2015 428 New Car Test Drive
A new BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe body style joins the BMW 4 Series for 2015, which comprises a beautiful lineup of two-door coupes and convertibles.
The BMW 4 Series was introduced for the 2014 model year as the successor to the 3 Series coupe, part of a move to use even numbers for two-door models and odd numbers for four-door models. However, the logic of the new nomenclature goes out the window with the 2015 BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe, a four-door hatchback. The 4 Series Gran Coupe offers easy rear-seat access and increased cargo space, with the coupe's more tailored silhouette.
The 4 Series two-door coupe and convertible models continue for 2015, with only a few minor changes to features, packaging and options. Notably, Bluetooth streaming audio capability is now standard on all models.
Built on the same architecture as the 3 Series, the 4 Series models ride on the same 110-6-inch wheelbase as the 3 Series sedans, but are slightly wider. Gran Coupe models are about an inch-and-a-half lower, while coupes and convertibles are nearly two inches lower.
Two engine choices are available in all 4 Series body styles: The BMW 428i uses BMW's turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4 that makes 240 horsepower and 255 pound-feet of torque. The more powerful BMW 435i coupe and BMW 435i Gran Coupe use a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6 good for 300 hp and 300 lb.-ft. of torque. The 4 Series models can also be fitted with BMW's xDrive all-wheel drive.
We like the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine and find it superbly capable in most driving environments, both in BMW 428i coupe and BMW 428i Gran Coupe variants. It's efficient, and is just as content when commuting as a long road trip. The limits of four-cylinder engine become apparent only in the most demanding situations, such as passing while traveling up a steep grade at high speeds. Only then will it become apparent that the powertrain is working hard, with the accompanying whine to prove it. But with admirable EPA fuel economy ratings of 23/35 mpg City/Highway for the BMW 428i with the automatic transmission, this car makes the most sense for the majority of drivers.
Still, the turbocharged inline-6 used in the BMW 435i coupe, BMW 435i convertible, and BMW 435i Gran Coupe is by far the most fun, with plenty of power for dashing around mountain roads. Power delivery is smooth and linear, even at higher elevations (where older turbocharged engines can sometimes gasp for breath in the thin air). Fuel economy for the rear-wheel-drive BMW 435i Coupe with the automatic transmission is 22/32 mpg City/Highway. The 8-speed automatic transmission is more efficient in all variants, and achieves better fuel economy than the optional 6-speed manual.
Interior materials in the 2015 BMW 4 Series are similar to those found on the 3 Series, though the 4 Series cabin design is clearly more driver-oriented. The center stack is slightly canted to the left, and the narrow, tapered center console sits high, cordoning off the driver in her own little cocoon. The iDrive controller and a color screen are standard. For the most part, interior materials are rich and interesting, although certain trims and color combinations can tend to look mismatched.
Back-seat space is fine but not cavernous, with slightly less rear legroom in the convertible. Because of its extra set of doors, Gran Coupe models are a better choice for those who will regularly carry passengers. Cargo space in two-door coupes is good, and even better in Gran Coupe models. The convertible, not surprisingly, offers the least amount of space, especially when the retractable hardtop is down.
The BMW 4 Series coupe is a leader in a class that includes competitors such as the Audi A5, Cadillac ATS Coupe, INFINITI Q60 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class coupe. BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe models are unique choice for those who want the coupe's sleek silhouette but with the easy access of four doors and more trunk space.
The 2015 BMW 4 Series comes in three body styles: two-door Coupe, Convertible and four-door Gran Coupe. All are available with a choice of two engines, the 428i powered by a 2.0-liter inline-4, and the 435i, powered by a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six. All standard models are rear-wheel-drive; BMW's all-wheel drive (xDrive) is optional. Transmission choices on most rear-wheel-drive models include either a 6-speed manual or an 8-speed automatic with paddle shifters. All-wheel-drive models come only with the automatic.
BMW 428i coupe ($40,600), Convertible ($48,750) and Gran Coupe ($40,300) models include automatic climate control, leatherette upholstery, eight-way power front seats with driver memory, pushbutton start, a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with controls, cruise control, onboard computer, Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, BMW's iDrive interface with 6.5-inch display screen, a nine-speaker audio system with CD player, HD radio, USB port and auxiliary audio jack, universal garage door opener, split folding rear seat, foglamps, rain-sensing automatic wipers, Xenon adaptive headlights with auto-leveling, power folding exterior mirrors with automatic dimming and 17-inch alloy wheels. Coupe An automatic stop/start feature is also included to help save fuel. Coupe and Gran Coupe models also get a power sunroof.
BMW 435i Coupe ($46,100), Convertible ($54,900), and Gran Coupe ($45,800) models are similarly equipped, but include the more powerful engine and come standad with 18-inch alloy wheels.
One of three additional trim packages can be added to all 4 Series models: Luxury, Sport and M Sport. Each has its own unique wheels, exterior trim, interior styling, wheels and suspension tuning. Prices vary depending on the line and the model.
Other options include the Cold Weather Package ($950), which adds a heated front and rear seats, a steering wheel and retractable headlight washers (plus seat-mounted neck warmers on convertibles). The Dynamic Handling Package ($1,000) adds an adaptive M suspension and variable-ratio sport steering. Premium Package ($2,200) includes leather upholstery, keyless access, lumbar support and satellite radio with one year subscription. The Technology Package ($3,150) adds navigation with touchpad, real-time traffic information, a head-up display, a more detailed instrument cluster, BMW Online and BMW Apps functionality and Remote Services, which features remote door unlocking, stolen vehicle recovery and more. Standalone options include leather upholstery ($1,450), heated front seats ($500), navigation ($2,150), a premium Hardon Kardon surround audio system ($875) and a variety of wheel options.
Safety features standard on all models include front-impact airbags that deploy at different rates depending on the severity of impact, front passenger side-impact airbags, full-cabin, curtain-type head protection airbags, ABS, stability control, traction control and BMW Assist eCall crash notification system. Safety options include a Driver Assistance Package ($950) with a rearview camera and park distance control. The Driver Assistance Plus Package ($1,900) adds side and top view cameras plus several active safety features like blind spot detection, lane departure warning, forward collision warning, pedestrian warning and collision mitigation.