BMW has a new numeric series and the number is 4. The launch of the new F32 4 Series Coupé replaces the outgoing E92 3 Series Coupé from BMW’s model list. This may be a move to differentiate the 3 Series Sedan and 3 Series Coupé cars for strategic reasons, but the spirit of the former 3 Series Coupé is still very much alive in this 4 Series 428i Coupé as we found out later.
The design of the car is well thought out and conceived. First impressions are positive as the car successfully conveys an image speed, power and aerodynamism, particularly the flowing lines from the side. This car is easily one of the best looking car in the current BMW crop. The inclusion of air breathers near the front wheels is a nice touch, not only for functional purposes but also adds a sporty dimension to the side profile of the car.
In terms of dimensions, this is a larger, longer and wider car compared to its predecessor. The new car is lower to achieve a lower centre of gravity and have slightly less room for the rear passengers. In contrast, the front passengers now have more room and headroom compared to the old car. This is a brief comparison of the dimensions of the two vehicles:-
|Front seat to roof:
|Rear seat to roof:
|Front row width:
|Rear row width:
In Malaysia, the F32 debuted in the 4th quarter of 2013. Three variants are offered by BMW Malaysia, ie the 428i Coupé Sport, 428i Coupé M Sport and the 435i Coupé M Sport. At this point in time, all models are imported into Malaysia as complete built up units (CBU). The test car is on the Sport Line trim and with that you’ll get M Sport suspension, high gloss black in the kidney grilles, decorative external moulds at various places.
If you opt for the M Sport trim, you’ll get the adaptive M suspension, M aerodynamics package, M light alloy wheels, M leather steering, chrome finishes in the tail pipes, kidney grilles and the comfort access system (ability to unlock the car door by a touch on the door handle with the car keys in your pocket).
The interior of the Sport Line trim, boasts of Dakota leather upholstery with red contrast stitching at strategic places and sports seats for driver and front seat passenger. At the panels, the red matt trim finishes provide a nice contrast to an otherwise dark and grey interior.
Once you get into the driver’s seat and close the door, the electric seatbelt handover extends the seatbelt forward to facilitate a comfortable access. This is a reminiscence of the E92 3 Series Coupé. The overall interior looks similar to the current F30 3 Series. For those who have a sharper perception, the one thing that will catch your eye is the enlarged iDrive controller dial.
BMW have improved the interface of the iDrive controller. You can now enter information using your own handwriting (thru the controller). As a future consideration to improve user interface, BMW may want to consider having ‘hot keys’ (say numbered 1-5) next to the iDrive controller which can memorize your personal settings for a particular radio station or personal sound settings or a frequent destination to reduce the time navigating thru the multiple menus.
On this Sport Line trim, the steering is of the Sports leather type with red contrast stitching. Also present are gearshift paddles and multifunction buttons to activate/deactivate the cruise control and inbuilt car entertainment/communication systems. As with all the latest BMW models, this 428i comes with fuel saving features such as the ECO PRO mode and automatic start/stop function.
The 428i Coupé is powered by a 1,997cc N20 Twin Power Turbo 4-cylinder petrol engine, similar to the F30 328i which we tested in early 2013. The spec sheet stated that this poweplant is capable of producing a max output of 180kW/245hp @ 5,000 – 6,000 rpm and a max torque of 350Nm @ 1,250 – 4,800 rpm. Top speed is rated at 250 km/h and acceleration from 0 – 100 km/h is achievable in 5.8 seconds. All are impressive numbers, given the displacement of the engine.
This test car was very new and barely had sufficient mileage to be considered properly run-in. During the time we had access to this car, we covered a total mileage of around 300km over a 3 day period which was not entirely an extensive test drive. The total mileage was still below 1,000 km when we returned it. Hence, some of the findings here may or may not be reflective of what the car is capable of in the long run.
