Sheer Driving Pleasure has been a BMW catch cry for as long as I can remember – and for the most part, its cars have lived up to that much-publicised edict.
However, there have been a few disappointments. Think of the previous 3 Series and 4 Series models, which never really reached the confidence-inspiring heights of their more accomplished predecessors.
The last mid-sized BMW sedan and coupe wasn’t quite tied down enough, nor was it keenly balanced like the generation before it. That was the message from enthusiasts and media.
The all-new 4 Series (G22) promises to be a different proposition, with BMW promising it has made significant improvements the car’s dynamic systems, backed by an exhaustive testing and development schedule.
Test locations included Arjeplog, Sweden, in winter and at the BMW test centre in Miramas, France. The car has also been put through its paces at multiple European racetracks, including the Green Hell.
BMW says final round of testing is taking place on the high-speed autobahns and country roads around its Research and Innovation Centre in Munich, ahead of a global launch in the fourth quarter.
This second-generation 4 Series was previewed by the Concept 4 at the 2019 Frankfurt motor show, with a design dominated by an oversized version of BMW’s trademark kidney grille.
BMW development cars are wearing camouflage designed to hint at a smaller grille for production, but leaks from the factory floor suggest the production version will have a tall, slim unit just like the concept.
The company has clearly taken a more holistic approach to the new 4 Series chassis, citing its proportions, aerodynamic properties, and weight distribution. Combined, it says they “provide the ideal basis for a chassis set-up focussed on exhilarating dynamic performance”.
For starters, the new 4 Series will be 57mm lower than the four-door 3 Series sedan, and its centre of gravity is 21mm closer to the road as a result.
The new 4 Series is slipperier through the air than its four-door sibling too, cutting the 3 Series’s impressive 0.23 drag coefficient by 0.015.
By combining those properties with increased negative camber at the front wheels and a 23mm wider rear track, the handling is said to be improved significantly.
“The sports sedan already boasts extraordinary dynamism, but the new BMW 4 Series coupe raises agility and lateral acceleration by a sizeable margin again,” the press release claims.
Equipped with a double-joint spring strut front axle and five-link rear axle, backed by continuously variable damping, the car should also offer a pliant ride around town.
There’s extra body bracing, especially at the rear of the car, for improved stability, steering response, and feel.
Prior to the full-strength BMW M models arriving in 2021, the range-topper will be the all-wheel drive M440i xDrive, armed with a straight-six petrol engine featuring 48V mild-hybrid technology.
Peak power is 275kW, 8kW of which is generated by the electric boost system for quicker getaways.
Drive is sent to all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission, while an M Sport differential ensures drive power goes to those wheels with maximum traction. Again, for improved handling.