7

10

Model

435i Coupe

Price

$108,500

The Numbers

2979cc twin-turbo 6cyl, RWD, 225kW, 450Nm, 7.4L/100km, 0–100km/h in 5.1secs, 250km/h max, 1525kg

The Topgear Verdict

A confident and clever smallish sedan/biggish coupe package. You really want the M4, though.

2013 BMW 435i Coupe

BMW’s Oliver Heimler has the swagger of an Ibiza DJ in the same way that David Guetta looks like he designs German car interiors. And when Munich’s ace crayon jockey discusses the new 4 Series Coupe, you sense a part of him wants to yell “burn the dance floor down (insert expletive)!” He’s holding back. He says what you’d expect him to say, with few surprises. And that’s the 4 Series Coupe all over. Inside and out.

Don’t get me wrong. The 4 Series looks good. Sleek rather than showy, toned rather than steroidal, it’s a handsome jigger. Particularly the top-spec 435i model with 19s and its Sport Line casual business attire. But passionate? Well…

This is a bit of a shame. Even a mentally challenged mollusc knows that ‘4 Series Coupe’ slips into the old two-door 3 Series’ shoes, the same car by another name and number. But it’s a new name. And given that the whole ‘4’ thing is a free shot at goal to introduce something fresh to the mid-sized coupe formula, the ball-dropper is that there’s surprisingly few truly new highlights.

Sure, it’s longer, lower and wider than the old car. But did you expect anything else? It does, however, have presence. Particularly when the broad nose sends a firm “get outta the way” message as it bears down on your mirrors in the fast lane. BMW does the whole ‘dominant species’ aesthetic well. Just look at the X6 M: absurd when it comes to family-friendly sensibilities, brilliant at appearing to be in the throes of invading a third-world nation by way of excessive force.

It’s nice inside. But nice like Ricky Martin rather than Rammstein. German carmakers – all of them – are particularly adept at sucking freshness and light out of interior designs through biscuit-cutting them over and over, model after model, ad infinitum. Look no further.

Then you hit Sport+, plant the pedal to the loop pile, pin the 3.0-litre twin-turbo six off its 7200rpm cut-out as it screams like a Bavarian bondage queen, grab second (of an available eight) using the Exxon Valdez-slick automatic’s right-hand paddle and the 435i will etch your signature into hotmix in Bridgestone Black. Or, if enthusiasm outweighs your talent, you’ll spear off the road backwards.

That engine-transmission marriage is heavenly. It’s the highlight of the package. But the powertrain is patently – you guessed it – 3 Series, right down to the six’s vital 225kW/400Nm stats. You can get an extra 25kW/50Nm by ticking an M Performance option box but, again, the Threes have that, too.

That said, the sportiness isn’t all just skin deep. The wheelbase, tracks, (3 Series modified) suspension and centres of roll and gravity have copped a tickle by the lab coats. And it’s here where the 4 Series finally has something to call its own.

Clever adaptive dampers and the usual array of drive modes notwithstanding, it feels like a tauter and fitter package for those who consider themselves ‘drivers’ rather than merely motorists. It’s also safe and predictable – while it can be naughty if you push it, it won’t throw Nanna off at the first sign of rain.

The ride comfort, too, is superb, even on liquorice-thin, so-called ‘run-flats’.

If there’s one area worth having a whinge about it’s the adaptive steering, which is a bit numb and falls short in connecting the pilot to the road. But there is ample sharpness the drivers crave for carving up back roads. The whole 4 Series package, then, is confident rather than truly sporty. And the 4 Series, even in frisky 435i form, is more about prestige than pit lanes.

If you’re short of the 435i’s $108,500 ask, there’s also a 180kW/350Nm 2.0-litre turbocharged four-banger version on offer for $86,500 that’ll still scamper to 100km/h in a handy 5.8 seconds, or the entry level 420d, with its 135kW/380Nm 2.0-litre oiler, that will drag itself to triple figures in a leisurely 7.3 seconds, but at least you look good making a late entrance to the party…

TopGear’s tip? Sell your kids, live in a shoebox for 12 months and save up for next year’s thoroughbred: the M4. That’ll be the two-door that’ll burn the dance floor down, without apologies.

Reviewed by: Curt Dupriez

Driven: September 11, 2013