Test Drive: 2014 BMW 435i xDrive car test drives luxury cars bmw
Test Drive: 2014 BMW 435i xDrive car test drives luxury cars bmw
Test Drive: 2014 BMW 435i xDrive car test drives luxury cars bmw
2014 BMW 435i xDrive. Click image to enlarge

Review and photos by Paul Williams

As much as I’m a fan of BMW’s spunky turbocharged four-cylinder engines, everybody knows the company’s reputation was built on its silky-smooth inline sixes.

And as much as I like the design of the latest BMW sedans, it’s a seductive coupe profile that can weaken the knees of car enthusiasts and usually dispassionate auto journalists alike.

So it is that the 2014 BMW 435i instantly satisfies the preferences expressed in the above two paragraphs. Here’s the excellent TwinPower Turbo 3.0-litre six cylinder engine propelling the sublimely rendered 435i, newly introduced with the 428i as a 2014 model.

As you may already know, the 4, 6 and historical 8 Series BMWs have now consigned the odd-numbered 3, 5, and 7 Series cars to practical sedan status, while your even-numbered vehicles – close to 20 percent of buyers – emerge unencumbered by the superfluity of two extra doors (they’re coupes, in other words… or “Coupés,” in the official BMW usage).

Who needs them, anyway? The rear doors, that is. Get rid of them and you can say bye-bye to the constraint of turning the back seat into a lounge for two or three adults who you may not like and rarely transport anyway. And gone is the need to elevate the height of the roof so that the headliner doesn’t flatten said rear-seat passengers’ delicate hair-dos. Get rid of those doors and the entire vehicle can be reimagined with the focus almost exclusively on YOU! (in your role as driver), and the performance orientation and sleek aesthetics of the vehicle itself.

Hence the term, “sporty coupe”, which should be a redundancy when you think about it.

Depending on the drivetrain, the base price of the 2014 BMW 4 Series Coupé is $44,900 (yes, it’s a big step up from the sedan, and also more than the retired 3 Series Coupé). For that you get a 428i with the four-cylinder engine, rear-wheel drive and a six-speed manual transmission.

Check a couple of boxes and you’ll pay $55,600 to have your car equipped with the 3.0L inline-six, sophisticated eight-speed automatic (the manual gearbox becomes a “no charge option”) and an xDrive all-wheel drive system, plus pre-delivery fees. Our test 435i xDrive is therefore a little more expensive than the 428i (I understate…) at $66,845 including pre-delivery and three option packages plus metallic paint.

Still, you’re in genuine sport-luxury territory here, and two of those three packages – the $4,900 Premium and $850 Connected Drive – you’d really want. They supply things like a rear-view camera, active LED headlights, navigation with real-time traffic information, on-board Internet and satellite radio with premium Harman/Kardon sound system.

Test Drive: 2014 BMW 435i xDrive car test drives luxury cars bmw Test Drive: 2014 BMW 435i xDrive car test drives luxury cars bmw
2014 BMW 435i xDrive. Click image to enlarge

The third package would be nice, but… ah, heck, if you’re up in the $60K range, check off the $2,500 Executive Package as well. In addition to the High Beam Assistant, Lane Departure and Collision Warning system and Surround View camera, it’s got a Head-Up Display, and I, at least, am a sucker for those.

Dakota leather seating, automatic climate control, 19-inch alloy wheels, start/stop button with keyless engine start, rain sensing wipers with heated washer jets, sunroof, heated steering wheel, heated and powered seats… 435i’s have all this as standard, so no worries about comfort and convenience.

Test Drive: 2014 BMW 435i xDrive car test drives luxury cars bmw
2014 BMW 435i xDrive. Click image to enlarge

In addition to the no-charge option of an old-school gearbox (didn’t it use to cost less when you selected a manual?), the 435i xDrive also arrives with a standard M Sport Package featuring an aerodynamic package, sport seats, the big wheels, and flourishes like an “M” gearshift knob, steering wheel and badging on the fenders and sills.

Larger in width and wheelbase than the 3 Series Coupe it replaces, the 435i is also lower and longer. BMW is particularly proud of the car’s low centre of gravity, which at less than 500 millimetres is the lowest of any car in the BMW lineup. Contributing to the low centre of gravity, the ride height has been lowered to 130 mm (5.1 inch inches), a reduction of 12.7 mm (0.5 inch) compared with the outgoing 3 Series Coupé. The lower ride height improves handling and fuel efficiency, but arguably makes the striking but delicate front fascia vulnerable to certain winter driving conditions and speed bumps.

Then again, road-hugging presence also contributes to the 435i’s appealing profile; its body seemingly melted onto the platform, it’s large wheels fitting snugly into the wheel openings. From outside, the car’s a head turner!

The interior, however, is familiar 3 Series. It’s a smart environment, don’t get me wrong, minimally but tastefully highlighted with aluminum trim panels. But it’s virtually the same as that found in 3 Series sedans. While this serves to align the 4 Series with the 3 Series, it would be nice to see more distinction between the two models from the driver’s perspective. Maybe a different gauge cluster, for instance.




About Paul Williams

Paul Williams is an Ottawa-based freelance automotive writer and senior writer for Autos. He is a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC).