2015 BMW 4 Series
2015 BMW 4 Series
A new BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe body style joins the BMW 4 Series for 2015, which comprises a beautiful lineup of two-door coupes and convertibles.
The BMW 4 Series was introduced for the 2014 model year as the successor to the 3 Series coupe, part of a move to use even numbers for two-door models and odd numbers for four-door models. However, the logic of the new nomenclature goes out the window with the 2015 BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe, a four-door hatchback. The 4 Series Gran Coupe offers easy rear-seat access and increased cargo space, with the coupe's more tailored silhouette.
The 4 Series two-door coupe and convertible models continue for 2015, with only a few minor changes to features, packaging and options. Notably, Bluetooth streaming audio capability is now standard on all models.
Built on the same architecture as the 3 Series, the 4 Series models ride on the same 110-6-inch wheelbase as the 3 Series sedans, but are slightly wider. Gran Coupe models are about an inch-and-a-half lower, while coupes and convertibles are nearly two inches lower.
Two engine choices are available in all 4 Series body styles: The BMW 428i uses BMW's turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4 that makes 240 horsepower and 255 pound-feet of torque. The more powerful BMW 435i coupe and BMW 435i Gran Coupe use a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6 good for 300 hp and 300 lb.-ft. of torque. The 4 Series models can also be fitted with BMW's xDrive all-wheel drive.
We like the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine and find it superbly capable in most driving environments, both in BMW 428i coupe and BMW 428i Gran Coupe variants. It's efficient, and is just as content when commuting as a long road trip. The limits of four-cylinder engine become apparent only in the most demanding situations, such as passing while traveling up a steep grade at high speeds. Only then will it become apparent that the powertrain is working hard, with the accompanying whine to prove it. But with admirable EPA fuel economy ratings of 23/35 mpg City/Highway for the BMW 428i with the automatic transmission, this car makes the most sense for the majority of drivers.
Still, the turbocharged inline-6 used in the BMW 435i coupe, BMW 435i convertible, and BMW 435i Gran Coupe is by far the most fun, with plenty of power for dashing around mountain roads. Power delivery is smooth and linear, even at higher elevations (where older turbocharged engines can sometimes gasp for breath in the thin air). Fuel economy for the rear-wheel-drive BMW 435i Coupe with the automatic transmission is 22/32 mpg City/Highway. The 8-speed automatic transmission is more efficient in all variants, and achieves better fuel economy than the optional 6-speed manual.
Interior materials in the 2015 BMW 4 Series are similar to those found on the 3 Series, though the 4 Series cabin design is clearly more driver-oriented. The center stack is slightly canted to the left, and the narrow, tapered center console sits high, cordoning off the driver in her own little cocoon. The iDrive controller and a color screen are standard. For the most part, interior materials are rich and interesting, although certain trims and color combinations can tend to look mismatched.
Back-seat space is fine but not cavernous, with slightly less rear legroom in the convertible. Because of its extra set of doors, Gran Coupe models are a better choice for those who will regularly carry passengers. Cargo space in two-door coupes is good, and even better in Gran Coupe models. The convertible, not surprisingly, offers the least amount of space, especially when the retractable hardtop is down.
The BMW 4 Series coupe is a leader in a class that includes competitors such as the Audi A5, Cadillac ATS Coupe, Infiniti Q60 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class coupe. BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe models are unique choice for those who want the coupe's sleek silhouette but with the easy access of four doors and more trunk space.
The 2015 BMW 4 Series comes in three body styles: two-door Coupe, Convertible and four-door Gran Coupe. All are available with a choice of two engines, the 428i powered by a 2.0-liter inline-4, and the 435i, powered by a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six. All standard models are rear-wheel-drive; BMW's all-wheel drive (xDrive) is optional. Transmission choices on most rear-wheel-drive models include either a 6-speed manual or an 8-speed automatic with paddle shifters. All-wheel-drive models come only with the automatic.
