BMW 420d SE Coupe

| March 17, 2014 | 0 Comments

 

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I hate to bring up the 1990’s again, but it was this decade that witnessed the greatest change in the way we lived our lives, as it became acceptable to have aspirations of social mobility. This could be seen in the growth of DIY TV shows unheard of before the early nineties, where before you had a kitchen or bathroom in most cases for life, it was now de rigeur to change them every few years or so, in effect like a car. Talking of cars, BMW had entered the decade with a brand new 3 Series which launched the brand in the UK head on into the fleet market as the desirability of a BMW increased ten fold. Hand in hand with the 3 Series came the 3 Series Coupe, which if anything was even more aspirational than it’s four door sibling, coming as it did with room for only 4 passengers. No other 1990’s car said look at how well I’ve done, better than the Coupe, as pre children couples discovered BMW whilst Tony Blair became PM. Move forward twenty years & BMW have changed the 3 Series coupe name & re christened it the 4 Series. Only time will tell if this was a good idea or not.

 In order to get my take on the new model, I was able to put the 420d SE through it’s paces at CCV HQ. It’s undoubtedly an attractive car featuring more curves than the 3 Series. The bodywork is all unique apart from the 3-series bonnet. The coupe is lowered and stiffened, with fixed caliper brakes. It’s not as useful as the saloon, because getting into the rear seats is a chore. Having said that ,there’s a surprising amount of legroom, but headroom particularly in the rear is in short supply. But of course, this is a coupe !

 Like all BMW’s the cabin looks good, with a mix of black & chrome. The instrumentation will be familiar to BMW owners & it’s all as functional as 4-4-2. The frame less doors are attractively sculptured to curve around the front seat passengers. A really nice touch with the front seat belts is the automatic mechanism which offers them up so that you don’t have to reach behind you to grab the belts before clicking them in. The passenger seats are firm, ergonomic but also comfortable.

 The boot is shallow but seems to go back a long way. I folded the rear seats down to put some gardening equipment into the boot & it’s really quite impressive just how much stuff will fit in. A coupe it may be but if you do need useable boot space the 4 Series is surprisingly practical as well.

 If you’re going to spend over £3000 more to have the 4 Series than the equivalent  3 Series, you’d expect it to be better equipped & to a certain extent it is. Leather is standard, as is a DAB radio, park distance control front & rear, heated front seats, Bluetooth and 17in wheels, but our £30,795 420d SE was enhanced with £8,045 worth of extras including brushed aluminum cabin trim £230, head up display £825, Adaptive M Sport suspension £750, folding dimming exterior mirrors  £300, enhanced Bluetooth telephone preparation adds another £350 & the BMW Media Package a whopping £1990.

 BMW EfficientDynamics means that the car also comes with Stop/Start & a good one at that, brake energy regression, drive performance control, electric power steering & reduced rolling resistance tyres. I found the latter as with all tyres of this type, quite noisy at motorway speeds. Otherwise the 4 Series is tremendous to drive. It’s no slouch either hitting 632 mph in just 7.5 seconds & going on to reach a top speed of 149 mph. The lower suspension over the 3 Series makes for smooth cornering & the overall handling is superb. Country road, A road or motorway, it makes no difference to the 4 Series, all our taken with a pinch of salt. The manual gearbox is quite smooth for a BMW &  although the 2 litre engine is a little noisy as you climb through the gears, once in sixth gear & taking advantage of cruise control, it eats up the miles in almost total silence. At the end of the day,most 4 Series customers will spend a lot of time on the motorway, so in car aids such as the infotainment system need to be straightforward to use, Bluetooth should connect quickly & the on board SatNav must keep one informed of impending traffic black spots. Being a BMW all get full marks in that respect.

 Company car drivers are spoiled for choice when it comes to low emission high fuel economy cars nowadays. How does the $ Series stack up ? Well pretty well actually. The claimed combine fuel figure is 60.1 mpg. Even with my red hot right foot, I managed to average just over 55 mpg on the motorway & overall around 48 mpg in my calendar week in the 4. CO2 emissions are just 124g/km, which also adds to this cars appeal. You would be hard pressed to beat these figures in another quality coupe that’s for sure.

 The 4 Series opens a new chapter for BMW, although it is descended from a tried & tested formula. If you have to have a coupe because let’s face it , it will look better than a saloon, you’re not bothered about the impracticality of having just 2 doors & the extra cost isn’t a factor, then the 4 Series must be on your radar. It’s everything we dreamed of in 1990 & some more & makes one realise just how far cars have come in the past 25 years & how lucky customers are to have such excellence offered to them in 2014.

 An Italia 90 4/5.

In the box.
420d SE Coupe. £30,795
Engine. 1995 cc, 4-cylinder turbodiesel, six-speed manual gearbox, rear-wheel drive.
Power.184 bhp
Top speed.149 mph
Acceleration. 0-62 mph in 7.5sec
Fuel economy. 60.1 mpg Combined
CO2 emissions: 124g/km

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Category: BMW

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