What is it?
The BMW 435i is the nearest you’ll get to an M4 for the best part of the next year.
It’s powered by the only six-cylinder TwinPower engine in the launch line-up (the 428i and 420d are both four-pot motors). The range-topping unit develops 302bhp between 5800 and 6000rpm, but more importantly, as we shall see, 295lb ft between 1200 and 5000rpm.
With the eight-speed automatic gearbox fitted to our test car, it will accelerate to 62mph in 5.1sec, which is 0.3sec faster than cars with a six-speed manual, but 0.2sec slower than the forthcoming 435i xDrive. Top speed is limited to 155mph.
The 4-series has a wheelbase lengthened by 50mm over the 3-series saloon. It is also 26mm longer and has a track widened by 45mm at the front and 81mm at the rear. The roofline is 16mm lower and the ride height is reduced by 10mm, meaning it has the lowest centre of gravity of any current BMW.
BMW has changed the settings of the springs, dampers and camber angles and strengthened the front section, meaning that the 4-series is 60 per cent stiffer than the old 3-series coupé.
BMW is keen to distance the 4-series from the 3-series coupé, despite the obvious similarities. The styling is, to these eyes, rather handsome. The wide rear wheelarches are a particular high point, and BMW says it’s the first time one of its mid-size coupés has made such a focal point of its hips.
The interior also bears more than a passing resemblance to the Three. Again, some effort has been made to set it apart, with a dashboard colour palette not available to saloon buyers, door cards featuring a stretched design, and a character line that runs from the dash into the rear compartment. The rear seats are sculpted to appear as two separate seats and have integrated headrests, like those fitted to the 6-series.
The front seats are arranged slightly lower than in the 3-series, to offer a more sporting driving position. Space in the front is ample, and an increase of 13mm of rear legroom gives a decent amount of space, even if headroom is slightly lacking.