New Model News

Next-gen 2021 BMW 4 Series Coupe debuts with a distinctive face, mild-hybrid powertrain

BMW has debuted the first vehicle in the next-generation 4 Series lineup.

Photo by Fabian Kirchbauer Photography

BMW has unveiled the second-generation 4 Series Coupe six years after the last generation launched. The model puts forward a strong face, but has a long hood, sleek roof, and inoffensive back end while being powered by a fresh lineup of BMW engines.

The car will come in three trim levels: 430i, 430i xDrive, and M440i xDrive. BMW xDrive models come standard with all-wheel drive.

Exterior

Compared to the previous generation's 33i and 430i Coupe models, the 2021 BMW 4 Series Coupe is 2.2 inches longer, 1.0 inch wider, 2.2 inches lower and with a 1.0 inch wider rear track while sharing the same wheelbase. The car is more aerodynamic compared to the 430i Coupe as well.

2021 BMW 4 Series Coupe The looks of the car are sleeker with less folds and creases in this generation. Photo by Fabian Kirchbauer Photography

The face of the 4 Series Coupe is the most controversial. It features a new type of kidney grille that has been compared to the teeth of a beaver. BMW says that the new design, " provides adequate cooling for the [cars'] more powerful engines." The grille is surrounded by a three-dimensional mesh structure.

The air intakes take their position on the edges of the front bumper while standard LED headlights illuminate the way ahead.Two U-shaped daytime running light elements in each headlight give the car its BMW headlight signature. The turn signals consist of three glass blade units in the corners of each front light assembly.

Overall, the design of the 4 Series Coupe is clean but muscular with its long hood giving off sports car vibes. It has frameless windows, which add to its sophistocation. Acoustic glass is now used in the car to keep the cabin quiet.

For as much of a talking point as the front of the car is, the back is rather dull. There are darkened L-shaped LED taillights and vertical apertures at the rear corners mimic the air vents up front. BMW's signature trapezoidal exhaust finishers are tucked into the lower rear bumper cover.

2021 BMW 4 Series Coupe The grille is a point of controversy amongst critics. Photo by Fabian Kirchbauer Photography

Buyers opting for the M Sport Package get a uniquely styled front bumper with larger air intake openings and a restyled rear bumper with Shadowline inlays. The rear diffuser panel, front air intake trim, side window moldings and lower exterior mirror housings are all finished in high-gloss black.

Opting for the Shadowline Package gets buyers a high-gloss black finish to the kidney grille, exhaust tip trim and a black finish to the mirror caps.

The M440i xDrive Coupe's exterior styling is set apart by a rear trunk spoiler and by a Cerium Grey finish to the kidney grille, front air intake trim, exterior mirror caps, and rear trapezoidal exhaust tip trim.

All 4 Series Coupes are equipped with standard 18 inch alloy wheels with all-season run-flat tires. Nineteen-inch alloy wheels with all-season run-flat tires ad 19-inch alloy wheels with performance run-flat tires are available. The M440i xDrive Coupe also offers the additional option of 19-inch alloy wheels with performance non-run-flat tires are an option.

2021 BMW 4 Series Coupe The rear of the car is rather mundane compared to the front. Photo by Fabian Kirchbauer Photography

Performance

Every variant of the 4 Series Coupe is more powerful than the last-generation. The base 430i and 430i xDrive Coupe get their power from a twin-turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that puts out 255 horsepower and 294 pound-feet of torque. The 430i Coupe is capable of getting from zero to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds. The 430i xDrive Coupe is 0.2 seconds faster off the line. Both cars have an electronically limited top speed of 130 or 155 mph depending on the tires it wears.

The M440i xDrive Coupe is powered by a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine that produces 382 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. The car is helped off the line by a 48-volt battery that is part of the car's mild-hybrid system. It can go from zero to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds and has a an electronically limited top speed of 130 or 155 mph depending on its wheel and tire combination.

Both engines are paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission, which utilizes data from the adaptive cruise control system to downshift in order to scrub off speed, reducing wear and tear on the brakes.

2021 BMW 4 Series Coupe The profile of the coupe is sporty, with its long hood and swept back windscreen. Photo by Fabian Kirchbauer Photography

Performance of the M440i xDrive Coupe is enhanced by its standard rear M Sport differential, which works in conjunction with the stability control system to reduce understeer.

BMW says that the 4 Series Coupe is the more rigid than the last model. That, along with equipment upgrades, allow the model to have sharper steering and better handling than the outgoing model, as well as delivering a more comfortable drive.

