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STYLING | 8 out of 10
Compared with the 2012 concept that previewed it, the production 4-series looks pretty tame.
Road & Track
Not everyone will like the front of the profile, which is effective yet controversial.
Bulging rear fender arches make the taper of the roof seem more extreme than it really is
Car and Driver
this car just doesn't strike us as simplistically handsome as the 3 coupes that came before it.
The front fascia, with its air intakes pushed out to the sides, will take time to grow on you.
Every luxury coupe has to answer the same question: Is the 4-Series handsome enough and daring enough to be steered away from the sedan on which it's based (in this case, the esteemed 3-Series sport sedan)? A lot of shoppers will agree on the handsome part, but opinions are going to be mixed on whether it's that much more daring, or different, to be its own model.
The shape of the 2015 BMW 4-Series has the same proportions of the long-ago 8-Series, as well as some of the styling cues of former generations of 3-Series coupes. The so-called Hofmeister kink long ago lost its kinky appeal, once every other automaker started to copy it, and the side sculpting's steered away from the heaviest Frank Gehry touches, into a safe, simple stamping that could be on a Mustang or an F-Type or a Regal.
The front end remains its most adventurous point. Where BMWs have until very recently, rigidly adhered to a certain size, shape, and manner, this one is a collection of massive negative spaces, more pronounced because of the low roofline. In spite of all that, it has a perfect balance of glass to metal, a decathlete stance (especially from the rear quarters), and some spot-on details, like its sharply creased shoulder line.
Inside, the 4-Series is an aesthetic leap forward from the old 3-Series Coupes, with a traditionally appealing driver setup that's walled off from the passenger by those arcs of plastic and wood and metal across the center stack. The organic sweep of the cockpit works better in the coupe than in the sedan, even though the same theme is commonplace today on so many vehicles (even Toyotas).
The 4-Series' cockpit tends to get dominated by the wide, bright screen that rides on the dash permanently--where you expect it might tuck itself away—and by the much larger iDrive control knob—but you can ease that clash by applying certain trim packages. Luxury versions get glossy wood trim, for example, while Sport-package 4-Series cars have red accents and blacked-out details, while Modern coupes get satin trim, grey or black leather, and inlaid wood trim.
The 2015 BMW 4-Series is a pretty car, though neither especially distinctive nor exotic, in BMW's timeline of eye-catching two-doors.