The concept of sporty driving pleasure in the premium midsize segment is being redefined and will soon be available to experience in the new BMW 4 Series Coupe. Following a series of exhaustive test drives held as part of the development process to prepare it for series production, the latest incarnation of the two-door model is now embarking on the final phase of dynamic testing. After having their driving qualities honed at the winter testing centre in Arjeplog, Sweden, at the BMW Group’s test centre in Miramas in France, on the Nürburgring’s Nordschleife circuit and at various other race tracks, the prototypes are now returning to their roots: engineers will put the final touches to the chassis technology of the new BMW 4 Series Coupe on the motorways and country roads around the BMW Group’s Research and Innovation Centre (FIZ) in Munich.
Like its overall vehicle concept and design, the 4 Series Coupe’s chassis technology is a more individual composition than ever before. The proportions, aerodynamic properties and weight distribution of the two-door car provide the ideal basis for a chassis set-up focussed unerringly on exhilarating dynamic performance. A direct comparison with the new BMW 3 Series Sedan highlights the new model’s unique profile particularly clearly. The sedan’s impressive drag coefficient, for example, is undercut by 0.015. Plus, the new BMW 4 Series Coupe is 57 millimetres lower than its four-door counterpart and its centre of gravity is 21 millimetres closer to the road as a result.
This all combines with the increased negative camber at the front wheels and the 23-millimetre wider rear track to sharpen the car’s handling characteristics by a significant degree. The sports sedan already boasts extraordinary dynamism, but the new BMW 4 Series Coupe raises agility and lateral acceleration by a sizable margin again.
The development team for the new BMW 4 Series Coupe also took a model-specific approach to incorporating the chassis technology and connecting the suspension to the body. The fruits of their labours will launch the new two-door model straight to the top of its segment in terms of sporting prowess and the driving experience. At the same time, the double-joint spring strut front axle / five-link rear axle configuration means the dialling up of dynamic performance doesn’t come at the expense of excellent comfort on everyday drives and long journeys. Lift-related dampers – which made their debut in the new BMW 3 Series Sedan and offer continuously variable, progressive damping control as a function of spring travel – have been tuned for an even sportier drive. Custom-made tower-to-front end struts and an additional shear panel on the bulkhead optimise steering precision and response, while bracing elements have been added around the rear axle to increase stiffness for improved straightline stability and lateral acceleration.
The model line-up provides another indication of the new BMW 4 Series Coupe’s unwavering commitment to class-leading driving dynamics. The range will now be spearheaded by a BMW M model in the shape of the new BMW M440i xDrive Coupe. Powered by a potent straight-six engine delivering maximum output of 275 kW/374 hp, it will also feature 48V mild-hybrid technology, with a 48V starter-generator and a second battery employed to both ease the load on the engine and act in unison with it. Besides improved efficiency, the principal benefit here is punchier power development when the driver hits the accelerator hard. The additional 8 kW/11 hp generated by the electric boost effect underpins lightning-fast off-the-line getaways and in-gear sprints. The engine’s stunning power delivery, the standalone vehicle concept and the optimised chassis technology’s model-specific configuration combine to endow the BMW M440i xDrive Coupe with outstanding performance credentials. Harnessing the race track expertise of BMW M GmbH, the various elements have been woven together into an overall package of supreme handling agility, precision and poise.
The power generated by the engine in the new BMW M440i xDrive Coupe is channelled to the road via an eight-speed Steptronic Sport transmission and the car’s intelligent all-wheel-drive system. The M Sport differential is also on hand to make sure that drive power is deployed to optimum effect in demanding driving situations. The locking effect generated by an electric motor limits speed equalisation between the inside and outside rear wheel when cornering, thereby enhancing traction and handling stability while enabling the driver to power out of bends with considerable dynamic verve. The custom-tuned chassis elastokinematics, exceptionally powerful M Sport brakes and 18-inch M light-alloy wheels with mixed-size tyres are likewise contributory factors in the precisely controllable dynamics of the new BMW M440i xDrive Coupe.
The final round of testing on the car’s home ground will allow the engineers to fast-track their latest findings into the fine-tuning process at the Research and Innovation Centre. The focus here is on ensuring that the dynamic performance attributes of the new BMW 4 Series Coupe crafted on race circuits can also be experienced in normal driving conditions on public roads. Whether darting along winding country routes around Munich or constantly switching between motorway and urban traffic, the new BMW M440i xDrive Coupe epitomises how the unequivocally sporty design of the body and chassis, the bespoke set-up of the steering, brakes and all-wheel-drive system, the pinpoint feedback from the dampers and the precise interventions of the chassis control systems together serve up driving pleasure that thrills and delights – day in, day out.