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2014 BMW 4-Series

BMW executives said here at the global unveiling of the newest coupe it gets the “4” designation as part of a move to sedans having odd-numbers (3-, 5- & 7-Series) and coupes even (4, 6, 8 etc.).

Obviously, there is some alignment in order going forward — current 1-Series vehicles have two doors and the 6-Series Grand Coupe has four.

Despite this confusion, the 4-Series is a significant addition to the line and we can expect a convertible to come also designated a 4-Series. While sharing much with the current 3-Series sedan, most of the common componentry is out of sight.

What you do see is significantly different and attractive. The 2014 4-Series Coupe is within a couple of millimetres of the sedan in length and wheelbase, but lower and a lot wider.

The long hood, short deck and sloping glass fore and aft of BWM coupes remains. The widest point of this new BMW coupe is at the rear wheels, not the door handles as is common industry practice.

The track is wider both front and rear and the suspension lowered. The new coupe boasts a perfect 50/50- weight distribution and the lowest center of gravity of any BMW product.

The result is a purposeful stance and a promise of driving dynamics backed up by unique suspension and other tuning upgrades. The 2014 BMW 4-Series Coupe will come to Canada this fall in 428i and 435i guise.

The duo will have the same twin-turbo four and six-cylinder engines as their four-door counterparts and both will be available with an updated version of BMW’s xDrive all-wheel-drive system.

The 428i will come with a six-speed manual transmission as standard equipment and an eight-speed automatic with paddle shifters a $1,600 option. In addition to the sleek profile with low roof and wide stance, the 4-Series gets unique touches on all sides.

The front features the usual twin kidney-shaped grill flanked by a quartet of round Xenon headlights unless the buyer selected the new LED headlight system which stands out with its hexagonal units.

The lower valance incorporates fog lights and if you look closely you will notice small air intakes to their outside edge.

They direct air into the wheel wells and over the wheels to where it exits through boomerang shaped ‘air breathers’ positioned on the fenders.

This improved airflow around the wheels helps reduce turbulence and lowers the coefficient of drag which in turn cuts wind noise and contributes to increasing fuel efficiency.

The side view also shows a parallel pair of swage lines at the top and bottom of the doors, frameless side glass and unique wheels — 18- or 19-inch alloys depending on model and equipment level.

Broad tail lights help accentuate the car’s width. Twin exhaust outlets at the left tell you it is a the four-cylinder version while the pipes for the six emerge at opposite sides. The interior is straightforward BMW. Everything is legible and easily reached and operated.

Fit, finish and material quality are all top-of-the-line. The full-colour infotainment and navigation display screen is the only errant part, sticking up in the center like an after-thought. But that may be an emerging design trend since the new Mercedes A-Class has the same ‘feature.’

There is nothing dull about the performance though. No four-cylinder (428i) models were available at the launch — all were 435s with the delightful 3.0-litre inline six paired with the eight-speed automatic.

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