Our initial impressions of the car were generally positive. The car is well balanced, handled well which is in line with BMW traditions. Driving experience control is defaulted to the Comfort mode upon ignition. During the initial drives, it was a bit of a challenge to articulate the ride quality. This was not the typical Comfort mode that we were used to. Initially the ride felt a bit firm. Subsequently, as the car became more settled, this firmness was reduced and the car was able to soak the road imperfections better in the Comfort mode.
The cabin is well insulated from external noises. If I could recall correctly the re-ignition from the automatic start/stop function is a bit more refined compared to the F30 328i. Generally, the ambiance inside the cabin is cozy and intimate due to the sloping rear roofline. The car being strictly a 2+2 due to the design of the rear seats would comfortably seat 2 adults in front and 2 youngsters at the rear. Adults can still be seated comfortably in the rear seats but having to contort slightly to get into the car may just discourage some from doing so.
Average fuel consumption was on the high side. At this stage, this needs to be qualified due to the car’s low mileage and the car is still in the process of being fully run-in. Our best reading was 12.5 liters per 100 km driving on a mix of Comfort and ECO Pro modes on the Driving experience control. I was expecting better numbers due to my favourable experience with the F30 328i which has the same powerplant. However, this was not the case and only time will tell if this 428i Coupé can match its close sibling in this area.
The 428i Coupé is well suited for both town drives and on the freeway. Power and torque are plentiful on hand for you to call upon and the excellent 8 speed automatic transmission gives a class leading performance in slick and smooth gearchanges. At regular town speeds of up to 80km/h, the car provides a pleasant and silent ride. A bit of tyre and road noise starts to creep into the cabin at 110km/h but it remains unobtrusive.
The car does not have a narrow turning circle and with an elongated bonnet, a bit more space and care at the front than the usual is required when executing 3 point turns or turns out of a car park. This is especially true when you have low kerbs in front of you which the built in park distance control (PDC) may not be able to detect.
There is a provision for a 60:40 split/fold down of the rear seats. To gain access to the levers you will need to open the rear boot. These two levers are located at the roof of the boot and with a firm outward pull, releases the lock on the rear seats. This type of flexibility in folding down the rears seats should ideally be available to all BMW sedan cars sold in Malaysia.
Sound quality from the 9 loudspeaker, 205W in car entertainment system was within expectations. There is sufficient weight and balance to satisfy audiophiles. It would be great if BMW can simplify the process in manually tuning and searching for radio stations. The 8.8 inch high definition display monitor has good contrast and is easy on the eyes.
The test drive bore a nostalgic similarity with my past driving experience with the E92 3 Series Coupé; ie from the elongated chassis, to the electric seatbelt handover, the well balanced platform, the cosy cabin surroundings, the higher than preferred average fuel consumption, just to name a few. This is not a bad thing as the E92 3 Series Coupé is a good car. Nevertheless, this F32 4 Series 428i Coupé is a better car simply because it is better engineered, has a better feature set, comes with green features to care for the environment and it looks better too.
There is no ground breaking performance for the 428i Coupé, but it performs and does what it is expected to do in carrying the BMW badge. However, I foresee a lot of potential in this new 4 Series platform. It already has an edge over others with its eye catching design and I am certain with the right engine and set up BMW will be able to wring out its true potential in the foreseeable future.
|60 litres @ RM126 (Ron 95)
|Free service for first 3 years
|3 Years or 60,000km whichever is earlier
These are estimated costs applicable to Malaysia only which are subject to change without notice. Road Tax is for private registration in Peninsular Malaysia. Standard/scheduled service excludes additional or specific service/repairs requested. Please reconfirm these terms and costs with an authorized BMW dealer.
|BMW Twin Power Turbo four-cylinder petrol engine
|180 kW (245hp) @ 5,000 – 6,500 rpm
|350 Nm @ 1,250 – 4,800 rpm
|6.4 litres per 100 km (combined)
Source: BMW Brochure
Note: Please reconfirm the above specifications with an authorized BMW dealer
Click on these to sample sounds from the car!