BMW: 2014 435i Coupe review

BMW: 2014 435i Coupe review

The 4 Series is BMW’s answer to Audi’s A5, and I quite like the A5. The A5 slots between the A4 and A6, just as the 4 Series slots between the venerable 3 Series and the quite mighty 5 Series. The 4 Series follows BMW’s even-numbered coupe nomenclature as opposed to the odd-numbered sedans, and therefore it cuts a fine sleek line as it drives slowly towards the car park that is nearer to the front door of the office than that of the minions.

It shares the same basic undergarments as the 3 Series but is 26mm longer, 43mm wider and 16mm lower. This means that the 4 Series looks like a trained boxer, all squat and ready to pounce compared to the more relaxed 3 Series.

BMW 435i 2014 frontUnder that bulging bonnet there’s a 3-litre turbocharged 6-cylinder petrol engine delivering 225kW and 400Nm of torque via an 8-speed sport automatic. It’s good to do the 100kph dash in 5.1 seconds which is sufficient for anyone’s needs. Fuel economy won’t be anywhere the quoted 7.4l/100km if you use the full acceleration much, though.

Take a wander around the outside and you’ll see that the BMW kidney grille is all present and accounted for. Flanked by the LED headlights at the front, follow the line via the gill behind those 19-inch front wheels and down the strong BMW 435i 2014 rear quartershoulder crease to the twin exhausts at the back. The design presents a sense of forward urgency that’s best viewed from the rear three-quarter angle.

Open the long coupe’s door and you’ll see perfectly trimmed and stitched leather seats with supportive side bolsters and a seat squab extension. The seats are fully electric and have 3-stage heating. The steering wheel is wrapped in leather and the central binnacle cover, gearstick and handbrake boot are also leather, but it’s not overkill. The rest of the dashboard is BMW 435i 2014 front interiora mixture of soft-touch plastics and bits of fake metal.

The cabin ambience is functional and somewhat drab in places (particularly the instrument cluster) – BMWs are more about the driving experience than sitting in sumptuous opulence. It’s very 3 Series-y in the cabin, probably because a lot of it is lifted straight from the 3 Series. You can forgive BMWs cabin design laziness once you look at the functional aspects: the iDrive interface is brilliantly simple to use and displays on a large screen in the centre of the dashboard; the seating and steering wheel position can be adjusted to perfection, and the controls are readily to hand. The 435i is missing the useful speed limiter function on the steering wheel that you get with the M235i and M4 that we tested BMW 435i 2014 rear interiorpreviously.

The rear seats are for two smaller passengers only and are not that easy to get in and out of because the BMW is a 2-door coupe. The boot’s never going to be huge in a coupe, but it does contain a useful deep recess underneath the boot floor (see photo).

The seatbelt presenter which slides forwards and is supposed to catch your seatbelt on the way to deliver it to your waiting hand just missed the seatbelt every time on the driver’s side but worked fine on the passenger side. So, drop yourself in the seat, reach a long way around for the seat belt, and fire up that engine.

BMW 435i 2014 rearI don’t think you will be disappointed with the driving dynamics. Funnily enough, the seating position seems to affect just how involved you feel with the car. When set really low you feel much more a part of the centre of the car than when it’s high. Low is the go for me and with the 435i’s rear-wheel drive, this is a car that I would quite happily drive from Auckland to Wellington and back. Brisk, refined touring is the order of the day, with predictable, strong acceleration and brakes, confident cornering and the ability to give yourself aural pleasure if you push the throttle hard.

Grip levels are huge and you only challenge the traction control by pulling out of intersections in the wet. You can adjust the settings to Sport, Comfort or Eco which influences throttle control, steering response and the power available to systems like air conditioning.

It’s a solid 4.5/5 rating for the 435i. It could have scored higher had it not been for the lacklustre interior, but it does do the job dynamically. Where the 435i excels is as a touring car. It will eat up the distances with aplomb. For me, Audi S5 vs BMW 435i is a difficult decision. I like the look of the S5 better, but I think I like the driving dynamics of the 435i more. The BMW 435i doesn’t deliver a knockout punch, more a carefully aimed series of crippling blows.

Our tested BMW 435i came with $3,900 of options including the head-up display ($2000), speed limit information which projects the local speed limit onto the HUD (very useful) ($900) and Surround View which makes it look like there’s a camera above you when you are reversing ($1000),

Price: $126,500 (standard), $130,400 (with options mentioned above)

Pros:

  • Dynamically pleasing and competent coupe

Cons:

  • Dull interior


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