If you’re unwilling to compromise on style or practicality, the new BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe hits all the right notes. Driven here in 418d form, it is the most efficient Gran Coupé and aimed primarily at company car buyers.
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.
The extra cash the Gran Coupe demands over a standard 3 Series gets you a full leather interior, front and rear parking sensors, dual-zone climate control, a digital radio and a 6.5-inch colour screen, all as standard.
Putting the cost aside, there is almost nothing to separate the Gran Coupe from the 3 Series or a standard 4 Series for that matter. That’s no bad thing, with a supple ride, communicative steering and faultless body control its prominent traits.
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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.
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The £1,690 optional XDrive four-wheel drive 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 in the 420d 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.
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There can be a lack of performance in the 418d model, as it aims to keep running costs to a minimum in order to keep company car tax bands as low as possible. Over 61mpg and 119g/km will keep your tax bill down, but if you’re not dictated by running costs, it’s well worth forking out the extra £800 for the more potent 420d.
An additional 40bhp is served up without having any major impact on efficiency. Yet, critically for company car buyers, the higher 124g/km of the 420d does mean it jumps a tax band.
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.