BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe 2014 review

30 Jun, 2014 12:30pm Jonathan Burn

Can the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe tempt saloon buyers into 4 Series ownership?


It’s easy to see how you could walk into a BMW dealership with a 3 Series saloon in mind and walk away with a 4 Series Gran Coupe. BMW is a master at charging you more for a more stylish version of the same car. It’s 4 Series Coupe customers who’ll be most tempted, though, as it does everything the two-door does, plus offers extra practicality, for the same price.

The BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe is the final instalment of BMW’s new 4 Series line-up. It joins the Convertible and Coupe models in the range, and BMW predicts it will account for 25 per cent of 4 Series sales. We’ve tested what should be the best seller, the 420d Gran Coupe, in the UK for the first time.

You’d be forgiven for thinking the addition of two rear doors to a 4 Series makes this a 3 Series saloon. Although they do share similar proportions and styling, the Gran Coupe is 14mm longer and offers a higher level of kit, as well as a more curvaceous coupe silhouette, for around £3,000 more.

At first glance, there’s not much to separate the Gran Coupe from the standard 4 Series Coupe – with the exception of the rear doors, obviously. From the nose up to the A-pillar, both cars are identical. Fork out a further £3,000 for top-spec M Sport trim, like our test car, and you get a subtle bodykit, 18-inch alloys and a smattering of sporty M badges.

BMW 420d Gran Coupe 2014 rear action

To accommodate the rear doors, the roofline of the Gran Coupe has been stretched by 112mm and is 12mm higher. As a result there’s more interior space and also room for a third rear passenger, with the outermost occupants falling snugly into position, supported by the curved bench.

Thanks to the taller roof there’s more headroom, too – 27mm to be exact – plus lots of knee room –although it’s still tighter than a 3 Series saloon. BMW says there is space for three in the back, but it’s more of a 4+1 arrangement, with the third passenger perched on the elevated middle seat. Yet there’s still more interior space than you get in the Audi A5 Sportback.

Up front, while the dash and centre console are robust and well equipped, it’s a simple copy and paste job from the BMW parts bin. There’s little to differentiate BMW’s saloon and coupe models from the inside, which is no bad thing, but some individual styling cues would be a welcome addition.

BMW 420d Gran Coupe 2014 interior

We’ve already driven the fruity 428i Gran Coupe M Sport, so this was our first chance to try the frugal, but punchy 420d with the eight-speed automatic box. The car we tested was fitted with £1,690 optional XDrive four-wheel drive, which results in brisk getaways, but impacts efficiency slightly, cutting 4mpg and 7g/km from the claimed figures to 56.5mpg and 131g/km respectively.

The 2.0-litre diesel can be a little rough at idle, but once up to speed it settles. Even at the motorway limit it remains hushed. But select M Sport trim on the options list and you get a firmer suspension set-up and 18-inch wheels as standard – 19-inch alloys will set you back £670.

On the larger wheels, the ride is firm, but such is the extent of BMW’s options list, there is a cure. For £515, it’s worth speccing the Adaptive M Sport Suspension. It gives a soft ride when you’re taking it easy and a stiffer set-up when tackling twisty stuff.

BMW 420d Gran Coupe 2014 wheel

The Gran Coupe weighs 80kg more than a 3 Series saloon, but you can barely tell. It has the same appetite for corners, superb body control and dynamism, even with four-wheel drive.

Get too liberal with the options and you’ll find that the price of the Gran Coupe soon escalates. However, for those who want style without compromise, it’s a great solution.

Disqus - noscript

Audi must be seriously worrid, this is now the thinking and driving mans coupe of choice, it really does have everything, looks, practicality, refinement, all round driving ability plus low running costs and BMW's solid reliability without the stigma that goes with driving an Audi or Merc..

It's a mistake for them to dilute the clarity of their model range with these confusing and compromised 'jacks of all trades'

bmw solid reliability from a n47? what a joke

I like it, but honestly I can't tell the difference between this and a normal 3 series.

Nice 3 Series Hatchback. £38k A Bit Much for This Car.

But is hard to tell whether it's a 3 series. Worth paying extra for?
A5 sportback looks a bit more modern, and a bit more distinguished.

Not sure of your problem, being as the 3 series is the best of its type on the market and has been for over 20 years with each reincarnation improving on the last.
The new 4 series Gran Coupe seems to offer just about everything most motorists need in a very stylish package beating the A5 in just about every area.
The A5 is now looking a bit long in the tooth, has a very harsh ride, poor ergonomics (hasn't even got a proper floor mounted throttle pedal) and expensive to run, its also about as modern as Ed Miliband (being based on a design from the past).

I have had nine BMW's in a row and all have been 100% reliable, unlike previous cars I've had from other manufacturers (Audi, VW, Honda, Peugeot etc).

So it has taken BMW 5 years to come up with an A5 sport back equivalent, and it still falls short. 38 grand for a 2.0tdi, really?? Not as pretty or stylish as an A5, test drove one to compare to my A5, and it isn't as good to drive despite the hype, and less space in the back. Good but not good enough, especially for the price.

Key specs

  • Price: £37,975
  • Engine: 2.0-litre 4cyl turbo
  • Power: 184bhp
  • Transmission: Eight-speed auto, four-wheel drive
  • 0-62mph: 7.5 seconds
  • Top speed: 142mph
  • Economy/CO2: 56.5mpg/131g/km
  • On sale: Now
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