BMW’s all-new 4 Series Coupe is based on the successful 3 Series platform and represents the company’s second-generation 4 Series Coupe. The 4 Series has grown in length, width, and even height. Though the new 4 Series Coupe is bigger in nearly every dimension, it is the new design that dominates the discussions with onlookers. Though most of the coupe looks like you would expect from being based on the 3 Series, it is the grill where the design takes the biggest deviation.
Powering the all-new 430i Coupe is BMW’s potent B46 2.0 Liter four-cylinder engine putting out 255 hp and 294 lbs-ft of torque. This is mated through a slick-shifting 8 Speed Automatic Transmission. Interestingly the 430i xDrive is quicker 0-60 at 5.3 seconds than the 430i which runs it in 5.5 seconds. This comes down to how well the xDrive system puts the power down to all wheels and helps you launch out of the hole faster despite the added weight.
Of course, we also touched on the exterior and interior design, along with a close look at the mesh and oversized grille of the new 4 Series. Being the non-M Sport 4 Series, the exterior design is certainly less aggressive and the kidneys do stick out a bit more. So in the end, we spent two weeks with the 2021 BMW 430i xDrive Coupe and this is certainly of the most comprehensive reviews and test drives we’ve ever done.
Join us on a video review of what the 430i is like to drive, what the underside looks like on our lift, and take a detailed look at the design of BMW’s second-generation 4 Series.
There used to be a time when the Lamborghini Urus caused a panic lining up on the drag strip but it looks like those days are behind the Italian SUV. Now, even a BMW X4 M dares to take on it but, as we’re about to see, with a bit of a twist. The BMW in the video below is not a stock model and comes with a bit more power than what the Bavarian company meant for it. How much? About 700 horsepower.
That’s a hefty increase compared to what the car comes with straight from the factory, namely 480 horsepower. And that shows two things: how far you can push the performance envelope on the new S58 engines and how far the tuning industry has come. Unfortunately, the video doesn’t provide any insight into what was actually done to the engine to get this kind of power output apart from the fact that the work was done by a company called Seven Force.
Whatever was done to it, it’s gained 220 horsepower over the stock figure. And having 700 horsepower coming out of a 3.0 liter straight-six is definitely demanding some serious street cred. This video will also help out as it’s not exactly easy to beat a 650 horsepower Lamborghini Urus on the drag strip and yet, this X4 M did it. Which, to be honest, isn’t too surprising, as the tuned BMW X4 M is more powerful and lighter than the massive Lamborghini Urus.
The race was pretty close in the first 100 yards, as the Urus seemed to be actually a bit ahead. However, past the mid-point in the 1/4 mile run, the X4 M started pulling, thanks to its horsepower advantage combined with its lower weight. In the end, the BMW won with a 1/4 mile time of 11.124, incredibly fast for an SUV.
One of the best, and most cost-effective, ways of improving the look of an old, worn looking car is to wrap it. It’s cheaper than a new paint job and it offers far more versatility, in terms of color and finish choice. Which is why it made perfect sense for Car Throttle to wrap its E46 BMW 3 Series Compact, a car whose paint was in pretty horrid condition.
In this new video, we get to see the E46 3 Series Compact go in for wrapping, get prepped, and then finally get wrapped. During the prep, they also rolled the fenders, so as to fit the larger wheels that they plan on fitting, without having them rub. Then, they got to wrapping it.
The wrap they chose was a blue-ish green chameleon color, which is actually a lot of fun. I wouldn’t choose that myself but it’s still fun and it turns what was previously a very ratty looking E46 into something more exciting.
Alex and the crew also try their hand at wrapping certain parts of the car, with varying degrees of success. Surprisingly, Ethan — the crew member who typically struggles to work on cars — managed to wrap a fuel filler cap better than the rest of the CT crew. My hat goes off to anyone that can successfully wrap anything, as I simply cannot. I wrench all of my cars myself but I can barely put a phone screen protector on, so wrapping a car seems incredibly difficult to me.
In the end, the E46 BMW 3 Series Compact went from looking like a cheap beater to a funny enthusiast’s car. While chameleon wrap might not be for everyone, this E46 certainly looks better now than it did before and it’s probably going to get even better looking with new wheels.
Just recently, AutoTopNL bought a brand-new G80 BMW M3 in a stunning shade of Zanzibar Metallic, with a proper manual transmission. It’s an awesome spec car and is believed to be one-of-one at the moment, with no other known standard M3s painted in that color, with a manual ‘box. Shortly after taking delivery of the new M3, they decided to take it to the dyno, to see how much power it really makes.
