DRIVEN | Potent dose of class - BMW launches new 4 Series Coupé in SA

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• BMW's new 4 Series Coupé has officially been launched in South Africa.

• Three models will make up the range, headlined by the M440i xDrive.

• Two petrol and one diesel engine will power the car.

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BMW South Africa officially launched its new 4 Series Coupé in the country. The new car, based on the 3 Series that was launched locally in 2019, continues the tradition of offering what the 3 Series' has in a package that is both sensual and beautiful. It comes as little surprise, then, that the new 4 Series is quite a looker, depending of course on how you feel about the grille.

Off the bat, the 4 Series' grille is one of the car's biggest talking points and will divide opinion for some time to come. Fortunately, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and can onlookers decide for themselves how they perceive it. The car's face, wholly, has an aggressive, yet sporty, look to it and imposes itself on the road quite nicely. The sleek coupé profile runs across the entirety of the car and comes together at the rear.

Here, a set of exhausts occupy each corner of the rear bumper, while the rear lights are housed in a cluster that brings it in line with the rest of BMW's products.

The range explained

BMW SA announced that the range would consist of three models, with two petrol engines and one diesel doing duty. All models are fitted with turbocharged engines and an eight-speed automatic transmission, but the top model, the M440 xDrive, is equipped with the automaker's all-wheel-drive system opposed to the rear-wheel setup of the two models below it.

Introducing the range is the 420i. This model is fitted with a turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine. Although it was not available to drive at the launch, BMW said that this engine offers 135kW and 300Nm. The next model, the 420d, is also powered by a turbocharged 2.0-litre engine, but a diesel. As the frugal option in the lineup, BMW says that this car boasts with a fuel economy of 4.2-litres/100km. The motor develops 140kW and 400Nm. The healthy torque figure is available between 1750 - 2500rpm.

The M440i xDrive is the big dog in the range, at least until the new M4 arrives. Powered by a six-cylinder 3.0-litre petrol engine, the turbocharged motor offers 275kW and 500Nm - the latter punched throughout the rev range: 1900 - 5000rpm. Thanks to its all-wheel-drive setup, the M440i will reach 100km/h from standstill in 4.5 seconds, while top speed is rated at 250km/h.

BMW 4 Series

Driving experience 

As part of the launch drive, BMW availed the 420d and M440i xDrive. While the experience from behind the steering wheel is markedly different from model to model, the new 4 Series Coupé offers good road holding and taut steering. Part of what BMW did to improve the 4's on-road behaviour, was to increase the rear track width by 23mm over the 3 Series, lowering the centre of gravity by 21mm, and reducing the car's height by 57mm. In addition, the automaker stiffened several parts on the suspension and adopted specially tuned stroke-dependent shock absorbers.

The 4 Series continues to boast with BMW's famed 50:50 weight distribution over the front and rear axles. In all, the new 4 Series Coupé is a more balanced car that inspires confidence from behind the steering wheel.

BMW 4 Series
2021 BMW 4 Series

In summary

Since coming to market in 2013, the 4 Series range sold in access of 80 000 units globally, with 45% of sales going to the Gran Coupé, 30% to the Coupé, and 25% to the Convertible. The new car, with its improved driving dynamics and vastly improved package, will surely speak to its audience with grater authority. Until the rest of the range is introduced locally, the Coupé will fly the 4 Series flag and initial impressions are that it will do so with aplomb.

While the 4 Series' grille will be a big point of discussion, the rest of the car will impress with its kit set and on-road driving dynamics. The car is a vast improvement over the model it replaces, and each model in the Coupé range brings something unique to the table. Of the driven models, the 420d will appease those wanting a comfortable cruiser that will get the most mileage from a full tank of fuel, while the M440i is a smile-inducing machine that offers ample grip when required.

The 420i and 420d are available in both the Standard and M Sport packages, while the M440i is only available in the latter package. With regards to the two lower-end models, the M Sport package carries an R45 400 premium.

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