[TEST DRIVE] BMW's 4 Series offers more than just a new grille
The German luxury carmaker brought the second generation of the 4 Series coupe and convertible to Korea in February as well as the coupe’s M version, the high-performance trim.
The Korea JoongAng Daily got behind the wheel of the coupe's 420i M Sport model on Feb. 4, driving a 100-kilometer (62 miles) route around BMW's driving center on Yeongjong Island, Incheon, which offers nice straight and empty roads, perfect conditions to test out the coupe’s powerful acceleration.
The first thing one notices is the new vertical grille, which replaces the iconic horizontal BMW grille.
But the latest 4 Series came with more upgrades, including in its overall size.
The body is 130 millimeters longer and 27 millimeters wider. Two-door coupes tend to concentrate on comfort for the driver and front-seat passenger. But in the revamped 4 Series, the back seats were surprisingly spacious, with the kind of leg room one expects in a sedan.
Gliding on an empty road, tucked in the low-slung driver’s seat, the 420i felt almost like a racing car. Some might wish for a more powerful kick, but considering the 420i is an entry trim with a four-cylinder engine, the test drive vehicle felt like it was doing its best.
Acceleration was instant and impressive while the steering was agile, allowing for some aggressive lane changing.
Up to 150 kilometers (93 miles) per hour, the vehicle didn’t exhibit any instability.
The 420i has a four-cylinder turbo gasoline engine capable of a maximum of 184 horsepower and torque of 30.6 kilogram-meter (67.46 lbs). It takes 7.5 seconds to reach 100 kilometers per hour.
The 8-speed automatic transmission has a new technology called Sprint, which enables the car to maximize its acceleration at medium speed, such as when you're trying to overtake a car ahead of you. This will definitely be useful on Korean roads, where a little bit of aggressiveness never hurts.
The new 4 Series' smart driving technology was on par with the rest of BMW's lineup, including active cruise control, a rear collision warning system and a lane-keeping assistant.
With the reverse assistant system, the car goes backwards on its own a maximum of 50-meters (164 ft) using rear sensors and cameras. This technology was first introduced in Korea in the 5 Series, which arrived last year.
The Infotainment screen and digital dashboard weren't notably different to those offered by rivals. The digital dashboard is 12.3-inches and the infotainment screen is 10.25-inches, with intuitive buttons for air conditioning and radio.
The 420i M Sport trim has a sticker price of 59.4 million won ($52,834). The highest performance version, the M440i xDrive trim, has a six-cylinder turbo petrol engine that generates a maximum horsepower of 387 and torque of 50.9 kilogram-meter and has a sticker price of 81.9 million won.
BMW Korea said it will bring to Korea the M trim of the 4 Series convertible and a Gran Coupe version within this year.
BY JIN EUN-SOO [firstname.lastname@example.org]