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.
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.
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.
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.