What is it?
The lightest, most aerodynamic and fuel-efficient version of the all-new second-generation BMW 4 Series – which, in all five of its two-door coupé-bodied launch derivatives, has now landed in the UK. Pretty soon, then, if you haven’t already, you’ll get a chance to make up your own mind about how it looks in the metal.
And if your opinion reflects what seems to be the pretty widely shocked, confused and occasionally disgusted majority consensus, your next question might well be to wonder what the 4 Series’ wider package can possibly do to make up for the deficiencies of what we might call its ‘impactful’ styling. That’s a word chosen quite deliberately, by the way – because the only rationale this tester can think of to explain why this car looks the way it does is so that you might be able to inadvertently involve it in a light frontal collision and, from a distance at least, not immediately see the difference.
There are four engines on offer in this car to begin with; five versions in all if you count two- and four-wheel-drive derivatives separately. The range-topping 369bhp M440i xDrive is for now the only multi-cylinder option and is one of only two all-wheel drive options, the other being an xDrive version of the 420d. If you like your diesels with more than four cylinders, meanwhile, there will be 430d and M440d options arriving on sale in the UK in the new year.
Among the more affordable four-cylinder options, though, BMW offers 181bhp 420i and 255bhp 430i turbocharged petrols, but only the diesels and the six-pot petrol get the benefit of BMW’s new 48V mild-hybrid assistance set-up. I’m not sure why that’s the case, but it certainly stands to widen still further the gap that has traditionally separated the real-world fuel efficiency of BMW diesels and petrols. Almost 20mpg now stands between the ‘WLTP combined’ lab test running economy of a new 420i and 420d, which is enough to make anyone think twice about whether they’re quite ready to move to petrol power for their next German coupé.