From the factory, the BMW M3 is said to make 473 horsepower (480 PS) and 406 lb-ft of torque (550 Nm). However, all German automakers significantly underrate their engines, so as to never be caught making less power than claimed. So how much power does the standard G80 M3 actually make?
According to the dyno, it actually made about 496 horsepower (503 PS) and around 448 lb-ft (607 Nm) of torque. Those are big numbers for the standard car and prove that the Competition is an unnecessary power bump. The standard BMW M3 has more than enough power for any enthusiasts. As they mention in the video, it’s very easy to tune the M3’s S58 engine to well over 600 horsepower but that’s genuinely unnecessary. Especially with a manual rear-wheel drive car.
Enjoy this golden age of easy internal combustion power, as it’s not going to last much longer, with electrification taking hold. But while it lasts, the fact that customers can go to a dealership and pick out a rear-wheel drive, manual, 500 horsepower sedan with carbon fiber sport buckets, seating for five, and a big trunk, makes this the golden age of sports cars. Sure, we all reminisce about the good old days of proper steering feel and communication, and we miss those days too, but this current day of incredible performance wrapped in usable everyday packages is almost impossible to beat. This video is proof.
The initial launch of the GLA name in the Mercedes-Benz range wasn’t exactly a record-breaking success. The first GLA was a rather small, compact crossover you could barely consider anything else but a car on stilts initially. It was small and cramped but, even so, Daimler managed to sell almost a million of them since 2014, a figure that definitely gave them the confidence needed to try a second time.
And they did with the new Mercedes-Benz GLA, launched in late 2019. The new model kept some of the recipe used on the original but improved in most areas where shortcomings were noticed, proving that if you want to be successful in this business, you really have to listen to your customers. The new model is now bigger in almost every way and comes with a new design, new tech and a more SUV-like feeling than ever before.
A New Design
Just like it was the case on the original, the new GLA is based on the same front-wheel drive platform that underpins cars like the A-Class, CLA, A-Class sedan, B-Class and GLB. And that can be observed by those with a keen eye, from the moment you lay your eyes on it. The exterior design is influenced by the current Mercedes-Benz trends but the short, inclined hood and the greenhouse shape instantly tell you this is a car build on a FWD platform.
However, that’s not to mean it doesn’t look good. From the outside it has a clean-cut design, with simple lines, that fall perfectly into the current Mercedes-Benz trends. The front-end features elegant lines, including inside the headlamps, with DRL elements reminding us of the rest of the line-up. Short overhangs also offer the car a sporty look which is further accentuated on the sides, where character lines going front to back make it seem like the GLA – despite its practical nature – can also go pretty fast. The rear end is the one that reminds you the most about this car’s origins and manufacturer, as the taillights feature a design very close to the one seen on the GLE or GLB models.
But if you take out the tape measure, you’ll notice a lot has changed, especially compared to the first iteration. The new model is wider by 30 millimeters and taller by a whopping 104 millimeters, in an obvious attempt at solving what was the biggest issue the original GLA had to face: its practicality. The first model had serious issues when it came to interior space, prompting many journalists to call it nothing more than a jacked-up A-Class.
That’s no longer the case and the biggest surprise in this regard comes in the length department. Looking at the new GLA you wouldn’t believe it is now 14 millimeters shorter than the outgoing model and yet the spec sheet doesn’t lie. Be that as it may, Mercedes increased the wheelbase by 30 millimeters which means you’ll get even more room inside but less space in the boot compared to its main rivals, the Audi Q3 and BMW X1.
Increased Practicality Inside
Get in and you’ll immediately feel the changes in the new generation GLA. First of all, the seating position is miles better than in the old model. Whereas in the original you could barely feel like you were in something different than an A-Class, the new GLA has the seats mounted exactly 140 millimeters higher than in the regular A-Class and that gives you a commanding view of the road. The tall windows on the sides and considerably bigger rear window offer great visibility from behind the wheel. You also get standard blind spot monitoring on all cars, just to be safe in all conditions.
There’s ample room up front and everything feels nicely put together. The material quality isn’t necessarily on the same level as more expensive Mercedes-Benz models but it stays well within the tolerances allowed by the segment the GLA plays in. There’s soft plastic on the top of the dash and the upper parts of the door panels, combined with harder plastics on the bottom part of the cabin. The leather on the seats is soft enough for a car in this price range but nothing to write home about. The dashboard will attract a lot of attention though because the new GLA gets the MBUX infotainment system which has undergone a massive transformation.
