Audi led the way with the A5 Sportback, Mercedes will follow suit with its CLA (previewed by the CSC concept at the recent Beijing Motor Show) and now BMW is readying its own compact four-door coupe – the 4 Series Gran Coupe.
We’re already familiar with the new 3 Series saloon, but it won’t be joined by a 3 Series Coupe or Convertible – these variants will wear a 4 Series badge instead. The idea is to offer a clearer differentiation between practical models and those that are more style-led, as is the case with the closely related 5 Series and 6 Series.
The four-door 4 Series will follow in the path of the recently released 6 Series Gran Coupe, offering two more doors than the 4 Series Coupe, as well as a slightly longer wheelbase and a set of usable rear seats. Yet it retains a clean, sweeping roofline.
The intricate nose will be shared with the new 3 Series, but gaping air intakes and smooth aluminium-style inserts add an upmarket feel.
Engine choices will be the same as for the Coupe and Convertible. From launch, BMW will offer the frugal 65mpg 420d, a 2.0-litre turbo 428i and flagship six-cylinder 435i, with 302bhp.
There will also be an M4 Gran Coupe – following in the footsteps of the imminent M6 Gran Coupe – which is likely to join the M3 Saloon, M4 Coupe and M4 Convertible in 2014. It will use a 450bhp six-cylinder turbo.
The standard 4 Series Gran Coupe is set to go on sale late next year, priced from around £30,000.