LIFE BEGINS AT 4

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BMW201402252+2, in this case, does not add up.

Because BMW’s new 4 Series, recently introduced in the Philippines, appears to be a genuine four-seat coupé—not a car with a pair of rear seats made for humans without legs. It was, after all, concocted as the replacement to the two-door variants of the brand’s seminal 3 Series sport sedans.

In short, 4 sprung forth from the two-door 3, and so it can seat four. Snugly in the rear, maybe, but a quartet still.

Oh, the 3 Series. Spawned from the 1600 and 2002 models that BMW built in the ’60s and early ’70s, the first 3 came out in 1975 to further its predecessor’s sport sedan genre-creating feat but in a luxurious (for its day, at least) package. So the original 3 was softer riding, roomier and better accoutered while remaining as athletic as the New Class models that came before it. From then on, the car’s original two-door-only cut morphed into sedans, wagons, crossovers. To say the range helped elevate BMW from a niche German brand to the planet’s best-selling premium-car maker is to say there is no such thing as a, well, sport sedan—number of doors notwithstanding.

BMW fixes this nomenclatural mess by assigning a new tag to the coupé variant of the 3 Series. The distributor of the brand in the Philippines, Asian Carmakers Corp., said the new 4 Series not only carries on the good stuff on which the 3 had built its rep but also “celebrates the very essence of the BMW brand’s existence.”


“With its powerful road presence and standout dynamic ability, this coupé is one of the sportiest vehicles in the current BMW lineup, setting a new standard for the segment,” said ACC President Maricar Parco. “Similar to its predecessor, the outgoing 3 Series Coupé, the 4 Series Coupé gives out an abundance of sheer driving pleasure that is unmistakably BMW.”

ACC is initially selling the model’s 420d variant for P3.990 million.

‘Fourplay’
The 4, which BMW designates as the F32 when the present 3 is coded the F30, sits on a wheelbase that’s almost two inches longer than that under the old 3 coupe, as well as front and rear tracks that were set apart significantly more. Also, the new car grew wider while squatting lower than before—hugging 19-inch alloys as it does so. Short overhangs typical to BMWs plus a long hood/short deck coupe shape keep the 4 looking sporty.

It also gets bi-xenon headlamps with LED “corona rings” and what BMW calls “air breathers” on the car’s front fenders—essentially fancy-shaped holes that the company said reduces drag. BMW also makes a fuss at the fact that the 4’s widest part is its rear wheel arches, which is a first for any BMW. This, according to corporate prose, emphasizes the car’s “new levels of grip and handling.”

The 420d launched locally is propelled by a four-pot diesel engine that, courtesy of BMW’s TwinPower dual-scroll turbocharger, spins out 184hp and 380Nm of torque. The mill bolts on to an eight-speed automatic transmission that can be shifted manually through paddles mounted on the steering column.

BMW’s EfficientDynamics suite of fuel-saving and emission-cleaning technologies makes it to the 4. The list includes a start/stop function that automatically switches the engine off when it is merely idling then restarts it when it’s time to go; a brake energy regeneration system that harnesses otherwise wasted energy to power some engine ancillaries; an Eco Pro mode that “dumbs down” drivetrain responses to let the car cut fuel use by as much as 20 percent; and the abovementioned air breather and its air curtain twin on the front bumper that improve aero flow around—and even through—the car.

As a BMW, which are cars once pitched as the “ultimate driving machines,” the 4 Series retains its 50/50 front/rear weight distribution, guaranteeing fine handling balance during on-the-limit driving. Helping in this regard are “various improvements in steering accuracy,” sophisticated chassis technology, wind-tunnel fine-tuning and a lightweight structure, according to BMW.

In terms of cabin appointments, the 4 receives BMW’s techie stuff that’s bundled within the brand’s ConnectedDrive pack of driver-assist and infotainment systems, where the iDrive—basically a 6.5-inch touch-screen LCD panel—serves as the control console for various functions. Soft-touch leather wrapping over the furniture, glossy trim accents, contoured front seats with electrically adjustable side bolsters, scalloped rear seats and a fat three-spoke steering wheel fuse sporty touches with luxury.

Now that adds up.

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