What is it?
It didn’t start well, our drive from Munich to Austria in the updated BMW 4 Series. Like the preceding weeks in the UK, apparently Deutschland had experienced an equally balmy run-up to Easter, so snow was the last thing on anyone’s mind. Yet snow it did, and in the midst of the blizzard, a brilliant display of German ingenuity ensured that the whole fleet of press cars was swapped onto winter tyres before our Airbus A320 pilot had pulled up the handbrake and switched off the seatbelt sign.
The press conference began with some disappointingly mundane facts about the new car. New lights, they said, front and rear. New bumpers, too, plus new leather colours, body colours and even a new steering wheel. Yippee, but if we’re honest, test driving a new bumper didn’t really seem worth the horrendously early start.
Things got a little more interesting when the talk moved to the updated technology. This includes the options of a configurable digital instrument display and a new infotainment package, with swipeable, tile-based menus and Apple CarPlay. Both ape similar systems fitted to the current 5 Series and 7 Series.
Then Jos van As, BMW’s driving dynamics guru, mentioned the increased negative camber of the front wheels to curtail understeer, revised damper rates and larger-diameter anti-roll bars; things are looking up, we thought. But it was the phrase "remapped steering, to improve feedback" that really set the pulse racing, because of all things, a slack helm was the main blot on the previous 4 Series’ copybook. Our interest was well and truly piqued.