BMW has either just created the next big thing, or officially run out of ideas. This is the 4-series Gran Coupe. Of course, it’s not actually a coupe at all – it has four doors – but being part of the 4-series family, it’s sleeker than the 3-series saloon.
It’s the third and final 4-series model (following the two-door coupe and folding hard-top convertible). Best of all, a 424bhp M4 Gran Coupe is waiting in the wings for 2015…
How the heck do you pigeonhole the BMW 4-series Gran Coupe?
The 4-series GC follows a trail blazed by the Audi A5 Sportback, which looks like (and is priced as) an A5, but offers four doors and similar cabin space to a cooking A4. Sales have been too strong for BMW to ignore – even if it means risking the wrath of angry enthusiasts fed up of niche-within-niche car-making. Before you start frothing at the mouth, be aware the more practical 4-series Gran Coupe costs exactly the same, spec-for-spec, as its two-door counterpart.
Are you sure it’s not a 3-series?
Damn sure – the unique 4-series front and rear ends are present, and the Gran Coupe is exactly the same length, width, and wheelbase-size as the 4-series coupe. The roof, however, is 12mm higher. Although it swoops more severely than a 3-series, we’re seeing hints of the 3-series Gran Turismo’s silhouette here – and that’s no good thing. Do you agree? Comment below…
Is it palpably more practical than a 4-series?
Yes, says BMW: ‘The functionality of a saloon car with the silhouette of a coupé’ is the official party line. BMW says the boot is now 435-litres: 35 litres bigger than the two-door and, you guessed it, the same size as the boot of a 3-series saloon. That hatchback tailgate allows easier cargo access than any 4-series or the 3-series saloon, and it boasts an automatic close function as standard.
The rear bench has a ‘2+1’ configuration, with improved headroom versus the 4-series coupe.
All very well, but a 3-series a pinch across the rear seats too. BMW is so busy justifying the 4-series Gran Coupe next to its two-door sister, it may have overlooked the fact it appears to be rendering the poor old Three obsolete.
Will the 4-series Gran Coupe be much of an ultimate driving machine?
BMW has adjusted the suspension for what is expected to be a less stiff body than the two-door 4-series. No official number have been disclosed, but BMW admits the Gran Coupe is heavier than a 4-series coupe, but claims it will still weigh in lighter than any other car in its class. Not that there’s much in the way of competition, of course.
Which engines can I have in my 4-series Gran Coupe?
There’ll eventually be a choice of seven – the halo model being the as yet unseen M4 Fran Coupe. Most economical is the 418d four-pot diesel version: you get 141bhp, 236lb ft and up to 61mpg for £30,995. There’ll be both rear- and all-wheel drive xDrive versions of the 182bhp, 280lb ft 420d. Curiously, both have an identical 7.7sec 0-62mph time (7.5sec when specced with the eight-speed automatic transmission.)
Until the M4 Gran Coupe, petrolheads can choose between a 420i, which costs £29,420, a 428i for £32,815, or the fastest 4-series Gran Coupe at launch: the £41,355 435i. Power outputs for the petrol cars are 182bhp, 242bhp and 302bhp respectively. The hot 435i manages 0-62mph in as little as 5.2sec.
The 4-series Gran Coupe range goes on sale on 21 June 2014, with the choice of five trim levels: SE, Sport, Modern, Luxury and M Sport. The premium over a 3-series saloon? Around £2000 on like-for-like models. As ever, you pays your money…
>> Is this 4-series Gran Coupe the sweet spot of the BMW range, or niche one-upmanship gone mad? Click ‘Add your comment’ to sound off