BEHIND THE WHEEL: BMW 428i

MONDAY DECEMBER 16, 2013

Sometime last week I drove past a BMW dealership and I must say, the 4 series is definitely one of the prettiest car on sale today (just don't get one in a lame colour). I couldn't quite get over what I saw and told myself, I've got to drive one soon. Critics have spoken on how BMW’s marketing strategy is a gimmick where the 4 basically a disguised 3 series and the interiors of the two are identical. The fact is that the 4 is a 2-door version of the 3 thus they will look similar and will continue to on the inside.

PRO

 Head turning looks

Excellent drive

Seats 4

CON

Off the line lag

SPECIFICATION

2-litre inline-4
245hp 350Nm
8-speed ZF
0-100 km/h: 5.8s
Top speed: 250 km/h

RM 360,00 or

RM 390,000

4 series interior

When I drove the 320d in France earlier this year, I was genuinely fascinated by how user-friendly and quick to respond iDrive is. Now with a writing pad added to the knob, it is the best infotainment system there is and if you still don't get it, you might just be the knob. You won't be too impressed on the inside because it is a bit too familiar which could be a good thing. Jump out of an Audi, get into one of these and you won't be pondering where the boot release is. Even the back seats to this coupe would accommodate two at ease.

 

Moving on to 435i M that's at 525 thousand. Sure it ain't cheap but what BMWs are all about is straight-six engines. Naturally the 3-litre mill will sound better than a 428i but with a 165 thousand premium isn't justifiable by being marginally faster. To close the gap, it does come with a 30 thousand M package which is optional on a 428.

bmw 4

Differences between the three, 428i, 428i M and 435i M are minute. M sport bodykit does look better. The M steering's more bolstered and instead of red lining on the inside, you get blue ones.

 

I got bored of all that and went straight for a drive. Starting off in comfort mode which made the steering a featherweight. It always seem to be a bad thing to critics as it lacks some sort of feel but I am all for the light approach in this mode.

4 series side grill

The 4 is an incredibly easy car to drive despite its low-slung seating position with the help of clear all round visibility. I then went onto roads less travelled and had it in Sport mode so the car obviously tightens up to deliver sharper driving dynamics.

 

As for the steering, it still felt light in the hands but very precise and accurate. Full throttle through less than perfect roads, the traction control stabilises the car without you noticing unless you're keeping an eye on the speedometer, you'll see a yellow flickering light. Truth be told, it wasn't my driving, it is technology at its best.

4 series coupe

 " Even the engine not being properly warmed up, the 428i

was relentless..No hiccups and all go "

Drop a couple of gears, foot down and it did not once hesitate to take orders. Pull out of junctions from a standstill, you'll find that power comes at the price and that is turbo lag. So my solution to that is to mash the throttle so that wouldn't be a problem and let traction control take care of any sideway action.

 

Apart from that, the 4 series couldn't quite be faulted. The engine in a 328i which I find to be coarse and unrefined isn't quite so in the 4. Having said that, no 4-cylinder block is great sounding otherwise there won't be a place for larger engines.

4 series interior

If you have to have a straight-six, the 435 is for you. Otherwise it boils down to having the 30 thousand ringgit M sport package or not on a 428. It's your choice to have everything being blued instead of red, chrome exhaust tip instead of black ones and silver dash lining opposing to black. On the surface, they’re pretty much the same only having differently designed rim and body kits. But if you dig a little deeper, the M package comes with wider rear tyres, adaptive suspension, more stopping power and comfort access.

Much thinking should be put into this since the upgrade is on both hardware and cosmetic. If you have experienced low profile tyres and harsh suspensions for the sake of sportiness, you'll appreciate the importance of comfortable.

 

Before the 4 had to go, I had one last glance. Low and wide stance of that black 428i had captured me, there really is no competition for a sub-400 thousand coupe. One in Estoril Blue or Melbourne Red would be a great addition to any stable.

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