This is the BMW 4-series, in top-spec 435i form. Essentially a two-door version of the F30-gen 3-series, it’s 16mm lower than the 335i saloon, its wheelbase has been extended by 50mm, the front track is 45mm wider, and the rear wheels are an even more generous 80mm further apart than before.
At 500mm above terra firma, the 4-series is claimed to sport the lowest centre of gravity of all current BMW models. Stiffer suspension and a 25kg weight cut should all make for better handling, but does it? Read on for CAR’s 435i verdict.
The BMW 4-series looks a little apologetic for a car with a new name…
The 4-series coupe concept was a brash effort, but the production car is in contrast rather tame. The M Sport pack looks sufficiently butch, but in standard trim it’s not a true head-turner. From the rear in particular, this is a mildly modified 3-series with a 435i logo attached. Although it might not look it, the 4-series only shares one panel with its 3-series stablemate – the bonnet.
What goodies does the 435i get that other 4-series models don’t?
Drop £40k on the fastest 4-series on sale so far and your 435i comes loaded with kit. You get the eight-speed automatic gearbox with paddleshifters as standard, plus electric front seats and metallic paint. Every 4-series comes with parking sensors, heated leather seats, Bluetooth and automatic lights and wipers.
How fast is the BMW 435i?
The 435i is the only 4-series powered by a petrol straight six engine, with the rest of the current range relying in turbocharged four-cylinder units. The 435i uses a single-turbo, 3.0-litre direct-injection engine that develops 302bhp and 294lb ft. That torque figure is the headline here – it’s on tap from just above idle at 1200rpm, right up to 5000rpm. The engine punches the 435i to 62mph in 5.4sec – enough to worry Porsche Caymans and out-drag a 5.0-litre V8 Jaguar XK.
However, the considerably cheaper £30k BMW M135i offers more power (316bhp) more torque (332lb ft) and will dip under five seconds to 62mph – look out for 1-series models with blue brake calipers, 435i owners…
How does the 435i feel to drive?
Sporty and enjoyable. This could be due to the slightly quicker steering, the more eager gearing, the sharper chassis or the beefier low-end punch of the straight six – in fact it’s a combination of all of the above. Whatever the reasons, the result is a more involving and more entertaining handling than a 335i. The ride feels firm in the Sport and Sport Plus settings, but Comfort will be the default choice for UK drivers. There’s stiffer M Sport suspension on the options list for ultimate handling aficionados.
The 435i feels lighter, nimbler, more agile and quicker overall than its key rivals. It also is more chuckable, more willing to assume emphatic cornering attitudes, and more forgiving should your mind have been more ambitious than your body was capable.
What if I want a 4-series that feels a bit more special?
At the presentation BMW pulled a dealer-installed 34bhp upgrade out of the hat. Other retrofit goodies include a limited-slip differential, a free-flow exhaust and a quite aggressive body kit. Factory options worth considering are sport brakes, a choice of M suspension or adaptive suspension, the variable sports steering and of course bigger wheels.
>> Click here for CAR’s complete round-up of the M Performance BMW 4-series coupe upgrades
Although it does not look quite special enough inside and out to justify that trumpeted 4-series badge, the 435i is the pace-setter for driver fun in a £40k coupe, and bodes well for more humble 4-series models too. Now, roll on the M4…