THE FAB ‘4’
Following the unveiling of the new BMW 4, Paul Agnew is cockpit companion on a thrilling test drive in a car that has power and charisma in equal measure. Photography: Roger Moore
It was like attending a glittering film premiere or applauding the arrival of an iconic piece of art at a gallery – either way, it was a red carpet event.
That wonderful moment when a hush settles across the room, excitement spreads throughout the privileged onlookers and expectations soar.
And then the collective gasp as the curtain rises or the wraps come off. The wow factor!
This particular ‘moment’ came on a damp autumn day in mid-Lancashire when the new BMW 4 was unveiled.
BMW want it to be known quite simply as ‘The 4’, but may I be so bold as to suggest an extra word. For this is undisputedly The ‘Fab’ 4, a car with beauty, presence, style and a desire to please, entertain and excite.
I was lucky enough to have first dibs as cockpit companion in the magnificent BMW 420i M Sport Coupé, crammed with instant kerb appeal and genuine charisma.
Just the colour – a stunning metallic Arctic Race Blue – was mesmerising enough with the distinctive front kidney grille, short overhangs, slender pillars and frameless windows adding a sense of athleticism at every turn.
Pause. Let’s just dwell for a moment on the grille, a more vertical interpretation of the signature kidney shape and one intended to invoke classic BMWs, such as the pre-war 328. The BMW design experts reckon the bold grille makes the 4 Series look ‘more emotional’ and, to be fair, it is the brand’s most prominent design icon.
The grille links to the very heritage of BMW. It should stand out – it does stand out.
The sloping roofline is a perfect frame for the masculine, muscular proportions, sleek contours and elegant lines of this vision of sportiness.
And the very bravado of the exterior extends to the inside. After being greeted by the rich comfort of Vernasca leather seats and an ultra-smart digital cockpit, you’ll find – amongst a lengthy list of superb features – ambient lighting, 3-zone air conditioning and an acoustic windscreen.
Premium connectivity is a given, with a touchscreen 10.25” central information display including a suite of new digital services, including connected music.
If hi-tech is your thing, you can add the head-up display as an optional extra. It’s a thing of wonder, projecting information relevant to your journey directly into your field of vision on the windscreen.
The content shows not only your speed, but also adds the current speed limit and the upcoming speed limit. You can sit back to simply concentrate on enjoying the drive and the head-up actually changes colour to keep you inside the law.
There is plenty of power and capability and you still achieve around 40mpg which, all things considered, is not at all shabby.
The drive, particularly the finely-tuned steering, is first rate and the looks are great too, with upgraded 18” M light alloy double-spoke style wheels. M rear spoiler, advanced sport braking and adaptive suspension also come as standard too.
Very much a car of the moment, but also a car of the future with intelligent voice assistance, smartphone integration and reversing assistant.
If you need it in a car, it’s here. Trust me, you’ll want ‘4’ nothing.
Model options include the: M Sport, M Sport Pro Edition and M440i xDrive
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