BMW 428i coupe ($40,600), Convertible ($48,750) and Gran Coupe ($40,300) models include automatic climate control, leatherette upholstery, eight-way power front seats with driver memory, pushbutton start, a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with controls, cruise control, onboard computer, Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, BMW's iDrive interface with 6.5-inch display screen, a nine-speaker audio system with CD player, HD radio, USB port and auxiliary audio jack, universal garage door opener, split folding rear seat, foglamps, rain-sensing automatic wipers, Xenon adaptive headlights with auto-leveling, power folding exterior mirrors with automatic dimming and 17-inch alloy wheels. Coupe An automatic stop/start feature is also included to help save fuel. Coupe and Gran Coupe models also get a power sunroof.
BMW 435i Coupe ($46,100), Convertible ($54,900), and Gran Coupe ($45,800) models are similarly equipped, but include the more powerful engine and come standad with 18-inch alloy wheels.
One of three additional trim packages can be added to all 4 Series models: Luxury, Sport and M Sport. Each has its own unique wheels, exterior trim, interior styling, wheels and suspension tuning. Prices vary depending on the line and the model.
Other options include the Cold Weather Package ($950), which adds a heated front and rear seats, a steering wheel and retractable headlight washers (plus seat-mounted neck warmers on convertibles). The Dynamic Handling Package ($1,000) adds an adaptive M suspension and variable-ratio sport steering. Premium Package ($2,200) includes leather upholstery, keyless access, lumbar support and satellite radio with one year subscription. The Technology Package ($3,150) adds navigation with touchpad, real-time traffic information, a head-up display, a more detailed instrument cluster, BMW Online and BMW Apps functionality and Remote Services, which features remote door unlocking, stolen vehicle recovery and more. Standalone options include leather upholstery ($1,450), heated front seats ($500), navigation ($2,150), a premium Hardon Kardon surround audio system ($875) and a variety of wheel options.
Safety features standard on all models include front-impact airbags that deploy at different rates depending on the severity of impact, front passenger side-impact airbags, full-cabin, curtain-type head protection airbags, ABS, stability control, traction control and BMW Assist eCall crash notification system. Safety options include a Driver Assistance Package ($950) with a rearview camera and park distance control. The Driver Assistance Plus Package ($1,900) adds side and top view cameras plus several active safety features like blind spot detection, lane departure warning, forward collision warning, pedestrian warning and collision mitigation.
Walkaround and Interior
The BMW 4 Series is more evolutionary than revolutionary, and is clearly recognizable as a 3 Series coupe successor.
Like other BMW models, the 4 Series comes in a choice of lines: standard, Luxury, Sport and M Sport. Each gets its own unique exterior trim, interior trim and wheels.
4 Series models are wider and lower than the 3 Series sedans, giving them a bolder, more aggressive stance. The front fascia closely resembles the 3 Series, but is not completely identical. Even from straight on, the coupe has a more flowing, aerodynamic appearance. The signature BMW twin kidney grille is ever-so-slightly lower and wider, flowing into headlamp housings that stretch back and wrap around into the front fender. Double-bezel headlamps are ringed and more pronounced, giving it that BMW angel eyes look. Foglamp housings are swoopier and a bit more accentuated.
From the side, the 4 Series silhouette is lower and sleeker, with a curvier, sharper sloping roofline than that of the 3 Series. Short front overhangs leave very little weight hanging over the front axle. A distinctive body crease runs from behind the front wheel, through the door handle, and tapers off over the rear wheel. Side windows are shorter and more stretched back, and a sharper version of BMW's distinctive curve, known as the Hofmeister kink, forms the tail end of the side rear windows.
Also setting the 4 Series apart is the side air breather, a vertical vent located on each side behind the front wheel arch that channels air from the engine compartment down the sides of the car for reduced drag.
Standard wheels on the 428i are 17-inch alloys, while 435i models get 18 inch wheels. Designs vary depending on trim line.
On two-door coupes, the shorter back window is evident. Tail lamps look like slightly flattened versions of those found on the 3 Series. The rear bumper is more horizontal and uses straight, rather than upwardly curved lines out to the rear fenders. Double exhaust tips remain together on the left side; we would have loved to see one pipe on each side, perhaps integrated into the rear bumper. Convertibles get a power-operated retractable hardtop.
