Potentially, everything you’d want in a car of this kind.
BMW’s 4 Series Gran Coupe offers a more flexibly stylish choice in the profitable sector for compact executive cars. For once, two rear doors don’t compromise the visual appeal of a model of this kind, nor does their extra weight dilute the handling purity. Of course, there are more practical choices in this segment – and certainly cheaper ones. After trying this BMW though, you might not be quite so attracted to them.
So, how does a 4 Series BMW with five doors differ from a 3 Series model with five doors? It’s a fair question, given the premium the Munich maker is asking for this Gran Coupe variant. Part of the answer comes with this car’s sleeker look - and part with the thing that goes a long way towards creating that sleeker look, namely this 4 Series model’s lower ride height. It comes courtesy of the wider front and rear track that slightly differentiates all 4 Series models – Coupe, Convertible and this Gran Coupe – from their 3 Series counterparts, hunkering them better down into the road and lowering the centre of gravity.
With over 60% of users likely to favour a black pump BMW, I’ve chosen a 190bhp xDrive 420d here, a car with nearly 30% more pulling power than its 184bhp 420i petrol-powered counterpart.
If performance isn’t a crucial consideration in your choice of 4 Series Gran Coupe, then the 143bhp 418d diesel variant might well be sufficient. It does, after all, still make 62mph from rest in only a fraction over 9s. Don’t drive it though, after a trip in one of the silky-smooth six cylinder diesel models, either the 258bhp 430d, good for 62mph in 5. 6s, or the 313bhp 435d which is nearly a second faster and offers xDrive 4WD as standard. Both models must be artificially restrained at 155mph, as must the two properly quick mainstream petrol variants. First amongst these is the 245bhp four cylinder 428i which, thanks to the same TwinPower Turbo technology as the 420i, is good for 62mph in 6. 1s, which makes it only fractionally slower than the six cylinder 306bhp 435i – and at a substantial saving.
If we accept that one of the primary purchasing priorities for potential users of this car is going to be the way it looks, then BMW seems very well set here. It appears at first glance to be larger than the two-door 4 Series Coupe model it’s based upon – indeed, you would have thought that a Gran Coupe would have to be to accommodate its two extra rear doors and larger boot. Apparently not. As it turns out, the extra versatility comes solely through changes to the shape of the roof – it’s 112mm longer and sits 12mm higher. Otherwise, all of the other basic dimensions of this car – body length, width, wheelbase and so on – replicate not only the ordinary 4 Series Coupe but also the 3 Series saloon it was originally derived from. Certainly the long bonnet, the short overhangs and the set-back passenger compartment are very familiar.
Once you’re in place on the back seat, that stretched, heightened roofline delivers head and legroom that are both remarkably good for a car still professing to be a ‘coupe’ – though if you’re expecting to carry five people and use all three rear belts provided, you might need a bit of a reality check. BMW describes this car as a ‘4+1’ seater, which means that it’s been designed for four but has a centre rear bench that can be used for a child or, in emergency, by an adult.
The luggage bay, though shallow and accessible only over quite a high loading lip, is decently sized, with 480-litres on offer.
Overall, if you’re looking at a conventional compact executive model, you may well not already have a Gran Coupe on your wishlist. If so, then perhaps it ought to be. After all, just for once, the kind of car you’ve dreamed about may also need to be the one you really need.
BMW’s 4 Series Convertible perseveres with a neat metal-folding roof that offers a different option to executive segment cabriolet users not already swayed by the competing charms of rival open-topped versions of the Audi A5 and Mercedes E-Class. You won’t get the large
boot and cutting-edge driving dynamics of the 4 Series Coupe, but compensations come in the form of refinement, security and drop-top desirability. You’d like one.