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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

BMW 4-Series

January 14, 2013 - Detroit, MI. BMW 4-Series Coupe Concept revealed at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show. Photo by Joe Nuxoll.

The BMW 4-Series will replace the 3-Series coupe and convertible models for the 2014 model year. While the 2012-2013 3-Series have moved onto a new generation, a new platform and new powertrains, the two-door sister models remain in the previous body style until the 2014 4-Series arrives.

The 4-Series becomes its own model line for the new model year, though it still draws its design and heritage from the 3-Series family that has been in production for decades--and even traces its roots back to the famed 2002. Given its 3-Series basis, the BMW 4-Series will compete most closely with the Mercedes-Benz C Class Coupe, Audi A5, and other mid-sized luxury two-doors.

The new 2014 BMW 4-Series lineup will consist of two-door versions of the latest 'F31' 3-Series—so we already know plenty about it, as this generation (in sedan form) has been on sale since the 2012 model year (and early in calendar-year 2013). Look for the new 4-Series models to be longer, wider, and lower than the 3-Series models they replace. Sculpted front fenders and far more aggressive styling treatments for the front and rear should give this model more of a high-performance look, while the smoothly arched roofline of the Coupe should match up well with a taller greenhouse. 

The cabin, as with the 3-Series, should get a bit roomier, although the 4-Series models get a new 2+2 layout, with bucket seats in back. In the 4-Series Coupe Concept shown above (and to be officially shown at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show), special attention was paid to materials, surfaces, and trims, with a chocolate-brown Alcantara headliner, natural chestnut wood trim, more leather surfaces than in previous models.

Expect an engine lineup to include both the 240-hp, 2.0-liter turbocharged in-line four-cylinder engine and the 3.0-liter turbo in-line six, likely 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 will be part of the mix, while we expect BMW to also update the 4-Series with its latest electric power steering system, as in the 3-Series.

In our latest review of the 2013 BMW 3-Series, we note that 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 3-Series sedans remain perhaps the most confident, dynamically engaging models in their class. We expect the same of these new 4-Series models.

Feature-wise, the 4-Series models should also be aligned somewhat with the 3-Series sedans, especially with respect to the tech features—although we anticipate a few more special trims, materials, and appearance packages. Along with an updated navigation system, look for the latest, revised menu system for the iDrive interface and more voice-activated controls.

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