Gran Coupe models look slightly more sedan-like, but still retain a sleeker silhouette compared to the 3 Series. Gran Coupes are about a half-inch higher than coupe and convertible body styles, which allow for more rear headroom. The fastback-style rear flows seamlessly from the roof; in fact, most people won't know it's a hatchback unless they look carefully.
The interior design of the 2015 BMW 4 Series is clearly more driver-oriented than that of the 3 Series. The center stack is slightly canted to the left, and a high, tapered dividing line just to the right of the gearshift cordons off the driver in her own little cocoon. Behind the shifter (and just below the center stack) are two standard-sized cupholders.
The center stack sits up high and is sleek and clean. Up top is BMW's widescreen color screen, with two air vents below. Beneath are the standard BMW radio and climate controls, which are all within reach and easy to use.
The loaded (but pricey) Technology package adds a whole suite of features, including navigation with real-time traffic information and BMW Online, which gives users access to news and stock information, Google Local search and more. The BMW Apps suite also integrates selected subscription-based applications into the car such as Pandora, Stitcher and MOG. The tech pack also adds a head-up display. Adding navigation, either as part of the package or as a standalone option, will also get you a touch-activated surface atop the iDrive controller, which lets you draw letters and numbers to input information instead of endlessly scrolling through the display, or dealing with the sometimes inaccurate voice recognition system.
The instrument cluster uses the standard BMW analog gauges. Four circular dials (fuel gauge, speedometer, tachometer and oil temperature gauge) come with a black panel display. Drivers can toggle through trip, fuel economy and other vehicle information via a button on the tip of the turn signal stalk.
An optional Driver Assistance package adds a rearview camera and parking sensors. The Driver Assistance Plus package includes side- and top-view cameras, which create a bird's-eye perspective of the vehicle and the area around it. If that's not enough, the optional Parking Assistant helps the driver parallel park by finding a space, turning the steering wheel, practically parking the car itself.
The steering wheel is thick and easy to grip; M Sport models use an even thicker, more padded wheel, which we found practically too big to handle. We preferred the standard, slightly skinnier version, such as that found on our 428i test model with the Sport line trim.
Standard upholstery is a man-made material that BMW calls SensaTec, and is perfectly comfortable and appears durable. Optional leather is soft and buttery. Sport and M Sport seats have a better range of adjustability and are nicely bolstered to keep the driver snugly in place on curvy roads.
For the most part, interior materials match the quality expected from BMW, but certain trim finishes and color combinations in BMWs continue to baffle us. For example, in our 428i Gran Coupe, doors were finished in a rich, warm black and tan motif. But, door handles were trimmed in a clashing silver textured plastic. Mixing sporty pieces in cool tones with luxurious pieces in warm tones can make it look like the car isn't sure what it wants to be. Still, the BMW interior is definitely more interesting and textured than others, especially compared with the Audi A5.
Although windows aren't as large as in the 3 Series sedan, visibility is fine in the 4 Series coupe. The most significant difference is in rearward visibility, where the lower roofline makes for a shorter back window. This is especially true with the Gran Coupe's sharply sloping hatch.
Due to its lower stance, the 4 Series has less headroom and legroom than the 3 Series sedan, though the Gran Coupe's roof is about a half-inch higher than the 4 Series coupe and convertible. Rear legroom measures 33.7 inches in the coupe and Gran Coupe, and about an inch less in the convertible. In two-door versions, the back seat offers reasonable space for the occasional rear passenger. But for those who will use the back seat regularly, the Gran Coupe is the best choice.
Cargo space in the 4 Series coupe is plentiful at 15.7 cubic feet, compared with 13 cubic feet in the 3 Series sedan. Convertibles understandably have less space, with 13 cubic feet with the top up, and 7.8 cubic feet when the top is down.
Gran Coupe models offer the most space, with 17 cubic feet with all seats in place, and up to 45.9 cubic feet with the seats folded (although, like with most BMW cars, they don't lie completely flat). The hatchback has a thoughtful design, with a built-in privacy cover on window that keeps contents hidden from site. A removable shelf allows seats to fold flat with just a few steps. A center pass-through allows for more flexibility.
