Series’ hips are more pronounced than the 4 Series’. Still, both cars look great from the side, as it’s both cars’ best angle.
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Out back, the 8 Series is a bit subtler, a bit more subdued than the 4 Series, which is a bit more stylish and sporty looking. It’s hard to say which one is better looking, as they’re surprisingly more distinct than we thought they’d be. Though, the 8 Series’ hips, and the way they stick out past the C-pillars, is really sexy, more so than on the 4 Series.
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We won’t actually compare interiors because it’s not really fair to compare the cabins of two different cars with $40,000 in between them. Though, if I’m being honest, the comparison would probably hurt the 8 Series more, as it’s not different enough to justify its price tag.
In the end, we’re happy that the 4 Series is different enough looking from the 8 Series that it doesn’t seem as if they’re cookie-cutter designs.