Mind you, our tester was fitted with the biggest optional screens but you should know that not all cars come with these fancy pieces on glass on the dash. Standard screens are much smaller and look a lot worse. Therefore, if there’s one optional feature I would definitely recommend getting, it would be the full-size MBUX screens.
The graphics are beautiful and the amount of customization you can go through mind-bending. You can adjust just about anything you want on those screens, from the color to the shape of the dials and the kind of information they show you. It’s easy to use and I think Mercedes-Benz did a better job at exploiting the possibilities offered by a screen being used as an instrument cluster than BMW. Whereas in the past the iDrive system used to be the clear winner in the in-car infotainment competition, these past few years have brought forward serious challengers from both Mercedes-Benz and Audi.
Get in the back and you’ll also notice just how much room you get over there. I still remember the last attempt I had at riding in the back of the first-generation GLA, as it proved to be quite a painful experience. Not in the new model. I was really blown away to see that, with the driver’s seat adjusted to my comfortable driving position (6-ft tall, 250 lbs) I could also sit in the back without any issues. That means, the GLA can accommodate four fully grown adults with ease and that’s something that simply wasn’t doable in the old model.
Switch back to the driver’s seat though and you’ll also be impressed by the ride this car is offering. Mercedes-Benz has been considered the king of suspension setups in modern cars for a while now and the GLA shows it wasn’t just marketing hype. The suspension delivers on its promises, especially considering it was a passive setup. These days we’re spoiled with choices when it comes to suspension choices, most cars (and not just in the premium segment) having an option available for adjustable damper settings. The GLA can be fitted with adaptive dampers but our tester didn’t have them on. And yet, I couldn’t really complain.
The ride was supple, well balanced and comfortable while also quiet as a church mouse on every single type of terrain I encountered. Furthermore, it somehow also managed to keep it together when the ‘Sport’ mode was engaged and I was testing out the sportier side of the car. Sure, there was some body roll but, all things considered, a lot less of it than I expected in the first place, proving that an old-school, fixed setup can do still do wonders.
The Old School Diesel
This wasn’t exactly a Mercedes-AMG GLA45 S either, but rather a more down-to-earth GLA 220d 4Matic which would’ve been the pick of the range if diesel engines were still favored in Europe. Fret not though, there are plenty of engine to pick from, depending on where you live. From the new 1.33-liter 4-cylinder petrol developed with Renault-Nissan to 2-liter petrol alternatives like the GLA 200 or GLA 250 and the AMG bad boys too. The 2-liter diesel one surprised me thought with its versatility and rather low levels of NVH.
As most of you know, 2-liter 4-cylinder diesel engines are not exactly the standard when it comes to noise-vibration-harshness levels, so I had low expectations to begin with. However, the Mercedes-Benz mill feels just as refined as the equivalent B47 mill from BMW. Most of credit though goes to the gearbox, which manages to keep the revs as low as possible most of the time.
This GLA 220d comes with an 8-speed dual-clutch gearbox that’s brand new and was introduced on new-generation Mercedes models with a transverse engine layout. Just as you’d expect, the cog-swapper rushes to get you in a higher gear as soon as possible and not once did I notice the sixth gear while doing only about 40 mph. In doing so, the engine remains under 2,000 RPM most of the time, making it hum quietly under the hood. Whenever you do go over 2,500 RPM a noticeable rumble makes its way into the cabin but that’s a rare occurrence, especially around town.
Tight Corners and Understeer
Go out on the highway and you’ll also be satisfied with the sound insulation this car has. It’s quite obvious Mercedes wanted to fix the issues that plagued the first generation GLA and did a better job at muffling out the road noise at higher speeds, to make this new model worthy of the silver arrows badge. Up to speeds around 65 mph the atmosphere is almost serene inside, with very little noise making its way into the cabin, mostly from the wheel wells. Over that speed, some noise coming from the side mirrors can also be noticed but it’s not a big deal anyway.
What impressed me the most though was the fuel consumption. Around town the figure was around 7-8 l/100 km (29-33 mpg) which isn’t bad at all, considering the traffic. However, outside the city limits, at an average speed of 80 km/h (50 mph) that number dropped to 5 l/100 km (47 mpg) which is just incredible for a car of this size and with this kind of design. But don’t think that these figures come at the expense of performance.
The engine has plenty of resources for this body, with 190 PS and 400 Nm of torque available from 1,600 RPM. It will allow the car to do 62 mph from standstill in 7.3 seconds which may not be back breaking but it’s more than enough for most people, as the car feels lively off the line. It will also dig into triple digit speeds easily and overtaking is a breeze. Just make sure not to push it hard to a series of tight corners as understeer will show its ugly face.