The BMW 4 Series coupe is fun to drive in practically any situation, and both of the available engines are more than capable.
Like other BMW models, the 4 Series allows drivers to choose from four modes: Comfort, Sport, Sport Plus and Eco Pro. Each tweaks throttle response, steering and handling for a distinctly different ride. Comfort is the best for normal driving around town. We prefer Sport mode for spirited driving and twisty roads. Sport Plus is best left to the track or autocross course, as it reduces the invasiveness of stability control and therefore requires more active, skilled driving. Eco Pro mode is designed to improve fuel efficiency, though it comes at the expense of power. We found this mode best for steady freeway cruising. In addition, all 4 Series models have an automatic stop/start function intended to save fuel.
The 4 Series has the lowest center of gravity of all BMW models, and this is evident in the form of a composed ride and virtually nonexistent body roll when putting the car through its paces. Handling is excellent on all variants, and each offers a good balance of ride quality and response. One of our test cars, a 428i Coupe, was fitted with the Dynamic Handling package, which adds an adaptive M suspension and variable sport steering. The electric steering is light at low speeds, with proper resistance and feedback at higher speeds. Near-50/50 weight distribution leaves the driver in full command. Braking is excellent in all models, especially those equipped with the M Sport's giant rotors. Our biggest complaint was some road and tire noise, which was evident at all speeds, and especially pervasive on highly textured road surfaces.
We found the power of the 428i perfectly ample, and prefer this variant for everyday driving. It's best in Sport mode, though as always, performance comes at the expense of fuel economy. The 2.0-liter inline-4 isn't BMW's best-sounding engine, as the clatter of the direct-injection can be noisy at lower speeds. But it delivers plenty of pep, with its 241 hp and 258 lb.-ft. of torque available from as low as 1200 rpm. The efficient motor is just as content on a daily commute as a long road trip, with its limits becoming apparent only in the most demanding situations, such as passing while traveling up a steep grade at high speeds. Only then will it become apparent that the powertrain is working hard, with the accompanying whine to prove it. Otherwise, getting to just about any speed is a breeze.
The 435i's turbocharged six-cylinder engine is the most fun, and produces a more satisfying purr. Its 302 hp and 395 lb.-ft. isn't necessary for most drivers, though you'll certainly notice and appreciate the extra power when you put the pedal to the metal.
Although BMW still offers a 6-speed manual on most 4 Series variants, we're finally starting to admit that the 8-speed automatic might be the better choice. Not only does the automatic achieve better fuel economy ratings over the 6-speed manual, it's also faster; a 435i coupe equipped with the automatic achieves a quick 0-60 mph time of 5 seconds flat, compared to 5.3 seconds with the manual. Those who really want to change their own gears can use the 8-speed's included paddle shifters.
Gran Coupe models are fitted with the same engine and transmission choices. Although it sits slightly higher than the coupe and convertible and has a different back end, we don't particularly notice a difference in driving dynamics. Indeed, the Gran Coupe performs with just as much as balance and maneuverability as its two-door counterparts. Like the 428i coupe, we found the four-cylinder turbocharged engine on the 428i Gran Coupe fun and capable in nearly every driving scenario. Driving around town is pleasurable with plenty of low-end torque, providing pleasurable pep off the line and when passing.
As with the standard 4 Series coupe, the 435i Gran Coupe performs effortlessly on demanding roads at higher speeds. On the Palms to Pines highway, a beautifully winding mountain road through the San Jacinto mountains outside of Palm Springs, we put our 435i Gran Coupe through the wringer, dashing around tight turns, climbing to elevations of 4,000 feet. Despite the higher elevation, we didn't notice the turbocharger struggling for breath. On the way down, we kept up just fine with the Aston Martin V8 Vantage in front of us, despite its 120 horsepower advantage.
Summary, Prices, Specs
The BMW 4 Series coupe and convertible are capable, poised sports cars with beautiful lines and luxurious features. The 2015 BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe splits the difference between a coupe's sleek silhouette and a hatchback sedan's practicality.
