EXECUTIVE EDITOR RORY CARROLL: I am coming around to the general shape of the 3-series and 4-series, but the details are wildly tacky. The black plastic window surrounds, sport and luxury badges and the little boomerangs that adorn the front fenders are awfully cheap looking. This 2014 BMW 435i coupe is a generally good-looking car, but looking at the aforementioned details, I almost feel like I’m being trolled. Tell me these cars aren’t aimed at killing the last vestiges of my sanity.
As with the M235i we drove last week, the chassis feels taut, the engine is a joy, but the transmission is a weak link. At speed, it works just fine, but stomping on the gas only to hear the engine rev impotently for a split-second while the trans decides what it wants to do is a real bummer. Is it me? Why can’t I like this thing?
The 2014 BMW 435i Coupe comes in at a base price of $46,925. Photo by BMW
ASSOCIATE EDITOR JAKE LINGEMAN: As good as the BMW M235i coupe was, this 435i improves it in every way -- except for power-to-weight ratio. This car is a little heavier, and therefore feels a tad bit slower. It’s not heavy enough for me not to suggest it over the aforementioned 2-series, though.
This car is drop-dead gorgeous. It has the perfect proportions: long hood, short trunk, low and wide all around. It’ll also fit a few adults in the back, semi-comfortably, unlike the M235i.
The interior feels roomy, the seats are easy to get in and out of, and the BMW iDrive system is near second nature now. The dashboard on the 4 is extremely clean these days. Just simple black buttons and dials in the central area, with the screen above it. All the panel gaps are tight, and everything seems to fit together perfectly.
Whenever I get in these Bimmers, the first thing I do move the drive select to sport plus, which ups sensitivity on the throttle and loosens the traction control. That way I feel like I’m getting everything the car has to give.
So, I’m driving home, and this car must look like something special, because I had not one but two people try to race me. A guy in a Jaguar XF blew past me, trying to goad me, then an Acura TL blew by me on the expressway when I was doing 80 mph. Something about this car must say, “Let’s get it on.”
The I6/eight-speed automatic combo is butter smooth. Like I said in my M235i review, these automatic transmissions are so good we don’t need dual-clutches anymore. It starts pulling hard at about 2,000 rpm, and as long as you keep shifting, doesn’t let up until way past the speed limit. It feels like it’ll go on forever. The 435i has a great exhaust note, too, and grunts in between gears.
I guess I would ditch the $2,200 premium package, but the rest of that stuff is important. The M235i stickered at around $45K, so at $55K this 435i coupe seems like a good deal.
The 2014 BMW 435i Coupe is equipped with a 3.0-liter turbocharged I6 joined with a eight-speed automatic gearbox. Photo by BMW
SENIOR MOTORSPORTS EDITOR MAC MORRISON: So far, so good -- I give BMW’s new lineup high marks. New exterior styling is more aggressive, and the sharp driving experience, be it in the aforementioned M235i or now this 435i coupe, is excellent.
Jake mentioned that engaging sport-plus mode is his first move upon strapping in, and juvenile or not, I employ the same SOP. I remarked recently about the M235i with the M Performance package that I didn’t see much need for a full-on M version as a street car, and the same applies here with this 435i. Disingenuous? You betcha, because no performance junkie is ever cured fully, and more is always better, right? Righhhht … but if you’re secure enough that you don’t need to wage “mine is bigger than yours” warfare against your moneyed social set, you should be more than thrilled with this well-equipped 4-series.
Sharp and quick steering, stiff suspension and nice response to all inputs, especially front-end bite on aggressive turn-in, represent noteworthy high points here. Topping it all is classic BMW throttle-steerability that makes any corner you wish into a mini-drift session; the size and duration of those drifts is entirely your choice. But in sport-plus, the software allows an entertaining amount of rear slip-angle before smacking you and reminding you to behave.
Some staffers have remarked that BMW’s new interiors don’t exactly induce heart palpitations, and while I agree to an extent, I also find them pleasing to the eye and touch, though they do lean toward conservative. Ponying up for fancy optional interior trim seems to be the trend lately, and while I’m no fan of it, there’s nothing missing from the 435i’s interior I can’t live without.
No, the driving experience and adjustable ride and handling setup, straight out of the box, overcome any complaints I might make here. As I said, so far, so good -- really, it’s just a rollicking good time.
The 2014 BMW 435i Coupe is available with the M Sport package that adds a set of performance wheels and much more. Photo by BMW
EDITOR WES RAYNAL: I submit yet again: BMW has lost its Bavarian mind when it comes to pricing. This is a nice enough car, but there is no way on God’s green earth it’s worth $55K. What is it? Sports car? In some ways. Grand tourer? A bit, yeah. I like the looks inside and out for the most part. I especially like the more aggressive-looking front end, though looking at the options list I see that sets me back $3,100. Not sure I like it that much. The inside is awfully dark and the quote unquote bright work, in the form of the aluminum looks and feels cheap.
The car drives well enough, though, I’ll give it that. The chassis feels buttoned up and tight, the engine works perfectly in this application (I do love the BMW straight six-cylinder -- it’s arguably the best engine in the land).
Also BMW seems to have gotten its runflat tire act together; this car didn’t beat me up like I remember the 3-series used to do. There does seem to be quite a gap between comfort and sport modes. The steering becomes much quicker, the suspension tightens up, and the throttle response feels a lot faster. Revs are held longer. It’s quite abrupt. None of that is complaining. The more you tap the front of that little toggle switch the more entertaining the car becomes and that’s all good.
I like it, but given the price and some interior bits don’t love it.
The 2014 BMW 435i Coupe receives an EPA-estimated 25 mpg combined fuel economy. Photo by BMW
Options: M Sport package including M sport performance 19-inch alloy wheel, adaptive M suspension, sport seats, high-gloss black trim highlight, aluminum hexagon interior trim, M steering wheel, aerodynamic kit, shadowline exterior trim, anthracite headliner ($3,100); premium package including comfort access keyless entry, lumbar support, satellite radio with one-year subscription ($2,200); dynamic handling package including variable sport steering ($1,000); M Sport brakes ($650); Melbourne red metallic paint ($500).
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