Just like a well stocked golf bag with a club for every shot, BMW now seems to offer a version of its 3 Series to meet every motoring whim.
The latest is the new 4 Series Gran Coupe, which the brand claims “offers the functionality of a saloon car with the silhouette of a coupe”. So if you want something more practical than a two-door 4 Series Coupe and think that a 3 Series saloon doesn’t stand out enough in the golf club car park, or you want hatchback functionality, but don’t need the space of a 3 Series Gran Turismo, then the 4 Series Gran Coupe might just be the car for you.
However, BMW has come to the stylised four-door coupe sector a bit late. Audi’s A5 Sportback is well established as the class benchmark and although it’s now five years old it’s still a stylish and well rounded contender. So which of this pair will drive to victory?
Read the full reviews by clicking the links above, and find out the winner of this test by scrolling down...
The 480-litre boot volume of the cars in this test is identical to the A4 and 3 Series saloons. However, the coupes’ wider hatch openings make it easier to load bulky items.
The 4 Series comes with a powered tailgate as standard, and can also be ordered with the optional smart-opener feature. This opens the boot when you sweep your foot under sensors mounted beneath the rear bumper, with the keyless fob in your pocket.
Coupe styling is defined by the sweeping roofline, and in profile these models have very similar stances on the road. The BMW’s roof is just 2mm lower than the Audi’s. Yet both cars’ hatchback tailgates have been neatly incorporated into the overall design and flow of the roof line.
BMW charges £1,550 for its smooth eight-speed auto, which lowers CO2 to 127g/km. The front-wheel-drive Sportback is offered with Audi’s multitronic CVT box for £1,480. Quattro versions can be ordered with the better resolved S tronic dual-clutch transmission.
Unlike some niche models, the 4 Series Gran Coupe blends a really appealing mix of ingredients. It has the low running costs, engaging chassis, comfort, refinement and build quality of the class-leading 3 Series, plus it gives you the style of the 4 Series Coupe without compromising practicality. However, we’d go for the standard rear-wheel-drive version over the xDrive to curb running costs even further.
The Audi A5 has been the king of the executive coupe sector for a long time, but it’s beginning to show its age. It’s not as good to drive as the Gran Coupe, nor as smart inside, and it’s arguably not as stylish. However, the margins between these two are small, and the A5 Sportback remains an attractive proposition for those wanting a classy and more versatile alternative to a compact saloon.
|BMW 420d Gran Coupé xDrive SE||Audi A5 Sportback 2.0 TDI 177 SE Technik|
|On-the-road price/total as tested||£33,295/£40,260||£32,170/£36,930|
|Residual value (after 3yrs/30,000)||£16,448/49.4%||£15,538/48.3%|
|Annual tax liability std/higher rate||£1,396/£2,792||£1,285/£2,599|
|Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles)||£1,713/£2,856||£1,850/£3,084|
|Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost||29/£555/D/£105||28/£495/C/£30|
|Servicing costs||£425 (5yrs)||£22pcm (3yrs)|
|Engine||4cyl in-line/1,995cc||4cyl in-line/1,968cc|
|Peak power||181/4,000 bhp/rpm||175/4,200 bhp/rpm|
|Peak torque||380/1,750 Nm/rpm||380/1,750 Nm/rpm|
|Transmission||6-spd man/4wd||6-spd man/fwd|
|Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel||57 litres/run flat||63 litres/space saver|
|Boot capacity (seats up/down)||480/1,300 litres||480/980 litres|
|Turning circle/drag coefficient||11.3 metres/0.28Cd||11.5 metres/0.29Cd|
|Basic warranty (miles)/recovery||3yrs (unltd)/3yrs||3yrs (60,000)/3yrs|
|Service intervals/UK dealers||Variable/153||Variable/121|
|Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos.||10th/22nd||12th/26th|
|Euro NCAP: Adult/child/ped./stars||N/A||N/A|
|0-60/30-70mph||8.1/7.6 secs||8.5/7.2 secs|
|30-50mph in 3rd/4th||3.6/6.2 secs||3.4/5.3 secs|
|50-70mph in 5th/6th||6.9/10.2 secs||6.3/9.1 secs|
|Top speed/rpm at 70mph||147mph/2,000rpm||142mph/2,000rpm|
|Noise levels outside/idle/30/70mph||67/47/61/68dB||66/48/63/69dB|
|Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range||43.3/9.6/543 miles||40.1/8.9/556 miles|
|Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket||175/129g/km/21%||189/120g/km/20%|
|Airbags/Isofix/rear parking sensors||Six/yes/yes||Six/yes/yes|
|Automatic box/stability/cruise ctrl||£945/yes/yes||£765/yes/yes|
|Climate ctrl/leather/heated seats||£645/yes/yes||£615/yes/yes|
|Met paint/xenon lights/keyless go||£170/yes||Yes/yes|