NewCarTestDrive.com correspondent Laura Burstein filed this report after test drives of the BMW 4 Series coupe near Seattle, the 4 Series convertible near Las Vegas, and the 4 Series Gran Coupe near Palm Springs.
|Model Line Overview|
|Model lineup:||BMW 428i coupe ($40,600); 428i xDrive coupe ($42,600); 435i coupe ($46,100); 435 xDrive coupe ($48,100); 428i Convertible ($48,750); 435i Convertible ($51,105); 428i Gran Coupe ($40,300); 428i xDrive Gran Coupe ($42,300); 435i Gran Coupe ($45,800); 435 xDrive Gran Coupe ($44,505)|
|Engines:||turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4; turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6|
|Transmissions:||6-speed manual; 8-speed automatic|
|Safety equipment (standard):||dual front airbags, front passenger side-impact airbags, full-cabin head protection airbags, tire-pressure monitor, traction control, anti-lock brakes, Dynamic Stability Control and post-impact system to unlock doors, switch on hazard and interior lighting and disable fuel pump|
|Safety equipment (optional):||all-wheel drive, park distance control, side/top view cameras, blind spot detection, lane departure warning, forward collision warning, pedestrian warning, collision mitigation|
|Basic warranty:||4 years/50,000 miles|
|Assembled in:||Munich, Germany|
|Specifications As Tested|
|Model tested (MSPR):||BMW 428i coupe ($40,600)|
|Standard equipment:||automatic climate control, SensaTec vinyl upholstery, eight-way power front seats with driver memory, pushbutton start, leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with controls, cruise control, onboard computer, Bluetooth, BMW's iDrive interface with 6.5-inch display screen, nine-speaker audio system with CD player, HD radio and USB port, universal garage door opener, split folding rear seat, power moonroof, foglamps, rain-sensing automatic wipers, automatic stop/start, Xenon adaptive headlights with auto-leveling, power folding exterior mirrors with automatic dimming, 17-inch alloy wheels|
|Options as tested (MSPR):||Sparkling Brown metallic paint ($550); Sport line ($2,100): Sport seats, unique interior trim with contrast stitching, high-gloss black kidney grille bars and exhaust pipe tips, M sport suspension, unique 18-inch alloy double-spoke wheels; Cold Weather Package ($700): heated steering wheel, heated front seats, retractable headlight washers; Driver Assistance Package ($950): rearview camera, park distance control; Dynamic Handling Package ($1,000): Adaptive M suspension, variable sport steering; Premium Package ($2,200): leather upholstery, keyless access, lumbar support and satellite radio with one year subscription|
|Gas guzzler tax:|
|Price as tested (MSPR):||$49050|
|Engine:||2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4|
|Horsepower (lb.-ft @ rpm):||241 @ 5000-6500|
|Torque (lb.-ft @ rpm):||258 @ 1250-4800|
|EPA fuel economy, city/hwy:||23/35 mpg|
|Track, f/r:||60.8/62.8 in.|
|Turning circle:||37.1 ft.|
|Head/hip/leg room, f:||39.8/na/42.2 in.|
|Head/hip/leg room, m:||in.|
|Head/hip/leg room, r:||36.1/na/33.7 in.|
|Cargo volume:||15.7 cu. ft.|
|Suspension, f:||independent, double-pivot lower control arms, coil springs, twin-tube shocks, anti-roll bar|
|Suspension, r:||independent five-link, coil springs, twin-tube shocks, anti-roll bar|
|Ground clearance:||5.1 in.|
|Curb weigth:||3470 lbs.|
|Brakes, f/r:||ventilated disc/ventilated disc with ABS, Cornering Brake Control|
|Fuel capacity:||15.8 gal.|
|Unless otherwise indicated, specifications refer to test vehicle. All prices are manufacturer's suggested retail prices (MSPR) effective as of October 23, 2014.Prices do not include manufacturer's destination and delivery charges. N/A: Information not available or not applicable. Manufacturer Info Sources: 800-831-1117 - www.bmwusa.com|