BMW readies new 4 Series for market entry
The coupe brings with it bespoke handling characteristics for sporty comfort
BMW is putting the final touches to its new 4 Series. The company put the pre-production car to the test on the motorways and country roads around its Research and Innovation Centre in Munich, Germany.
Dynamic testing also included stints at a few race tracks, including the Nurburgring’s Nordschleife circuit.
The importance of the 4 Series coupe to performance enthusiasts is that it forms the starting blocks of the much-loved M4 coupe.
The company also says the chassis set-up aims to give the new 4 Series a redefined sports driving performance that is also pleasurable. The 4 Series coupe’s chassis technology is based on the same continuously variable dampers that debuted in the 3 Series sedan, but differs slightly.
It’s a more individual composition that takes into account the coupe's different proportions, including being 57mm lower than the sedan. This also translates to a centre of gravity that is 21mm closer to the ground, while the coupe’s curvy body is also more aerodynamic.
Weight distribution also matters, as does the two-door car’s road stance. The coupe gets a 23mm wider rear wheel track and increased negative camber at the front wheels to sharpen handling prowess.
BMW has confirmed the first batch will be spearheaded by an M440i xDrive model powered by a straight-six engine with output rated at 275kW, which is 10kW less than in the M340i.
Unlike the M340i, the M440i will come equipped with a 48V starter-generator mild-hybrid system that injects an additional 8kW when the going gets fast, covering up for that 10kW power deficit.
SA generally gets the models tailored specifically for our buying trends. Just as this market doesn’t get the M340i in rear-wheel drive, according to Hailey Philander of BMW SA, they will not avail models with the mild-hybrid system to this market.
The 4 Series also gets an eight-speed Steptronic Sport transmission feeding the all-wheel-drive system, while an M Sport differential is equipped standard to work in unison with custom-tuned chassis elastokinematics and steering. M Sport brakes hide inside 18-inch M light-alloy wheels with mixed-size tyres.
Spy pictures show little evidence of the offending bucktoothed grille that BMW premiered on the Concept 4 last year, but we will know for sure once the camouflage comes off.