Words: Calvin Chan
Photography: Calvin Chan
Published: October 18, 2017
You’d be hard pressed to tell the differences between the 2017 and 2018 models of the BMW 4 Series. Even after reading the list of changes for 2018, I have to squint to notice the new bi-LED headlights, taillights, wheel designs, and subtle front fascia tweak on non M-Sport models. The steering wheel is now lined with a better gripping material (to be honest, I can’t feel the difference), and new interior and exterior colours are available. A new digital instrument cluster is also up for grabs with the Premium Package Essential ($3,500), but our tester didn’t have that box checked. That about sums up the aesthetics.
The changes underneath the sheetmetal however, are quite palpable. For 2018, BMW has stiffened up the suspension for reduced body roll and greater stability (this change only applies to the coupe and not the convertible), stiffened the anti-roll bars, added faster brake actuators for quicker braking, and have recalibrated the steering for a sportier feel. In all, BMW aims to fine tune the 4 Series, which already felt nimble and sporty in our hands to begin with. It’s another case of perfecting the formula via a mid-life refresh.
Out on familiar roads, we did detect that the 4 Series was mildly stiffer and the chassis seemed to shake and rattle less. With the adaptive dampers, we observed it crashing into bumps a little more often than we previously remembered, but it still ended up settling down nicely without much quivering about. There’s less body roll too. Selecting Comfort Mode however will hush up your passengers and treat them to a wafty and comfortable ride through town. We didn’t notice much of a difference with the brakes, though. Without a back to back comparison, all I can say is that braking felt good, with a confident and linear push all the way through the pedal.
The steering is what I really wanted to touch upon. Numb as it was, the previous 4 Series had an incredibly stiff and direct steering rack. One slight nudge of the wheel got the vehicle rotating, and it weighted up so quickly that you rarely ever had to turn the wheel 360-degrees. It just felt right. With the recalibrated steering for 2018, the wheel actually feels a bit lighter under my fingertips. It doesn’t need more effort to turn, rather it needs more rotation. Be that as it may, the steering is definitely more linear feeling, with a progressive weighted effort as you turn. It’s less abrupt, and more precise and fine-tuned. I still prefer the old steering.
In the end, all these minor alterations don’t do much to convince me to take a 2018 4 Series over a 2017 model. The stiffer suspension, altered steering, and new paints and wheel designs don’t add much emotional value or appeal, and with the year ending, I’m sure you’d find some hefty discounts for the 2017 models too as they try and push them out of inventory.
After spending a week with a 2018 BMW 440i xDrive Coupe, I have to admit that the best part about this stylish coupe doesn’t have to do with the 2018 changes. In fact, it has to do with the M Performance Exhaust tacked on as part of the M Performance Package II ($2,900). Matched to the 7,000 rpm straight-six symphony and creamy smooth 8-speed ZF transmission, the 440i sings up and down its gears like an acapella ensemble. The engine wails right up to the redline, and once you let off the throttle, the exhaust lets out a few nuclear farts that transform your local street into what sounds like a firing range. It’s loud, almost immaturely loud. Even when you downshift, it will burble. The only downside is that the volume of the burbles are inconsistent - it can be loud, quiet, or even non-existent, and you can’t control it. Watch our latest Exhaust Notes video to have a listen:
The M Performance Package II also adds more power, 35 hp and 30 lb-ft in fact, for a total output of 355 hp and 360 lb-ft. Safe to say, the 440i charges down straights relentlessly and with a wider track and lower center of gravity than the 3 Series, it handles corners quite nimbly as well.
The point I’m trying to get across is that it really doesn’t matter which 4 Series you choose, whether it be the 2014 model or 2018 model. They’re all fantastic four-seater coupes that are versatile enough to spend four seasons with, and functional enough to pack a week’s worth of luggage into. You can opt for a four- or six-cylinder engine, or even decide to get one without a roof. Whatever you choose, just get the M Performance Exhaust, that is all I ask. Your ears will thank me.
型号 Model: 2018 BMW 440i xDrive
顏色 Paint Type: Glacier Silver Metallic
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $58,350
試車售價 Price as Tested: $73,990
軸距 Wheelbase(mm): 2,810
長闊 Length/Width/Height (mm): 4,639 / 1,825 / 1,392
車重 Curb weight (kg): 1,751
引擎 Engine: 3.0-litre turbocharged inline-six
最大馬力 Horsepower: 320 hp (+35 hp) @ 5,500 rpm
最高扭力 Torque: 330 lb-ft (+30 lb-ft) @ 1,380 - 5,000 rpm
波箱 Transmission: 8-speed ZF automatic
擺佈 Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, AWD
油耗 Fuel Consumption ( City / Highway / Combined ) L/100km: 11.2 / 7.6 / 9.6
油耗 Observed Fuel Consumption (L/100km): 10.3