Written by Karl Peskett
BMW’s 4 Series coupe hasn’t suffered from pressure to conform to modern standards, and is all the better for it.
Traditions are being lost in today’s fast-moving world. Go to any press conference and you’ll be hard pressed to find paper and pen; tablets reign supreme. Wood has been replaced by plastic, and leather by synthetic materials. Perhaps one of the greatest losses, however, is the shift to front-wheel-drive cars.
For decades rear-wheel-drive was the standard. Inherent grip from weight transfer, good weight distribution, and the ability to correct steering from both ends meant it was viewed as safer and more predictable. But cost-cutting has seen manufacturing processes combine engine, gearbox, and differential into one efficient package. Channelling power and steering through the front wheels has dulled our connection with the road; the joy of driving has been lost. Thankfully, however, one manufacturer still does things the right way.
BMW’s 4 Series coupe proves that traditional and modern techniques can exist harmoniously. Turbochargers are standard across the range, with a 2l petrol four-cylinder and a 3l six-cylinder. The 428i, with its 240hp/350Nm engine backed up by a slick eight-speed automatic, will get you from zero to 100kph in 5.8 seconds, while the 435i’s 300hp/400Nm mill does it in 5.1 seconds – the 4 Series is no slouch.
But it’s the way it feels on the road that separates the 4 Series from its rivals. The steering is perfection, not suffering from interference from being powered. Simply by using a touch more or less throttle, it can be placed perfectly on the road. As far as driver involvement goes, the 4 Series is heaven.
Combine that with superb suspension, a beautifully crafted interior, and room for four, and the 4 Series starts to make a lot of sense.
BMW’s use of RWD has confirmed a universal truth: despite the passage of time, there’s always a right way of doing something.
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