At the end of the day though, for a 2-liter crossover, the GLA 220d performed more than admirably throughout my series of tests and I think it’s safe to say that few people would buy it to drive it like a sports car. For them, the AMG versions should provide plenty of thrills.
Lessons Learned and Applied
All things considered then, the new Mercedes-Benz GLA delivers on all of the promises made by the Stuttgart-based manufacturer when the new generation was announced. It manages to make up for all the faults the old model had and then some. It is spacious, comfortable and has the best passive suspension in the segment right now, hands down. Chip in the ever-improving infotainment system and the low fuel consumption and you have a winning recipe on your hands.
Sure, it can’t do everything, as the BMW X1 will probably be better to drive when pushed to the limit, but what the GLA shows is that Mercedes knows its customers and knows how to develop a new model to fit their specific needs in a rather short period of time. And that’s a privilege that only companies with outstanding experience in the automotive industry can benefit from.
Doing a lot in a small amount of space has been the MINI motto from the get go. Now the company is looking to support small initiatives all around the UK, starting with Tiny Forest. The announcement was made today and the work is being done by MINI in collaboration with Earthwatch Europe. The goal of the initiative is to increase the amount of green spaces and biodiversity inside urban areas.
In order to do that, actual tiny forests are to be planted in various locations, MINI already funding and planting its first one, near one of their production sites, in Swindon, England. The next MINI Tiny Forest will be planted near the home of the MINI Plant in Oxford in 2022.
“Tiny Forests provide rich opportunities for connecting young and old alike with the environment and sustainability,” explains Louise Hartley, Tiny Forest Officer at Earthwatch Europe: “It’s vital that we give people the knowledge and skills to protect our natural world and inspire them to take positive action. We are delighted to be working with MINI UK to bring these inspiring spaces to Swindon and Oxford.”
Like the all-electric MINI, “Tiny Forests” are very impressive due to their enormous efficiency in a small space: 600 indigenous trees are planted especially close to each other on the area of a tennis court and allowed to grow in a completely natural way. The result: up to 30 percent more density, up to ten times faster growth and up to thirty times better absorption of carbon dioxide. This, in turn, will attract more than 500 animal and plant species over the next three years and transform the “Tiny Forest” into an accessible mini-ecosystem.
“MINI are really excited to partner with Earthwatch Europe to plant Tiny Forests in our local communities and across the UK,” says David George, Director MINI Great Britain and Ireland: “For over 61 years we have made cars using resources responsibly and to maximum effect. Our shared values of sustainability and bringing people together is what makes this such a great partnership.”
We now know that BMW will be transitioning the MINI brand to an all-electric manufacturer within the next few years. The larger BMW Group will still develop internal combustion engine cars for the foreseeable future but MINI will be the group’s electric arm. To kick things off, a new MINI Electric is currently in the works and was just seen testing in the snow. (We don’t own the spy photos but you can see them here)
In these photos, we get to see what looks very much like a current MINI Electric. Look a bit closer though and you can tell that it does have some new features. The rear bumper seems wider than the current car’s and the taillights seem a bit larger. It also seems to have different side mirrors than current MINIs, though they look a bit like BMW mirrors, so it’s possible they could just be borrowed mirrors for test mule purposes.
Inside the car, we can see a large screen where the instrument panel should be. Of course, this could just be a test display and not actually indicative of what the final production car’s display will be. But the one seen in these photos is much larger than the one seen in current MINIs.
Thankfully, the next-gen series of MINI vehicles is said to go back to being very small. While still small, MINIs have grown surprisingly large over the past few years. However, last year MINI boss Berndt Körber told Auto Express the new MINIs will be smaller.
“When I say small, I mean I want to make a small three-door hatch again. Today there are some restrictions for pedestrian safety, but we would like to, in terms of design and exterior, make the three-door hatch as small as possible.”
That’s encouraging to hear and it’s certainly possible that, on an all-electric architecture, MINIs can get much smaller. We can’t wait to find out.
If you’re sick of all the BMW design criticism, just take a look at the BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe, as it’s a great example of how BMW can still nail a design. It’s a gorgeous car; its long, low, lean, and muscular, while still looking elegant and premium. What a thing. For Japanese market customers, the 8er GC just got even better, as BMW has just released the 8 Series Collector’s Edition, which comes in a few stunning BMW Individual colors.
