BMW sharpens its 4-series for 2020, and just look at these photos
BMW has sharpened up its 4-series sports coupé in line with the "grille-o-rama" Concept 4 we saw last year, clearly differentiating it from the more conservative 3-series with a long, lean and ever-so-slightly muscular look featuring the biggest nostrils since Chief Wiggum.
All the key details from the concept have made it through into production, softened off just enough to massage the look two steps back from "muscle car" towards "classy sports coupe." The headlights widen the car's eyes and take a touch of anger out of its face, pulling some menace out of the grin under the grille. The air scoops are smaller and less showy. The tail end no longer flicks up like a spoiler quite as much. The roof is higher and the rear haunches a little less pronounced.
The end result is still a very nice looking car, and its front license plate breaks up that big ol' grille nicely, to the point where it's really not an issue. The whole thing is a nicely defined step forward from the rounder, straighter lines of the 2017 model, which was no bad thing at all to drive, but its looks did betray its heritage as a split-off from the 3-series line back in 2013.
Moving beyond the skin deep, it'll launch with five variants this October, with two 4-cylinder petrol engines, two mild hybrid, 2-stage turbo 4-cylinder diesels and the big daddy M440i xDrive, a 3-liter inline six mild hybrid petrol engine making 374 horsepower and 500 Nm of torque, which becomes the performance flagship of the series. A pair of six-cylinder diesel hybrids will follow in 2021.
"Mild" hybrid is the word for sure. Don't expect any electric-only range, the hybrid system here is a tiny 48-volt starter/generator that helps the engines along with a maximum of 11 horsepower. Transmission options narrow; there's no longer a manual. An 8-speed Steptronic paddle shift auto is standard, with the option to spring extra for a sport shift version with "sprint function for instantaneous and dynamic acceleration maneuvers." The M car and one of the diesels get the xDrive AWD system, the rest are RWD only and probably not a lot the worse for it.
The body has been enhanced with rigidity in mind, and it's nearly an inch lower and wider than the 3-series sedan – all of which should make for an even tighter cornering package. You can option the suspension up, either to a racy, stiff M Sport package, or to an electronically-controlled Adaptive M package. There are also M Sport brake and rear diff packs, as well as a ton of M performance parts if you'd like to special it up a bit.
Standard driver assistance includes front collision warnings, lane departure warnings with steering assist and speed limit info, parking beepers and cloud-based BMW Maps navigation, as well as a large HUD. You'll need to stump up extra for Driving Assist Professional, self-parking, built in dash cams and the like. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard.
Prices range from US$46,595 for the 430i, which is bang on what the base model C-Class Mercedes coupe costs, up to US$59,495 for the M440i xDrive.
With all that out of the way, can we take a moment to celebrate the stunning work that photographer Fabian Kirchbauer has done on these launch shots of the 4-series negotiating a series of heartbreakingly gorgeous coastal mountain twisties? Jump into the gallery to see more. I mean, the car's lovely and all, but where the hell is that road? I must go there and sacrifice rubber and gasoline to the road gods.
Can somebody please put me out of my misery and tell me where these images were shot, so I can update my bucket list accordingly? I would be much obliged.