It’s not every day you receive an invitation from BMW SA to fly up to Nelspruit for the launch of the facelifted release of the 4 Series.
I was really excited getting to return to Nelspruit (now called Mbombela), with my family having lived up there for a few years. I spent a bit of time visiting for holidays and exploring the neighbouring picturesque towns of Sabie, White River, Waterval Boven, Machadadorp, Barbeton and the moutain passes in the Mpumalanga region. I never thought I would be returning to experience these places with the exquisite 4 Series and get to enjoy a very Dynamic driving experience in a very capable vehicle.
At a glance, the 4 series screams for attention. The sporty styling, curved lines and prominent front bonnet make it easy on the eye.
The facelifted models boast bold styling with new LED head lights and LED rear tail lights replacing the older Xenon lights.
The cars also come in some exclusive new colours limited to the 4 series, namely Snapper Rocks Blue and Sunset Orange. The Snapper Rocks Blue, being my favourite of the day!
The models range from the entry level Petrol 420i to the Diesel 420d and Petrol 430i, 440i and of course the competition pack M4, which unfortunately we never got a chance to sample on the launch.
The 420i and 430i models come in a 2.0l 4 inline cylinder twin power turbocharged engine. The 420d also sporting a diesel variant of the 2.0l 4 inline cylinder turbocharged engine, boasting bigger torque figures. While the 440i models, the big brother are fitted with a 3.0l 6 inline cylinder twin power turbocharged power plant.
All the models come in 3 body types, namely the GranCoupé (4 door sedan), Coupé (2 door) and hardtop Convertible (2 door). These are also available with 3 optional style packs, the Luxury Line, Sport Line and the M Sport Line.
Pricing starts with the base models at just over R603 000 and ranging up to R985 000 for the 440i, before any garnishes or trimmings added. The M4 Coupé at around R1.2mil and the M4 Convertible sitting at the R1.4mil mark.
All models are available with the 8 Speed Auto gearbox or a 6 Speed Manual, but in recent year’s sales figures, surprisingly showing that 95% of customers opted for the Auto variant despite the sporty heritage of the BMW being a drivers car, the Auto gearboxes seem to have won the hearts of the majority of drivers on the congested city roads today.
The driving experience is very smooth and quiet, with little to no road and wind noise, the convertible excluded, driving with the top down of course and the wind in your hair and miles of sky above.
The driving modes feature Comfort, Eco, Sport and Sport+ (which turns off the traction control and is a real hoot). Even in Sport+ the car sits rock solid, firm and stable in corners and on the straight flats and inclines. The car sits on Bridgestone Potenza’s 225/35/R19 runflats with sporty 19″ rims also exclusive to the 4 series models and you get a very grippy feel on the road. Even on rough and bumpy surfaces, the ride comfort is sublime. Usually low profiles are not too forgiving on bumps, but these seemed fitted for the task at hand. This makes for no need to have a spare tyre in the boot, offering further weight loss, after the chassis had been put on a bit of a diet to offer a more Dynamic feel.
All in all, BMW have not dissappointed with their newly refreshed 4 Series line-up and I look forward to our time with the test models to do a full write up and review.