2014 BMW 428i xDrive Coupe
Technology sullies an otherwise great sport coupe.
Web2Carz Contributing Writer
Published: May 8th, 2014
BMW has been making sport coupes for longer than some of us have been alive, myself included. You'd think, then, that BMW would be able to adapt its cars to our current technological age and continue to make sports cars despite a wall of crash standards and fuel-mileage goals. Many fans of the brand are concerned that BMW hasn't done this at all. Most of those people haven't driven the cars, though. In my opinion, BMW's achieved exactly what it set out to do - make a 21st-century-ready sport coupe.
That's what the 2014 428i xDrive is. It sports a direct-injected TwinPower four-cylinder motor that, despite its 33-mpg rating on the highway, delivers ample power and torque to get you into speeding-ticket territory in only a few seconds. Another reason for those emm pee gee's is the eight-speed ZF transmission, which snaps off shifts like it's got something to do right after this.
Its all-wheel drive system is good from a safety standpoint, and the car doesn't feel weighed down by the additional heft of two more driven wheels. It has a fancy screen on the dashboard, and a small one in the gauge cluster - a gauge cluster that stays true to the brand's aesthetic.
Once you start tacking on options, that fun goes from eight to eleven. Our tester came with the M Sport line, which gives it a unique appearance (close to what the hi-po M4 will look like), along with seriously grippy seats that have some of the best side bolsters of any car on the market. You also get a blue stripe in the interior, so there's that, as well.
The driving experience is outstanding for the most part. The car begs to be driven hard, especially when you add the Dynamic Handling package, which gives you adjustable suspension and steering. You feel the changes taking place as you switch between the four modes (Eco Pro, Comfort, Sport, Sport+); the car shimmies a bit and a new personality takes over, like Dr. Jekyll's transformation, only a bit more positive. The only big complaint about the driving is that the steering feels a bit numb, despite its sporting pretensions. But such is the problem with a wide variety of electric-assisted power-steering setups these days.
Hell, even the stop-start system is nice and smooth. It's almost enough to make you want to use it, even though driving a BMW coupe in Eco Pro mode seems like one of the most heretical things you can do outside of swapping a Honda motor into a Mustang.
My biggest problem with the car lies with how the optional packages are laid out. If you want Bluetooth audio streaming, you have to shell out $3,150 for the Technology Package, which also includes navigation, a head-up display, and many other things that aren't even tangentially related to streaming audio. If you want satellite radio, be prepared to dump $2,200 for the Premium Package, which throws keyless entry and Dakota leather into the mix. If you don't choose either package, the USB port does little more than charge your phone, unless you use a proprietary cable that BMW developed in 2007. It's a disturbingly low-tech move from an automaker that's outwardly high-tech.
That said, some of you will find that appealing. After all, a sports coupe should be nothing more than you, the car, and maybe a few small creature comforts. I just think that a car that costs $50,000 should include some equipment that comes standard on cars costing one-third that price. But those are easy problems to ignore once you flick the switch for Sport mode and dive onto the accelerator.
Specs & Price
Engine: 2.0-liter, direct-injected, turbocharged inline-four
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
Drivetrain Layout: Front-engine, all-wheel drive
Power Output: 240 hp / 255 lb-ft
Fuel Economy (mpg): 22 city / 33 highway
Base Price: $42,500
As Tested: $50,775 (incl. $925 destination)
Luxury Line: 18-inch alloy wheels, wood interior trim, chrome exterior details, leather upholstery with contrast stitching, chrome-accented key fob
Sport Line: 18-inch alloy wheels, black exterior details, sport upholstery, sport seats, red-accented key fob
M Sport Line: 18-inch alloy wheels, M Sport steering wheel, leather upholstery, sport seats, exterior aerodynamic upgrades
Cold Weather Package: Heated front seats, heated steering wheel, headlight washers
Dynamic Handling Package: Variable steering, electronically-adjustable suspension
Lighting Package: LED headlights, automatic high-beam assist
Technology Package: Enhanced USB and Bluetooth smartphone integration, navigation system, infotainment apps, enhanced instrument cluster, head-up display
Driver Assistance Package: Parking sensors, backup camera
Driver Assistance Plus: Side and top view cameras, lane-departure warning, blind spot detection, speed-limit information
Premium Package: Keyless entry, Dakota leather, lumbar support, satellite radio
Individual Options: M Sport brakes, Harman Kardon surround sound, heated front seats, power rear sunshade, active parking assistance, navigation, active cruise control, automatic high-beam assist, anti-theft alarm, side and top view cameras
• For more information such as specs, prices, and photos of the 2014 BMW 4 Series, click here: 2014 BMW 4 Series.