Thursday, September 18, 2014

2014 BMW 435i xDrive Coupe review notes

By on 11:37 PM

ROAD TEST EDITOR JONATHAN WONG: After slinging this 2014 BMW 435i xDrive coupe around for a night, it is a little bit harder to say that the Audi S5 coupe is my favorite entry in the class. The big strike that many of us around the Autoweek office have called against BMW vehicles over the past few years is the less-than-great ride quality that is usually associated with runflat tires. No matter how brilliant the steering and suspension tuning was to make the cars involving and fun to drive, you were always left with harsh impacts from ruts and potholes and high levels of tire noise. Not to mention the terrible reliability track record we've had with them on our long-term 750Li and 550i xDrive with bubbles springing up on the sidewalls.

140519883-6However, it seems like runflat tires have gotten better because my experiences with the latest 3-series sedans that we've had come through here and now this 435i xDrive have been nothing but pleasant from a ride comfort standpoint. I know, it's hard to believe but it's true. When rolling down the expressway, there isn't a bunch of road chatter getting transmitted into the cabin and it's no longer really uncomfortable rolling over road imperfections. It's even more impressive when you consider our test car is riding on 19-inch wheels with low-profile rubber.

With that major quibble out of the way, it allows the other lovely traits of the 435i to shine through. The well-sorted chassis was a ball to pilot through corners, exhibiting wonderful composure with lots of grip and little body roll. Steering feels direct, well-weighted and is communicative through the thick-rimmed M wheel. The turbocharged inline six-cylinder has strong midrange pull, while the M Sport brakes easily slowed things with a pedal that offered good modulation ability of stopping power.

It was also nice that our test car had a six-speed manual gearbox. The clutch pedal is light and springy with the clutch take-up in the middle of the pedal stroke. BMW's crunchy gear engagement and long shifter throws remain, but that's just a trait that I've become used to in Bimmers, and it probably won't change.

Unlike some other editors, I don't mind the gill behind the front wheels. It doesn't look out of place nor does it stick out too much from the nicely sculpted sheetmetal. Then again, the previous generation Ford Focus had a gill there for a couple of years…

The interior is all right, too. It's a simple design that isn't incredibly boring or overdone. The important thing is that the sport seats feature decent side support and there are enough adjustment ability to easily find a comfortable seating position behind the wheel.

I'll have to echo some of my colleagues below about taking my 435i without the xDrive all-wheel drive and saving $2,000. It adds 155 pounds and drops EPA highway fuel economy a couple of mpg from 30 in rear-wheel drive to 28 mpg with all-wheel drive. The only reason I could see myself opting for the xDrive model is if I lived in an area where there was a lot of snow during the winter months. Other than that, I'll slap on some winter tires for those snowy months and probably get around just fine.

So would I take this BMW or an Audi S5? In the past, it wasn't even a contest and I would pick the Audi in a heartbeat. Now with this much-improved 435i on the scene, it gets difficult. I haven't driven a rear-wheel drive 435i yet, but if I was in the market for an all-wheel drive sports coupe, I think I would still tip my hat towards the S5. The Audi's supercharged V6 is a wonderful engine and the manual that you can get with has a super slick shifter. But if I wanted rear-wheel drive, it would definitely be the 435i over the Infiniti Q60 and Mercedes-Benz C-class coupe without question.
EXECUTIVE EDITOR RORY CARROLL: I'm warming up to this chassis. Our test car's six-speed manual made it fun to drive, even if it's not as slick as the automatic. However, as much as I appreciate BMW's commitment to its heritage -- at least as far as the way their interiors look -- I couldn't stop noticing the lack of anything that I'd consider well above average about the inside of the car. I drove the Infiniti Q60S right after this car and I was surprised about how well the Infiniti stacked up in terms of interior quality.
EDITOR WES RAYNAL: This 2014 BMW 435i xDrive is a good-looking, well-built and fine-handling little coupe. And it's overpriced. I've written before that I think BMW is out to lunch on pricing, and this car doesn't make me change my mind. Nearly $64K? I can get a well-equipped Porsche Cayman for that (or a stripper Cayman S) and have a lot more fun.

As for the 300-hp output: it just doesn't feel like that much to me. Maybe the all-wheel drive is soaking up some of the oomph. Whatever the case, the car doesn't feel that quick to me. And, yes, I tried the various modes and to the seat of the pants they feel the same. Naturally, the ride is firmer in sport or sport-plus than in comfort or eco, but the car doesn't feel faster. Maybe timing equipment would show a difference.

Like those above, I like the chassis. The car is flingable and grip is outstanding. Body roll is minimal and the ride is good. I think BMW has improved its cars' runflats. I used to beef about harshness. This car didn't feel that way to me. While I think the gearbox throws are a little long the clutch/gearbox relationship feels good to me.

BMW customers are BMW customers. They won't consider another brand. Maybe that's why the company thinks it can get away with this price. This 435i xDrive coupe is a good car, but I just don't think it's worth the money
Judul: 2014 BMW 435i xDrive Coupe review notes
Review oleh: Tukang Coding |
Update pada: 11:37 PM | Rating: 4.5

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