The optional M Sport suspension (standard on the new BMW M440i xDrive Coupe) features firmer spring settings, stiffer bushings and mounts, firmer anti-roll bars, and a greater negative wheel camber.

Variable Sport steering, part of the optional M Sport Package and standard on the M440i xDrive, adjusts to changes in the steering angle to maximizing cornering agility and low speed comfort.

Sport brakes are also available.

2021 BMW 4 Series Coupe The car is set up to have a driver-centric cockpit. Photo by Fabian Kirchbauer Photography

Interior

The car features much fo the same from BMW. It has driver-centric cockpit with a start/stop button now located on the center console adjacent to the newly designed shifter.

Newly designed front power Sport seats and leather Sport steering wheel are standard. The four-seater 4 Series Coupe's rear seating with integral head restraints is designed for two passengers and features split-folding functionality.

Infotainment

BMW's Intelligent Personal Assistant responds to "Hey BMW" and can perform unique actions like automatically opening a window the the vehicle reaches a predetermined GPS point.

The car comes standard with an 8.8-inch infotainment touch screen and a 5.1-inch driver's information screen. Buyers can upgrade to a 10.25-inch center touch screen and a fully digital 12.3-inch instrument display.

2021 BMW 4 Series Coupe The interior of the car is very BMW with design that blends in with the rest of the automaker's lineup.Photo courtesy of BMW

BMW has also made navigation, which uses new cloud-based functionality, standard on the model. The system has been updated to allow for better user flexibility with inputs and route guidance. Buyers who opt for Live Cockpit Professional get a system with enhanced 3D graphics that highlights obstacles surrounding the car.

The new 2021 BMW 4 Series Coupe offers standard wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto Compatibility. Additional apps available include Google Assistant, Google Maps, Spotify, Amazon Music, and WhatsApp.

Safety

The list of standard safety technology on the model includes lane departure warning with steering correction; frontal collision; pedestrian warning with braking function; blind spot detection; rear cross traffic alert; rear collision preparation, automatic high beams; and speed limit information.

The Driving Assistance Professional Package which adds adaptive cruise control with stop and go and traffic jam assist, which allows for extended hands free vehicle operation, lane keeping assistant with side collision avoidance, evasion aid, front cross traffic alert, and emergency stop assistant – which can help guide your BMW to the shoulder and bring it to a halt in a medical emergency situation.

2021 BMW 4 Series Coupe The car features a fresh light signature in the front and rear.Photo courtesy of BMW

Buyers can upgrade to the Parking Assistance Package, which delivers a panorama view and 3D surround camera views to assist with parking. It can steer the car in and out of a parking spot on command. The remote 3D view function gives drivers the ability to call up a three-dimensional live image of their parked vehicle and its immediate vicinity on their smartphone. Additionally, the package allows the driver to use the car's cameras to record video footage from the front and rear of the vehicle then display them later.

Pricing and on-sale

MSRP pricing is $45,600 for the 430i Coupe, $47,600 for the 430i xDrive Coupe and $58,500 for the M440i xDrive Coupe. Pricing does not include the $995 destination fee. The model goes on sale later this year.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

Southern California is one of the hotspots for pollution in the U.S.

Photo by Getty Images

California is the country's largest new vehicle sales market. It's also in the crosshairs of climate change activists fighting to change decades of regulations in an effort to improve the livelihoods of the state's residents while also benefitting the plants and animals that live in the state.

Governor Gavin Newson today issued an executive order requiring sales of all new passenger vehicles to be zero-emission by 2035. This means that the sales of gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles will be banned in favor of battery electric (BEV) and hydrogen fuel cell (FCEV) vehicles.

That goal is poised to eliminate 35 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions and 80 percent of the oxides of nitrogen emissions from cars statewide, according to the State.

Data from the State shows that the transportation sector is responsible for more than half of all California's carbon pollution. Eighty percent of the that is from smog-forming pollution while 95 percent is from diesel emissions. The transportation sector includes passenger vehicles as well as shipping and other forms of mobility.

"This is the most impactful step our state can take to fight climate change," said Governor Newsom. "For too many decades, we have allowed cars to pollute the air that our children and families breathe. Californians shouldn't have to worry if our cars are giving our kids asthma. Our cars shouldn't make wildfires worse – and create more days filled with smoky air. Cars shouldn't melt glaciers or raise sea levels threatening our cherished beaches and coastlines."

