BMW 4 Series even more stylish than before
BMW have revived the 4 Series for 2017. Hardly necessary if you ask me, as the 4 Series is already a stylish and modern offering if you’re in the market for a coupe or convertible. We head to Mpumalanga for a 500km road trip around some of the most scenic roads South Africa has to offer and drive the 420d Coupe and 440i convertible. Here are our findings.
South Africa’s hidden gem
This was to be my first time in Mpumalanga and little did I know that it would be this beautiful. A hidden gem with thick forests stretching out over the many rolling hills. Our journey kicked off with Andy Leopold (owner of this here publication) and I jumping into the 240kW 440i convertible. Now usually with these types of launch articles I’ll point out the differences between the old and new in almost point form, but this journey was so long and the driving route so engaging, I can say with certainty we got to know both of these cars rather intimately.
The 440i has a creamy smooth engine and, according to Andy, one of the best BMW has to offer. With its twin scroll turbo engine, the torque is available low down, but if you wind it up you can rev it all the way past 7000 rpm. It’s not needed, but it is fun. The steering is weighted perfectly, with a sporty feel through the thick rim. And sporty it is, but not in an M car kind of way. The 4 Series convertible has the usual scuttle shake that is noticeable when the roof is down, although mainly over very bumpy roads and while cornering. The overall character of the car is sporty, yet the drop top 440i is more of a tourer than an out and out racer, and it makes sense. If you want an M car, get an M car. If you want a cruiser that racks up the miles or tours the boulevard in style, then the 440i Convertible is for you.
For the second half of our journey, we sampled the gorgeous 420d coupe, and it took a few km of driving to notice that the engine was a diesel. The 140kW engine is engineered to feel like a petrol engine and, incidentally, has 5 more kW than its sister 420i. Inside, the steering felt a tad light compared to the 440i, maybe because of the lighter engine? BMW mentioned that on the coupe model, emphasis has been put on sportiness and handling, and it shows. The car’s turn-in is precise and, although the engine lacks the poke to accelerate out of certain corners, if you maintain speed, the car obliges by providing huge amounts of grip until the front tyres inevitably start to “roll over”. Even then understeer is hardly noticeable and a simple lift of the throttle gets the car back online. Overall, the handling of both cars is very satisfying.
With three body types to choose from, convertible, coupe and grand coupe, BMW have hit the mark when it comes to looks and proportions. The new Snapper Rocks Blue accentuates the lines and is very BMW. LEDs are now available all-round, and the front bumper has been revised to look similar to the M bumper. Speaking of M, lots of M performance parts are available, so that you can customize your BMW to suit your tastes.
Not an out an out hardcore M car, but instead the tourer it’s supposed to be, 4 Series does what it sets out to. If a sports tourer, or sports cruiser is what you’re after BMW now offers driving pleasure without the Nurburgring statistics. And it makes perfect sense.