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Meet the new 2014 BMW 4-series coupe

Fri, 14 Jun 2013

Thanks to certain European websites, BMW's 3-series coupe replacement is out a few hours early. Here's the 2014 BMW 4-series revealed in production form. The 4 will take on the Audi A5 and Mercedes-Benz C-class coupe and make its public debut at the Frankfurt motor show in September. It will come here later this year as a 2014 model in either rear- or four-wheel drive.

The 4-series was shown as a concept at the Detroit auto show back in January and is based on the 3-series platform. The front and rear tracks are wider for a lower and wider look. Stylistically, the new car borrows from the latest 3-series, especially up front where the 4's headlamps butt up against the kidney-shaped grille.

The 4-series is about an inch longer and 2 inches wider than the 3-series coupe. The wheelbase is up 2 inches, and the track widened 2 inches in front, 3 in the rear. Significantly, the car's widest part is across the rear wheel arches -- helping provide it with a more aggressive cab-backward stance.

The new coupe will be the basis for an upcoming 4-series convertible, replacing the 3-series convertible and retaining the folding hardtop. Set for North American sale in 2014, the new convertible is planned for the Los Angeles show in November. A four-door liftback called the 4-series GranCoupe is also planned.

The 4-series coupe will be launched in the U.S. with a range of four- and six-cylinder inline engines, including a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder gas engine with 242 hp in the 428i and a turbocharged 3.0-liter six with 302 hp in the 435i.

Both engines will come standard with a six-speed manual gearbox and optional eight-speed automatic with wheel-mounted shift paddles. In BMW tradition, rear-wheel drive will be standard, though the 428i and 435i will offer optional all-wheel drive. Fuel-saving functions including automatic stop/start, brake-energy recuperation and optimum shift indicator are standard as part of BMW's EfficientDynamics initiative.

BMW plans further engine options, though not all are planned for North America. Among them are a 2.0-liter four-cylinder diesel (181 hp in the 420d), a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder gas engine (181 hp in the 420i) and a 3.0-liter six-cylinder diesel (254 hp in the 430d and 309 hp in the 435d). The 435d is planned to be sold only with four-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic gearbox, according to BMW sources.

The eagerly anticipated M3 successor, called M4, will top the lineup. Sources say it will be shown at next spring's Geneva show. The naturally aspirated 4.0-liter V8 is out; a twin-turbo version of BMW's classic 3.0-liter straight-six replacing it. Sources say 440 hp is the target.

The 4-series shares the 3-series' dash, instruments and center console. The windshield is steeper and the front seats are more contoured and set lower, so the 4-series offers a more sporty driving position.

Options are plentiful, including color head-up display, the latest-gen navigation and connectivity functions, driver assistance including pedestrian-collision warning, high-beam assistant to automatically dip the headlights and active cruise control with a stop/start function.

The suspension has been lowered in comparison to the 3-series, reducing both its center of gravity and roll center. Though we haven't driven it yet, BMW is already talking up the 4-series' handling prowess, suggesting it is one of the sportiest cars in the lineup.

The BMW 428i coupe will have a $41,425 base price, and the 2014 BMW 435i coupe will start at $46,925. Both prices include destination and handling. The 428i xDrive coupe and 435i xDrive will start from $43,425 and $48,925, respectively, also including destination and handling. The cars arrive in U.S. showrooms late this summer.

By Greg Kable