The 2014 BMW 4 Series is a replacement for the previous 3 Series coupe and convertible, and it shares its underpinnings with the latest-generation platform that started with the sedan in 2012. But more so than in the past, the new 4 Series is distinguished by a sleeker presence than the sedan. Its low-slung, low-cabin profile is impressively sporty and highlighted by flared fenders and a character line rising from the front fender to the rear taillights. The specs back up this visual impression: The 4 Series is about 2 inches lower to the ground than the sedan, and its wheels are pushed farther outward for improved handling stability and grip. Special styling details, such as vents just aft of the front wheels.
Base BMW 428i models get the turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder. Rated power doesn't really change (241 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque), but BMW's engineers have dramatically enhanced its aural characteristics; instead of workaday thrumming, you get a revvy, inspiring soundtrack not unlike a classic BMW straight-6. Should you want the real thing, of course, there's the top-spec 435i model and its 300-hp, turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder.
Standard equipment for the 428i includes 17-inch wheels, xenon headlights, foglights, auto-dimming mirrors, a sunroof, leatherette (premium vinyl) upholstery, eight-way power front seats, driver memory settings, a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, fold-down rear seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, a 6.5-inch display screen, BMW's iDrive electronics interface, Bluetooth phone connectivity, BMW Assist and a sound system with a CD player, a USB/iPod interface, an auxiliary audio jack and HD radio. The 428i convertible has an automatic power-retractable hardtop and a wind blocker.
The 435i is equipped similarly but comes with a more powerful engine and 18-inch wheels.
Naturally, a wealth of option packages is available to help you customize your 4 Series. Starting things off are three optional equipment lines -- Luxury, Sport and M Sport -- which include different wheel designs (up to 19 inches), color schemes and trim and upholstery types. The Sport and M Sport also include summer performance tires and sport front seats, while the M Sport further adds a sport-tuned suspension, adaptive suspension dampers and a sport steering wheel.
The Premium package equips the 4 Series with keyless ignition/entry, four-way power lumbar for the front seats, satellite radio and leather upholstery. The Technology package adds a higher-resolution 8.8-inch display screen, a touchpad iDrive controller, a navigation system, a head-up display, Bluetooth audio connectivity, BMW Apps (a suite of connectivity apps for iPhones and select Android devices, including Pandora, Stitcher and Facebook) and BMW Remote Services (which allows Apple and Android users to lock the car remotely and turn on the climate control, among various other tasks).
The Lighting package tacks on LED headlights and automatic high beam control. A Cold Weather package adds heated front seats a heated steering wheel and, for the convertible, front seat-mounted neck-warming air vents. The Driver Assistance package adds a rearview camera and front and rear parking sensors. Opting for the Driver Assistance Plus package gets you those features plus blind-spot monitoring, a side- and top-view camera system and speed limit info. Finally, the Dynamic Handling package enhances the car's performance with adaptive suspension dampers and variable-ratio sport steering.
Upgraded brakes are a stand-alone option, as are a power rear sunshade, adaptive cruise control, a 16-speaker Harman Kardon surround-sound audio system and automated parallel parking assist.
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