The reality is relentless acceleration, delivered with the usual gruff BMW diesel ‘six note kept just far enough away. The engine’s rev range is surprising: you really can hang onto gears in the excellent 8-speed auto ‘box. Predictably, the traction benefits are most obvious during hard acceleration on slippery surfaces and at the exit of a corner, where – with DSC off - the 435 is more likely to exhibit gentle power understeer than suddenly snap into a torque-heavy drift.
Whether that’s a good thing or not depends entirely on your personal viewpoint, but this BMW coupé really spits out of curves with grim determination.
The 435d will effortlessly blast from one side of Europe to the other, using surprisingly little fuel given the performance, but it’s a rather aloof car to know. Yes, it corners flatly with impressive lateral grip, but like other variants in the range this 4-series is more GT than sports car. It can’t quite shake off the feeling of mass.
At 1,700kg it’s got some bulk to haul around - just under 100kg more than a rear-driven 4 Series – but the main culprit is the steering, which resolutely denies you any sense of what’s happening down at the front wheels, nor reassures by adding much weight with lock applied. Combine that with outstanding refinement (granted, a positive attribute, and it rides well too on adaptive dampers) and you’ve got a car that keeps the driver deliberately distanced from the action.
Inside, the ambience is entirely predictable, but if you’re not too concerned with the wow factor it’s a fine place to spend time, thanks to excellent ergonomics, clear instrumentation and a low-slung driving position notably racier than that of a 3 Series. Kit levels are high, as you’d hope at the price, although there’s plenty of potential to spend more.