BMW 4-Series is strikingly similar to 3-Series coupe

The BMW 4-Series is designed to replace the

The BMW 4-Series is designed to replace the 3-Series coupe when it goes on sale in October 2013. (Credit:

There's a lot of talk about BMW creating new nomenclature around what used to be the 3 Series coupe. This new 4 Series is a significant update on the two-door that used to wear a 3 on its deck lid, but it's no game-changer in the world of luxury coupes.

Don't get me wrong; it will likely exhibit performance chops along the lines of the 3 Series sedan that won the $46,000 Sport Sedan Challenge earlier this year, but it looked like too much of a sleeper when I caught up to it at last week's 2013 BMW Championship in Lake Forest, Ill.

A new model from BMW should be a bigger deal than it's become, but after the X6, 1 Series, X1, Gran Coupes and GTs of the past few years, the 4 Series might be seen as ho-hum when it goes on sale next month.

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It's hard to tell that BMW has made it wider than even the previous M3 coupe as well as lighter and lower to the ground with a low center of gravity.

The subtle design is made even subtler with a black paint job, which it wore on the display stand. With that dark color, the new side vents behind the front wheels, which caused such a stir when the model first broke cover online, are barely noticeable.

Indeed, the most improved angle is from the rear where the 4 Series loses much of the previous 3 Series two-door's trunk lid. Instead it almost appears to have the dimensions of a hatchback, but there is indeed a trunk back there.

Drop yourself into the driver's seat and you're staring at an interior that's incredibly similar to the 3 Series sedan, which is no surprise. The 4 Series does have an updated center display screen for navigation and the new version of iDrive with its touch-sensitive control knob.

The 428i on display was also decked out in an optional red leather interior that was unflattering. The red seats and door panels looked fine; it was seeing the dashboard materials and their graining dripping in red that turned me off. I'd probably pick a more traditional black or tan scheme.

Ergonomics and space up front were terrific, but the backseat was cramped for me and our impromptu model in the photos below.

The 4 Series still appears to have a winning formula, but it will definitely take driving it to win me over. 

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