2015 BMW 4 Series Walk Around

The BMW 4 Series is more evolutionary than revolutionary, and is clearly recognizable as a 3 Series coupe successor.

Like other BMW models, the 4 Series comes in a choice of lines: standard, Luxury, Sport and M Sport. Each gets its own unique exterior trim, interior trim and wheels.

4 Series models are wider and lower than the 3 Series sedans, giving them a bolder, more aggressive stance. The front fascia closely resembles the 3 Series, but is not completely identical. Even from straight on, the coupe has a more flowing, aerodynamic appearance. The signature BMW twin kidney grille is ever-so-slightly lower and wider, flowing into headlamp housings that stretch back and wrap around into the front fender. Double-bezel headlamps are ringed and more pronounced, giving it that BMW angel eyes look. Foglamp housings are swoopier and a bit more accentuated.

From the side, the 4 Series silhouette is lower and sleeker, with a curvier, sharper sloping roofline than that of the 3 Series. Short front overhangs leave very little weight hanging over the front axle. A distinctive body crease runs from behind the front wheel, through the door handle, and tapers off over the rear wheel. Side windows are shorter and more stretched back, and a sharper version of BMW's distinctive curve, known as the Hofmeister kink, forms the tail end of the side rear windows.

Also setting the 4 Series apart is the side air breather, a vertical vent located on each side behind the front wheel arch that channels air from the engine compartment down the sides of the car for reduced drag.

Standard wheels on the 428i are 17-inch alloys, while 435i models get 18 inch wheels. Designs vary depending on trim line.

On two-door coupes, the shorter back window is evident. Tail lamps look like slightly flattened versions of those found on the 3 Series. The rear bumper is more horizontal and uses straight, rather than upwardly curved lines out to the rear fenders. Double exhaust tips remain together on the left side; we would have loved to see one pipe on each side, perhaps integrated into the rear bumper. Convertibles get a power-operated retractable hardtop.

Gran Coupe models look slightly more sedan-like, but still retain a sleeker silhouette compared to the 3 Series. Gran Coupes are about a half-inch higher than coupe and convertible body styles, which allow for more rear headroom. The fastback-style rear flows seamlessly from the roof; in fact, most people won't know it's a hatchback unless they look carefully.


The interior design of the 2015 BMW 4 Series is clearly more driver-oriented than that of the 3 Series. The center stack is slightly canted to the left, and a high, tapered dividing line just to the right of the gearshift cordons off the driver in her own little cocoon. Behind the shifter (and just below the center stack) are two standard-sized cupholders.

The center stack sits up high and is sleek and clean. Up top is BMW's widescreen color screen, with two air vents below. Beneath are the standard BMW radio and climate controls, which are all within reach and easy to use.

The loaded (but pricey) Technology package adds a whole suite of features, including navigation with real-time traffic information and BMW Online, which gives users access to news and stock information, Google Local search and more. The BMW Apps suite also integrates selected subscription-based applications into the car such as Pandora, Stitcher and MOG. The tech pack also adds a head-up display. Adding navigation, either as part of the package or as a standalone option, will also get you a touch-activated surface atop the iDrive controller, which lets you draw letters and numbers to input information instead of endlessly scrolling through the display, or dealing with the sometimes inaccurate voice recognition system.

The instrument cluster uses the standard BMW analog gauges. Four circular dials (fuel gauge, speedometer, tachometer and oil temperature gauge) come with a black panel display. Drivers can toggle through trip, fuel economy and other vehicle information via a button on the tip of the turn signal stalk.

An optional Driver Assistance package adds a rearview camera and parking sensors. The Driver Assistance Plus package includes side- and top-view cameras, which create a bird's-eye perspective of the vehicle and the area around it. If that's not enough, the optional Parking Assistant helps the driver parallel park by finding a space, turning the steering wheel, practically parking the car itself.

The steering wheel is thick and easy to grip; M Sport models use an even thicker, more padded wheel, which we found practically too big to handle. We preferred the standard, slightly skinnier version, such as that found on our 428i test model with the Sport line trim.

Standard upholstery is a man-made material that BMW calls SensaTec, and is perfectly comfortable and appears durable. Optional leather is soft and buttery. Sport and M Sport seats have a better range of adjustability and are nicely bolstered to keep the driver snugly in place on curvy roads.

For the most part, interior materials match the quality expected from BMW, but certain trim finishes and color combinations in BMWs continue to baffle us. For example, in our 428i Gran Coupe, doors were finished in a rich, warm black and tan motif. But, door handles were trimmed in a clashing silver textured plastic. Mixing sporty pieces in cool tones with luxurious pieces in warm tones can make it look like the car isn't sure what it wants to be. Still, the BMW interior is definitely more interesting and textured than others, especially compared with the Audi A5.

Although windows aren't as large as in the 3 Series sedan, visibility is fine in the 4 Series coupe. The most significant difference is in rearward visibility, where the lower roofline makes for a shorter back window. This is especially true with the Gran Coupe's sharply sloping hatch.

Due to its lower stance, the 4 Series has less headroom and legroom than the 3 Series sedan, though the Gran Coupe's roof is about a half-inch higher than the 4 Series coupe and convertible. Rear legroom measures 33.7 inches in the coupe and Gran Coupe, and about an inch less in the convertible. In two-door versions, the back seat offers reasonable space for the occasional rear passenger. But for those who will use the back seat regularly, the Gran Coupe is the best choice.

Cargo space in the 4 Series coupe is plentiful at 15.7 cubic feet, compared with 13 cubic feet in the 3 Series sedan. Convertibles understandably have less space, with 13 cubic feet with the top up, and 7.8 cubic feet when the top is down.

Gran Coupe models offer the most space, with 17 cubic feet with all seats in place, and up to 45.9 cubic feet with the seats folded (although, like with most BMW cars, they don't lie completely flat). The hatchback has a thoughtful design, with a built-in privacy cover on window that keeps contents hidden from site. A removable shelf allows seats to fold flat with just a few steps. A center pass-through allows for more flexibility.

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