Driving Perfection: The 2014 BMW 428i M Sport

BMW has taken the world by storm in recent years beefing their line up with solid purposeful, fun, and overall great cars. 

When we talk about one car that defines the very concept of BMW, we unavoidably have an image of a classic 3 Series E30.  BMW was always a drivers car with perfect balance of performance, luxury, and pure fun.  No other car has managed to achieve such perfect balance than the 3 series.



But what happens next, has caught entire automotive world by storm: BMW has allocated the 3 series to 4 door vehicles and grew the legendary coupe by a whooping 100!  Enter the first ever BMW 4 series!

While probably going to be known as the bravest move in automotive history, just by looking at this car it is obvious that BMW knew what they were doing.

The car grew by 44 in width, but is 16 mm lower and it also lighter than the outgoing E92.  Most of this weight is at the bottom as BMW said that the 4 series coupe has the lowest center of gravity out of their entire line.

Also for the 4 Series BMW has extended the wheelbase by 50mm, giving it increased comfort, capacity, and this striking form.  What is also interesting about this car is shape of the roof.  The elegantly curved roof line almost looks like a moving wave, creating a visual effect that makes the car look fast when it's standing still.  The practical application of this shape is that it gives the car large windows, enhancing visibility and safety as well as creating lots of room for rear occupants.

In the back, it's business as usual for BMW with nicely shaped LED tail lights, blacked out diffuser-like bottom of rear bumper and a dual exhaust pipe that is standard on 2.0L turbo models.  The car also stands out due to its very large track width, which is even wider than the outgoing E92 M3.

As with all BMW's it sits perfectly.  The 19 inch optional M wheels give it the undeniable sporty appeal. 

BMW follows their tradition of adding and handful of nice touches that serve a purpose and make you want to pick a pen and sign the contract on the spot.


For example, the new addition to BMW design feature are these air vents that also help channel air from spinning wheels to reduce drag.

On the inside it's all about functionality and driving pleasure.  Cockpit is a direct replica of what you'd see in a 3 series, but with a bit more sporty seats and lower driving position.

Perhaps it has too much of the 3 series in it as when driving a premium coupe it should feel more special. 

That said, there was probably risk of ruining what maybe may be referred to as ergonomically perfect layout.  Every switch, button or knob, are positioned where you'd expect them to be.  Maybe not as luxurious as some of the rivals, but it just feels right.

And when we get to the actual moment of driving this car, it does feel, for a lack of better word, extraordinary.  Around town it's visibility makes driving extremely easy.  As with any BMW of such class handling is precise  responsive and predictable, while the car produces absolutely incredible engine noise.

Speaking of the engine, the 240 HP with 350 N·m of torque 2.0L inline four turbo motor has won numerous awards, and it done it for a reason.  Combined with above mentioned artificial noise the engine feels a lot bigger than it is, and that's a good thing.  Response is phenomenal and power delivery is extremely linear for a turbo. It can propel the 428i from 0 to 100kph in respectable 5.9 seconds.

The ZF 8 Speed Sport transmission is also absolutely superb.  While silky smooth in comfort mode it comes to life when car is flicked into Sports mode.  Gear changes are quick and aggressive, almost tricking the driver into thinking that this is a double clutch box.

The car absolutely flies through town, but even during a heavily patrolled weekend we managed to stay out of trouble as we could still keep the speed within reasonable range.  A car which is capable of this and providing a bucket-load of fun in the process is an absolute treasure for country like Japan where police is getting even more brutal despite the record low road accident fatality rate.

Perhaps the authorities want everyone to come to complete stop to avoid accidents all together, but unlike all ECO tin cans running around streets, this car can still be a pleasure while standing still.  But before they reach their evil goal of grounding the awesome car culture in Japan, there is a new player in town that sets a standard of its own: The magnificent BMW 428i.


Cost of Ownership:
5/5
The car isn't cheap, but once it is in your garage it's pretty much worry free due to its simplicity and Eco-mindness. The 2.0L turbo engine is wallet-friendly and the displacement tax is in the lower bracket.  The engine has plenty of punch, but not enough to wear out those massive Continental tires any time soon.

Practicality
4/5
There is tons of space in the cabin and even the back seat.  As a matter of fact, many refer to this car as a 2 door sedan.  With high capacity trunk space which can be connected to cabin through collapsible back seat it almost can be used as a family daily driver, but I am not sure if average housewife would appreciate the lack of rear doors (4 series Gran Coupe can't come soon enough)
Cabin Comfort
4/5
It felt relaxing, ergonomic and extremely comfortable.  Road noise is isolated but the car does have the engine noise speaker which cannot be turned off and it may disturb some occupants.

Appeal
5/5
This is one of the best looking BMW's out there.  Proportions are magnificent and despite positioned closer to the entry level across the model range, the BMW badge still screams luxury and attitude.

Fun Factor
4/5
The car delivers exactly what it is supposed to: safe and nimble grand tourer that likes to play but is very forgiving.  I still think however, that it needs the inline six and much louder exhaust note.  Hopefully I get to drive the 435i soon, and who knows... maybe the M4?

The BMW 4 series is available at BMW Japan dealerships across Japan starting at 6,040,000 yen, with M Sport option setting your back another 400,000.
I would like to thank Abe Motors - official dealer of BMW in Japan for providing the opportunity to drive this car.

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