Auto Review: The gold standard of coupes

By Bill Heald - ReminderNews
Featured Article - posted Thu., Jan. 2, 2014
- Contributed Photo

When it comes to personal transportation, our practical requirements usually mean we end up acquiring a car that is more capacious and less performance-oriented than we would necessarily like, all for those times when we need to haul a few passengers. But for those not saddled with such requirements, a two-door coupe can be a great pleasure, as these stylish machines are generally sportier than their sedan counterparts, and offer a more intimate driving environment. When you combine this body style with a company that is revered for building true driver’s cars, you get a very special ride like this week’s test auto: The BMW 435i Coupe.

Blending performance, sophistication, luxury and – most of all – a love for the road into a handsome (and relatively compact) package, this is a car that celebrates both form and function in a way only a company like BMW can manage. It is also a great example of how far modern automotive development has come, and how a coupe can make even the most routine driving chores dynamic and entertaining.

BMW’s new rear-drive 4-Series coupe is a completely new design, and comes either with a 2-liter Turbocharged Inline Four with 241 horsepower (the 428i) or a 3-liter Turbocharged Inline Six with 302 horsepower (the 435i, our test car). Both of these engines have a “Twin Scroll” turbocharger design, and the 428i can be had with a 6-speed Manual transmission and All-Wheel Drive (although not at the same time), and all other models are paired to an 8-speed Automatic transmission. Acceleration is ultra-quick, with 60 mph arriving in just over 6 seconds, and the 8-speed automatic gearbox has a very crisp manual mode for additional driver control. Our 435i also had the M Sport option, which included numerous trim additions as well as high-performance brakes and stiffer suspension tuning with Adaptive Technology. “Its kinematics/ elastokinematics (bushings and bearings) have also been tweaked,” according to BMW. Good news for everybody, in my view. Even in the “Comfort” setting, the suspension is quite taut, meaning the ride may be a touch firm for some, but handling is extremely responsive. This road holding is more impressive as the pavement gets more challenging, and you have to really overdo it to make the car lose its composure.

The cozy cockpit has BMW’s typically excellent instrument cluster and navigation screen, and the latest in advanced infotainment software is, of course, on board. The front seats are studies in comfortable support, and surprisingly the rear seats are very habitable once you crawl back there.  I’m not talking sedan-like utility, but there is some reasonable room, and even the trunk is very well-finished, in keeping with the rest of the car.

Performance, comfort and seriously advanced electronics make this BMW the kind of car sport coupes aspire to. The 2014 BMW 435i Coupe is EPA rated 22 MPG city/32 highway and has a base price of $46,000. With extensive option packages, our MSRP came to $60,625.

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