There are four colors available with the Collector’s Edition car; Aventurine Red, Azurite Black, Davit Grey, and Tanzinite Blue, all of which are quite beautiful. Regardless of which color your choose, though, the 8 Series Gran Coupe Collector’s Edition always comes with the M Sport package, 20″ 729 M bi-color wheels, and Merino Ivory White leather interior. The combination of the M Sport package with more luxurious looking wheels, and lovely colors makes these specific 8ers particularly pretty machines.
Oddly, the only model available is the B58-powered BMW 840i Gran Coupe. You’d imagine these snazzier Collector’s Edition cars would be available on more expensive models but instead it’s just the six-pot car. That’s no problem, though, as the 3.0 liter turbocharged I6 packs more than enough punch, making 335 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. It also sounds fantastic and delivers its power smoother than a jet turbine does.
If you’re in the Japanese market and you want to put one of these in your driveway, it’s gonna set you back 15 million yen ($145,000-ish), so it’s not an inexpensive car by any means. In fact, at that price point, you’re pushing into BMW M8 territory for a six-cylinder 840i. However, the BMW 8 Series Collector’s Edition does come in a very unique spec, regardless of which color you choose, and could be seen as a sort of collector’s item (pardon the pun) in the future.
With the growing popularity of EVs and their technologies a new era of retro-modding and hot-rodding is beginning. The ability to take an old gasoline powered car, rip out its guts, and stuff in EV guts is becoming more and more common and it actually nets some pretty incredible results. For instance, this one enthusiasts has two EVs from BMW; a completely unmodified BMW i3 REx and an E21 3 Series electric conversion. How flipping cool is that?
In a recent Jalopnik article, spotlighting EV owners, we get to learn about Allen, a Jalop reader and EV conversion enthusiast. He uses his two BMW EVs on a regular basis and loves them both for different reasons. However, it’s not the BMW i3 we want to learn about — it’s the E21 3 Series.
The E21 3 Series electric conversion uses a 21 kWh battery system, a DC motor mounted at the rear axle, and even a five-speed manual. Apparently, due to the DC electric motor, it needs a gearbox. I’ve actually drive an electric car with a manual transmission — a converted classic Mini — and it was an absolute blast to drive so I imagine this one is as well. It’s apparently more fun to drive now than it was with a gasoline engine, thanks to its 200 lb weight loss and better center of gravity.
Obviously, the BMW i3 REx is nicer to drive, as it’s more luxurious, has more creature comforts, and a further range. The converted E21 only has about 60 miles of range (though, that’s not too far off the original i3’s). But because the E21 electric is actually more fun to drive — and makes an excellent trailer towing vehicle — Allen actually drives it more than the i3. In fact, he actually drives the E21 more than he drives any of his other cars, EV or otherwise. Check it out.
There are some legitimate criticisms of the new BMW M3 and BMW M4; their grilles, their weight, and their cost. However, there are some undeniable qualities as well, such as their ability to slice up a twisty country road. In this new photo gallery, we see just that.
The BMW M3 in this gallery wears a Tanzanite Blue paint, which looks great. Its a bit under-the-radar, a bit subtler than many of the other launch colors, such as Sao Paulo Yellow. The darker, more elegant shade of Tanzanite Blue helps to lessen the visual impact of the grille. Though, it does hide the rest of the car’s muscularity a bit, which makes it seem less exciting, less special. So you have to pick your battles.
Inside, the M3 in these photos gets Silverstone leather with the standard seats. While they aren’t as incredible looking as the carbon fiber-backed sport seats, they’re more comfortable over long distances, as well as a few thousand dollars cheaper. Plus, they still look good, just not quite as special.
2021 BMW M3 Tanzanite Blue
As for the BMW M4, it wears the fantastic Toronto Red. If you know me, you’d know I’m a sucker for red cars and Toronto Red is a gorgeous shade that makes the M4 seem more exotic and exciting. Though, it does highlight that grille, so if you’re not a fan then Toronto Red isn’t the color to get. Though, if it were my money, I’d get this color and live with the grille.
The BMW M4 here also gets Silverstone leather but it gets the special carbon fiber sport seats, which are sensational to look at. If you’re a larger person, they might not be ideal, but if you fit nicely, they’re well worth the extra money.
2021 BMW M4 Toronto Red
Both cars in the photo gallery are Competition-spec models, which means they get the more powerful version of their 3.0 liter twin-turbocharged inline-six, making 503 horsepower (510 PS). It also means they get an eight-speed automatic transmission, bigger wheels, and black accents. If you’re on the fence about whether or not you want a brightly colored M3/M3 or a darker one, or maybe you just don’t know which model to get, this gallery will help.