By Amanda Mfuphi
Most of us grew up with dream cars in mind. A car that you would consider yourself as having “arrived” if you owned one day. Most South Africans grew up idolising cars from the 3 German premium brands – BMW, Mercedes Benz and Audi. I for one remember growing up wanting to own a Mercedes Benz (a dream I still hold dear although I must admit this dream is getting distorted by the day with what is on offer these days). The BMW brand is another brand that has held the imagination of South Africans for years and continues to do so when it comes to aspirational brands. It is by no coincidence that BMW has remained a strong contender in capturing the imagination of South Africans for years, this has been done through constant re-invention and providing a premium offering that is appealing to generations at any given time. The new BMW 4 Series is yet another example of the BMW brand attempting to steal the hearts of South Africans.
The BMW 4 Series was launched in 2013 and it has sold nearly 400,000 worldwide since the launch with just over 5,500 units sold in South Africa up to the end of 2016. BMW view this as a success and an indication that the people love the car, which resulted in the brand launching the new BMW 4 Series in July 2017. The team got to attend the launch in July and we subsequently got to sample the 420d Gran Coupe M Sport pack for ourselves. The vehicle we had on test looked breath-taking from first sight. This would be would be subsequently confirmed by those we drove past by judging by the number of heads the car turned.
The mechanics of the car have already been explored by my team member Khulekani, who attended the launch in July as mentioned, and I will not dwell much on them. Just some highlights for me included, firstly, the digital infotainment system and sound system. The Harman/Kardon sound system is truly powerful and provides a crisp sound, so much so that the BMW 4 Series could be the party-starter at a parking lot. Secondly, on the outside the vehicle has subtle sharper lines which give the car a sportier look, LED headlights that come with a hexagonal shape and new LED back lights, the sum total of which make the vehicle look menacing. Lastly, I was thoroughly impressed with the boot space on 420d Gran Coupe which has capacity of 480 litres. This kind of boot space allows one to have a sporty car and be a responsible parent at the same time as the boot space can easily fit a baby stroller whilst leaving some room for the rest of the family’s luggage.
The drive of the 420d Gran Coupe is impeccable, it is a smooth and refined drive. We were blessed with rainy weather for 4 of the 7 test days and the vehicle negotiated those weather conditions perfectly to an extent that you could not feel the effects of the rain. The vehicle has enough legroom for both the front and back passengers. The 420d’s engine has enough power to comfortably carry the body of the 4 Series and gives the driver enough power to quickly overtake another vehicle even on an incline without struggling. The 420d’s engine is also powerful on take-off and intimidates vehicles next to it. There’s actually no noticeable delay on the turbo. The other impressive element of the 420d has to be its fuel consumption, the vehicle averages 5.8L per 100km on the open road and 7.1L per 100km in the city.
We took the car to a traditional wedding and it was the talk of the town by some of the attendees at the wedding. I could not find any fault with the vehicle, except for maybe the dashboard which is starting to show its age a bit and of course having to say goodbye to the vehicle at the conclusion of my test.
The starting price of the 4 Series Range is as follows:
BMW 420i Coupe: R604 796 (M) / R624 798 (A)
BMW 420d Coupe: R639 300 (M) / R660 100 (A)
BMW 430i Coupe: R692 922 (M) / R712 126 (A)
BMW 440i Coupe: R864 976 (A)
BMW 420i Gran Coupe: R604 796 (M) / R624 798 (A)
BMW 420d Gran Coupe: R629 800 (M) R650 600 (A)
BMW 430i Gran Coupe: R712 126 (A)
BMW 420i Convertible: R718 250 (M) / R738 024 (A)
BMW 430i Convertible: R831 476 (M) / R850 452 (A)
BMW 440i Convertible: R989 546
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