New & Used BMW 4-Series: In Depth
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BMW launched the 4-Series lineup for 2014, separating the former 3-Series coupe and convertible from the rest of the offerings and giving them their own higher number. The 4-Series family quickly grew to include a model that is a two-door in name only, the 4-Series Gran Coupe sedan, as well as M4 variants of the coupe and convertible.
The 4-Series still draws its heritage and design from the 3-Series family that has been in production for decades--and even traces its roots back to the famed 2002. As such, it's a rival for cars like the Audi A5 and TT, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class coupe, and the two-door Cadillac ATS.
MORE: Read our 2015 BMW 4-Series review
At first, the 4-Series lineup consisted of two-door versions of the latest 'F31' 3-Series. Sculpted front fenders and far more aggressive styling treatments for the front and rear give this model more of a high-performance look, while the smoothly arched roofline matches up well with a taller greenhouse. The cabin, as with the 3-Series, is a bit roomier, although the 4-Series models get a new 2+2 layout, with bucket seats in back. The 4-Series gets seriously charming with its more ritzy interior trim packages (although perhaps too splashy in others that attempt to be sporty or modern), and its sports seats give grip just where it's called for in sporty driving. But the backseat is somewhere we'd stay out of.
At launch, the engine lineup included both the 240-hp, 2.0-liter turbocharged in-line four-cylinder engine and the 3.0-liter turbo in-line six, in 428i and 435i models—both with either a six-speed manual gearbox or eight-speed automatic transmission. Rear-wheel-drive and xDrive all-wheel-drive models are a part of the mix, and the 4-Series gets BMW's latest electric power steering system, as in the 3-Series.
Despite significant gains in comfort, safety (as already proven in crash-test ratings), and fuel economy (of up to 34 mpg highway)—and despite an ever-greater number of high-tech options—the 4-Series cars remain among the most confident, dynamically engaging models in their class.
For the 2015 model year, the Gran Coupe edition arrives, as does the fearsome BMW M4 coupe, powered by a twin-turbo version of the classic in-line six. With 425 horsepower, it's one of the best-driving BMWs in recent memory. Its hugely upgraded power comes with a choice between six-speed manual and seven-speed M Double Clutch gearboxes. With an available Active M limited-slip differential, and an available Adaptive M suspension, the new 2015 BMW M4 takes after the larger M6 in ride and sophistication, yet it keeps its weight down, to enable a supercar-league 0-60 mph time of just 4.2 seconds (in DCT form).
The rest of the lineup sees some minor changes for 2015. Fineline Anthracite wood trim is now widely available, and Oyster Dakota leather is offered outside of the Sport line and included in Premium Package models. Bluetooth audio streaming is now standard across the board, and the so-called Enhanced Bluetooth (with a USB port) is now a standalone $500 option.