Mercedes-Benz CLS 250 2013 Review
You'd expect a car the size and weight of Mercedes-Benz's CLS 250CDI to suck a bit of fuel. It's a big, rear drive, four-door 'coupe' with swoopy lines crammed with luxury kit weighing in at 1785kg.
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BMW knows a thing or two about long-bonnet-short-tail design -- just look at the shape of its little Z4 roadster and big 6 Series coupe and cabriolet. So it’s great to see the same theme, albeit in a less extreme format than on the Z4, being used on the all-new BMW 4 Series coupe.
It hardly comes as a surprise that the all-new BMW 4 Series is longer, wider and lower than the outgoing ‘3 coupe.
The long bonnet is partly due to the more upright grille, but the shorter front overhang and longer wheelbase play their parts as well. The new BMW theme of joining the headlights to the grille emphasises the width of the 4 Series, as does the wide front track. Strong style lines along the flanks lead to a stubby tail that’s actually wider than the front of the car.
The range kicks off with the 420i Coupe at $69,500, followed by the 420d Coupe for $71,800 the 428i Coupe at $80,500 and tops out with the 435i Coupe at $108,500.
Though the exterior of the 4 Series is totally different to the 3 Series, there are strong similarities in the dashboard area. Clever reworking of the style lines, colours and materials do give the 4 Series a new look.
It’s neat and well organised with the large infotainment screen being easy to read. BMW’s latest iDrive system is simpler to use than in the past and is largely intuitive in the way you work your way through the menus. As in other recent models, the ‘Back’ key at the base of the iDrive lets you take a different path should you make a mistake.
ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS
The BMW 4 Series’ powerplants are pretty much the same as those in the 3 Series sedan, and for that matter the recently revised Z3 roadster.
At this stage the engine range begins with the 420d that uses a four-cylinder turbo-diesel producing 135 kW of power and 380 Nm of torque. The impressively low fuel consumption figure of 4.6 litres per hundred kilometres will certainly attract many buyers. Early in 2014 a four-cylinder turbo-petrol 420i will be added to the lineup.
Next up the current range is the 428i, again with four cylinders, turbocharging and a capacity of 2.0 litres. It generates 180 kW and 350 Nm. This engine is a full sports unit and can run sub six seconds for the zero to 100 km/h sprint. BMW’s famed 3.0-litre turbocharged straight-six engine can get you to 100 km/h in only 5.1 seconds thanks to its 225 kW (300 horsepower) and 400 Nm.
All models come with an eight-speed automatic transmission with sports modes and paddle shifters. A six-speed manual is a no-cost option, but isn’t expected to be sold in any real numbers.
We got ourselves into all three engine variants, but there wasn’t a manual gearbox in sight (pity!). Road grip is tremendous and the chassis balance is guaranteed to bring smiles to faces, particularly with the Sport mode selected.
The vertical slots at each end of the front bumper might appear to be for appearance sake, but are actually part of a clever aerodynamic feature. Air is drawn into these slots, passes over the front wheels, and is finally extracted through the boomerang shapes slits in the front guards.
The wind tunnel’s computer says it helps reduce drag. The CD number of 0.28 is nothing out of the ordinary in this day and age. However there’s more to aero bodies than simply cutting noise and fuel use and, during our drive program, we found the new BMW 4 Series to be impressively stable, even in strong winds.
Steering feel is very good as it transmits messages from the front wheels in a way that lets the driver adjust the car’s direction to perfection. In the ‘Comfort’ setting the ride is pretty good, though the BMW ‘4 is inclined to bottom out at times on rough Aussie roads. Sport mode made things a bit on the jiggly side at times. Tyre roar on roads that weren’t all that rough was certainly noticeable.
The front seats are reasonably large and comfortable, though the bulky transmission does steal some foot width for those in the front. This is a genuine four-seater, with sufficient head and legroom for most adults. Those in the rear – and that’s where the kids are going to be – will have a fair bit of glass over their heads.
The big new number in the BMW coupe range, the 4 Series, is sleek and low, provides good engine performance even in the lower powered models and carries the aura that goes with the ‘rondel’ badge. Pricing is competitive and there is a nice selection of lines and accessories.
|435i||3.0L, PULP, 8 SP AUTO||$31,888 – 44,888||2013 BMW 4 Series 2013 435i Pricing and Specs|
|428i Luxury Line||2.0L, PULP, 8 SP AUTO||$19,000 – 30,988||2013 BMW 4 Series 2013 428i Luxury Line Pricing and Specs|
|420d Modern Line||2.0L, Diesel, 8 SP AUTO||$24,750 – 30,580||2013 BMW 4 Series 2013 420d Modern Line Pricing and Specs|
|428i Sport Line||2.0L, PULP, 6 SP MAN||$22,500 – 37,990||2013 BMW 4 Series 2013 428i Sport Line Pricing and Specs|