The next steps include the California Air Resources Board developing regulations to mandate that 100 percent of in-state sales of new passenger cars and trucks are zero-emission by 2035. Additionally, medium- and heavy-duty vehicles are mandated to be 100 percent zero emission by 2045 where feasible, with the mandate going into effect by 2035 for drayage trucks.

The move to all-BEV and FCEV vehicles won't eliminate the pollutants spewed by vehicles purchased prior to 2035 or the purchase of used vehicles.

This isn’t the first time California has attempted to regulate electrified vehicles into popularity. Despite the state’s efforts, BEVs, FCEVs, and plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) are unpopular among buyers nationwide. Out of the 17 million vehicles sold in the U.S. in 2019, just 330,000 of them were plug-in electric cars (BEVs and PHEVs) with 80 percent of those being Teslas. Only 7,000 FCEVs were sold or leased during the same period.

Additionally, “the executive order directs state agencies to develop strategies for an integrated, statewide rail and transit network, and incorporate safe and accessible infrastructure into projects to support bicycle and pedestrian options, particularly in low-income and disadvantaged communities” according to a release by the Governor’s office.

Earlier this year, the California Air Resources Board has approved new regulations requiring truck manufacturers to transition to electric zero-emission trucks beginning in 2024.

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The Kia Sorento has undergone a bold redo for 2021

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

We already knew what the redesigned 2021 Kia Sorento would look like thanks to its global reveal in March. Now we now what the U.S.-spec will be getting.

The Sorento will be available to U.S. customers in a new X-Line trim. It features a one-inch lift resulting in improved approach and departure angles. The grade also includes all-wheel drive with Snow mode, and a more robust roof rack.

201 Kia Sorento SX The Sorento has a new, sturdier roof rack.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Kia will offer the Sorento with four engine options in the U.S. The base power plant is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The engine achieves 191 horsepower and 182 pound-feet of torque. It achieves 27 mpg combined. Front-wheel drive is standard with this engine and all-wheel drive is available.

Buyers will be able to upgrade the base model Sorento to get a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine under the hood that delivers 281 horsepower and 311 pound-feet of torque. The engine is paired with an eight-speed wet-clutch dual-clutch transmission - the same as what is offered in the Hyundai Veloster N - and is expected to achieve 25 mpg combined. Front-wheel drive is standard with this engine and all-wheel drive is available.

The front-wheel drive Sonata Hybrid will feature a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that is paired with a 1.49 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack, 44.2 kWh electric motor, and six-speed automatic transmission.. That powertrain produces approximately 227 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. That's more powerful than the standard four-cylinder in the 2020 Sorento but less horsepower than buyers would get with the 2020 Sorento with a V6. Kia says the model gets 37 mpg combined.

201 Kia Sorento X-Line The new Sorento X-Line model features black design accents and wheels.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

That same engine powers an all-wheel drive plug-in hybrid variant of the model that will be available in 2021 and feature 261 horsepower and 30 miles of all-electric range.

U.S. drivers will be able to configure the model with either 4+2 or 5+2 seating. The three-row SUV offers best-in-class front and rear legroom and overall interior passenger volume.

The fully upgraded interior includes a standard 8.0-inch infotainment touch screen that gets bumped up to a 10.25-inch screen in higher trim levels. An available 12.3-inch all-digital instrument cluster is available. There are eight USB charging ports (six in the LX model) and the larger screen allows for dual-phone Bluetooth Capability.

2021 Kia Sorento The interior of the Sorento features a new design for the automaker.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Opting for a system with UVO telematics adds cloud-based connected routing that allows navigation to be adjusted in real time according to evolving traffic and road conditions. There’s also weather information for up to 25,000 cities, voice assistant functionality, keyless entry user profiles, smart speaker integration, and advanced notifications for things like extended idle times and rear occupancy alerts. The system will automatically contact 911 should it sense that an airbag has deployed.

For the first time, Kia offers the model with on-demand Find My Car functionality with surround view technology that captures images of the vehicle’s surroundings then pushes them to the Kia Access Uvo app to aid in location. Additionally, last mile navigation provides walking directions to a final destination if the vehicle is parked between 0.1 and 1.2 miles away from the destination as entered in the navigation system.

A 12-speaker Bose sound system and wireless charging capability is available.

2021 Kia Sorento A 10.25-inch infotainment touch screen is available, Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Kia has given the Sorento a host of standard safety features including forward collision avoidance assist, lane keeping assist, lane departure warning, and rear occupant alert. Blind spot collision avoidance assist, passenger safe exit, and blind view monitor technologies are available.

The 2021 Sorento is assembled in West Point, Georgia alongside the Telluride and the K5.

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