Road testing the new BMW 435i

The BMW 435i is an exciting move forward.
The BMW 435i is an exciting move forward.

When BMW decides to flex its muscles, the rest had better look out.

Especially when the car in question is arguably the most exotic and impressive coupe on the market. This is the awesome and undeniably beautiful BMW 435i, which heralds the dawn of a new coupe era at the legendary German company.

In the numbers game, 3 now becomes 4 for BMW so far as coupes and cabriolets are concerned. And that means more than just a mathematical change. The new BMW 4 Series coupe is noticeably longer and wider than the outgoing 3 Series Coupe and the dynamically stretched coupe silhouette sits considerably lower to the road.

Add in BMW’s typical short overhangs, long bonnet and set-back passenger compartment and it’s a mightily impressive visual treat – a genuine head-turner.

Not that it could be anything else other than a BMW. The iconic double kidney front grille is inevitably present, while twin circular headlights and a large air intake in the front apron show its family ties with the 3 Series.

But muscular wheel arches and air breathers near the front give the 4 a look all of its own.

Inevitably, BMW has designed it to be an unadulterated driving machine. Key improvements have been made in areas such as steering accuracy, precision and agility, with 50:50 weight distribution and innovative lightweight construction all play their part in making this a driving delight.

One six-cylinder and two four-cylinder engines were available from launch, with a choice of six-speed manual gearbox or eight-speed sports automatic.

The car’s understated, ultra-smart and supremely simple interior is just as successful and a lesson in sensible ergonomics.

An uncluttered, low level, slim dashboard allows great forward vision and there’s plenty of lush bonnet on view to point and aim accurately.

Small, neat main dials are orange lit at night and there’s a neat bank of minor switchgear to hand. ‘Infotainment’ is governed by BMW’s straightforward rotary wheel on the centre console to quickly scroll through all the various options.

There’s also a head-up display that projects your speed on the windscreen straight ahead of the driver as a useful visual reminder.

Navigational System Professional, which offers extra capability, sharper graphics and 3D elements for the map display; Driving Assistant Plus, which warns of a potential collision with a pedestrian; the intelligent, glare-free LED High Beam assistant; Active Protection with Attentiveness Assistant and the latest Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go function are a reminder of just how far BMW is prepared to reach into the future in terms of excellence – without baffling the driver in the process.

Low slung highest grade leather seats are wonderfully supportive and comfortable and that big twin-turbocharged straight six engine delivers stunning performance, with a 0-62mph sprint of just 5.1 seconds and a spine-tingling howl to accompany it.

The lowest centre of gravity in the entire BMW range plays its part in pin-sharp driving accuracy and athletic balance that makes the big BMW a joy to pilot – it also hunkers down into the bends in style.

The 435i is designed to excite and exhilarate and in this, it achieves its aims impeccably.