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Driven: BMW gives 4 Series a leg up
BMW 4 Series Coupe, Gran Coupe, Convertible revamped to boost value and sales
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21 Jun 2016
PRICE cuts, equipment additions and upgraded engines are among the highlights of the revamped 4 Series range that BMW Australia expects will bolster the compact end of its passenger-car range.
Rolling into showrooms this month, the two-door Coupe and Convertible and four-door Gran Coupe line-up has been armed for a sales increase in the face of renewed opposition from Mercedes’ just-launched C-Class Coupe and Audi’s forthcoming A5, with the changes described by BMW as a “model update” ahead of a more significant facelift next year.
Sales of the Coupe and Convertible have slowed this year, down 17.8 per cent to 727 sales at the end of May, after falling by 12.7 per cent last year, with 1921 units shifted.
The Gran Coupe found 858 homes last year, its first full year of retail after going on sale in mid-2014 the four-door is ahead of its 2015 performance with 415 sold so far this year, an increase of 8.9 per cent in the same period.
BMW Group Australia 3 and 4 Series product and pricing manager Howard Lam said the price changes and added equipment was expected to change the model mix.
“At the moment the sweet spot is the 428i, which is being replaced by the 430i, and the step up to the 435i was too great,” he told GoAuto at the media drive in Melbourne.
“So from our point of view to provide the market with a better offer, to get the customers to take that next step, to make it easier for them to do so, if that strategy works we'll see some volume go into the 440i.”
Mr Lam said the sales dip for the Convertible was expected to be turned around by the model update, but he declined to nominate a specific forecast increase.
“No doubt, with the specification increase and the price drop, no doubt that will have a positive increase on the volume.”
Mr Lam said the 4 Series range has opened up the BMW brand to whole new breed of buyers since its launch.
“The appeal of 4 Series is strong. It accounts for 58 per cent conquest business, which translates into 4000 new customers the 4 Series has brought to the brand.”
As previously reported, the renewed range still starts with the 420i petrol and 420d diesel entry-level models and is now topped by a 430i and the 440i flagship, two new model variants replacing the 428i and 435i respectively.
In Coupe and Gran Coupe guise – the two-door and four-door variants are identically priced – the 420i now starts from $68,900 plus on-road costs, a $2200 price cut over the outgoing model, while the Convertible is now priced from $85,900, $2500 cheaper than the superseded drop-top.
The price reduction has not come at the expense of equipment, with the addition of adaptive M Suspension, a head-up display, folding external mirrors, lane change warning, the ‘driving assistant’ auto-braking system and the surround-view cameras.
Standard fare in 420i and 420d guises extends to 18-inch alloy wheels, an eight-speed auto, power-adjustable front seats, leather trim, bi-Xenon headlights, front and rear parking sensors, satellite navigation, digital radio reception, BMW’s ConnectedDrive emergency and information systems.
The M Sport package – which includes 19-inch alloy wheels, trim upgrades inside and out, an exterior aero pack, leather trim and the grippy M leather wheel – remains on the options list for the 420 petrol and diesel models.
Claimed fuel economy for the 420i’s 135kW/270Nm 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol four-cylinder, which employs a twin-scroll turbocharger with variable valve timing and lift systems and direct injection, has improved by between 0.2 and 0.5 litres per 100km – 5.8L/100km for the Coupe and the drop-top claims 6.2L/100km.
The zero to 100km/h sprint time is 7.5 seconds for the Coupe, 7.7s for the four-door and 8.4s for the Convertible.
The 140kW/400Nm 420d range – which is already sporting an updated drivetrain claiming fuel use of 4.3L/100km – drops by a similar amount to the petrol model, and is priced from $71,200 for the Coupe and Gran Coupe, while the Convertible now starts from $88,200.
Zero to 100km/h in diesel-powered variants takes 7.1s for the Coupe, 7.3 in the Gran Coupe and 8.0s fort he drop-top.
The new mid-range 430i is $2500 cheaper than the 428i it replaces, priced from $79,900 in Coupe or Gran Coupe guise, and starts from $96,900 for the Convertible.
The 430i sits on 19-inch wheels and adds a nine-speaker up-spec sound system and electric lumbar support adjustment for the front seats.
BMW’s M Sport package is now fitted standard to the 430i, with the Luxury Line package available as a no-cost option.
The 430i brings an extra 5kW of power, with outputs from the more powerful incarnation of the 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder petrol engine at 185kW and 350Nm as well as a claimed fuel consumption figure of 5.8L/100km for the hardtops (a 0.6 reduction) and 6.3L/100km (down 0.4L/100km) for the 430i Convertible.
It can dash from zero to 100km/h in 5.8s for the Coupe, 0.1s slower in the four-door and 6.3s in the Convertible.
The new mainstream 4 Series flagship is the 440i and it slots in just under the $100,000 mark, starting from $99,900 for the Coupe and Gran Coupe – a $10,000 drop on the outgoing 435i’s asking price – and the Convertible has been reduced by $10,100 to start from $117,900.
Powered by the 3.0-litre turbocharged six-cylinder direct-injection petrol engine (which also uses a twin-scroll turbo and the variable vale timing and lift systems), peak power has gone up by 15kW to 240kW and peak torque jumps 50Nm to 450Nm.
This is enough to cut the 0-100km/h sprint time by 0.1 seconds to 5.0s for the Coupe, while the four-door reaches the same speed in 5.1s and the Convertible in 5.4sFuel consumption has also been reduced to 6.8L/100km (down 0.6L/100km and qualifying for a reduced luxury car tax rate) for the coupes and 7.2L/100km (a 0.5L/100km reduction) for the drop-top.
The flagship features list includes the 16-speaker Harman/Kardon sound system, adaptive LED headlights, variable sport steering, upgraded instrument panel, heated front seats, auto parking system, active cruise control, ‘Concierge Services’ and internet connectivity, while the convertible gets the ‘air collar’ neck heating system.
BMW claims the extra features for the Coupe and Gran Coupe add just over $6000 worth of features to the 420i and 420d, $8000 to the value of the 430i and $12,745 on the 440i flagship on top the price cuts.
The Convertible variants have been given even more sales ammunition, with the additions totalling just under $8000 in value, or just under $12,000 on the 440i.
BMW has retained what it calls its “no-brainer” condition-based servicing plans that includes capped-price maintenance schedules, the $1340 cost of which can be covered by the five-year 80,000km BMW Service Inclusive (BSI) in a Basic or Plus service package that is an extra cost beyond the purchase price.
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