BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe Review & First Drive

by under Review on 19 Jun 2014 05:58:54 AM19 Jun 2014
2014 BMW 4
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The best of the 4 Series this time with four doors; follows the sporty/elegant looks of the 6 Series


Tall folk may find rear seat headroom a tad tight

In the automotive business, you don’t just walk to the corner ‘Styling Store’ and buy something in the aisle headed “Sporty, Timeless Elegance”. The BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe is a perfect example – this gloriously-styled all-new addition to the 4 Series range takes cues from generations of gloriously-styled BMW gran coupes and coupes which stretch back for decades really.

2014 BMW 4

Addition of the extra doors (frameless of course) and the stretched roofline enables the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe to provide family-friendly convenience beyond its two-door-siblings. We don’t think it’s ‘stretching things’ (too obvious…sorry about that) to say that of the current range, the Gran Coupe is the BMW 4 Series we’d buy – sure there’s the extra space but the enhanced look delivers better curb-appeal in our eyes.
Not that BMW is done with the ‘4’ just yet. In fact we get our first drive of the M4 Coupe in New Zealand in a couple of weeks and the M4 Convertible arrives later this year.
In a full calendar year, BMW reckons the 4 Series Gran Coupe will match the sales of the two-door models. Yep, no doubt this is a significant car for BMW…one that, as you’d expect, comes from the ‘glamour’ end of the styling department.

BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe Overview

Just like the regular 4 Series Coupe range, BMW has launched the Gran Coupe in the familiar 420i, 420d, 428i and 435i nomenclature. As usual, the 435i comes fully-loaded with adaptive M suspension and standard M Sport pack, while the others come in standard in either ‘Sport Line’, ‘Modern Line’ or ‘Luxury Line’ guise.

2014 BMW 4

The lineup is:
420i $70,000
420d $72,300
428i $81,000
435i $109,000
At the national media launch BMW Australia staged in Melbourne we got to sample the 428i and 435i.

BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe Engine

Powertrains are identical across the BMW 4 Series all-turbocharged lineup. And all drive via the wonderful eight-speed automatic transmission.
Diesel power for the 420d comes from the 135kW/380Nm 2.0-litre turbo-diesel.
Entry-level 420i employs the 135kW/270Nm 2.0-litre petrol engine.
Next-up the 428i gets along thanks to its 180kW/350Nm 2.0-litre petrol engine.
And of course at the top of the totem pole (for now) is the 435i with its 225kW/400Nm 3.0-litre six-cylinder petrol engine.


BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe The Interior

Inside the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe mirrors the regular coupe versions. That means the usual BMW excellence – but with a new, modern look.

2014 BMW 4

You immediately notice the new-design three-spoke, leather-wrapped steering wheel (nicely sporty of course) and new-design front seats (perfectly shaped of course). Centre console sees the new-design iDrive Touch Controller with touch-sensitive top surface.
Behind and easily accessed thanks to those wide-opening (but not overly deep) doors, the three-seat rear seat is best-shaped for two but is gorgeously shaped and supportive.

2014 BMW 4

On start-up you notice the new instrumentation and updated navigation.
Of course extra luggage capacity was a crucial consideration and the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe delivers major-league over the coupe and convertible models with firstly a 40:20:40 split-fold rear seat and also 480-litres of volume when that seat is in-place and up to 1,300-litres when completely folded.


BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe Exterior & Styling

Following the lead of the 6 Series Gran Coupe (without doubt one of the most beautiful cars of the current era), the latest Gran Coupe brings to the BMW 4 Series range a ‘four-door coupe’ look with frameless side doors and a stylish rear hatchback. So, there’s the longer roofline (extended by 112mm over the regular 4 Series Coupe) which is also 12mm higher.

2014 BMW 4

And at the rear the hatchback is cleverly concealed but nevertheless beautifully functional with electronic operation (remote via an under-bumper soccer kick on 435i). When closed, the hatchback delivers a look for the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe which is virtually identical to a regular boot. 
In other dimensions (width, overall length and wheelbase length) the 4 Series Gran Coupe is in fact identical to its door-door coupe sibling (length 4.638mm, width 1,825mm and wheelbase 2,810mm). Tracks are identical too at 1,545mm front and 1,594mm rear.
So that means the same powerful, athletic look which greeted us when we first laid-eyes on the 4 Series – iconic kidney grille and dual round headlight clusters, bold side ‘swage’ lines, third window with hallmark ‘Hofmeister’ kink and the new ‘Air Curtains’ venting system around the front wheels.
Depending on the model, the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe rides on either 18-inch or 19-inch alloy wheels. 

BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe On The Road

BMW staff must have been getting nervous in the days leading to the 4 Series Gran Coupe media preview with extensive rain over the mountainous drive route to the Yarra Valley and north-east of Melbourne. We test cars up there all of the time and the roads haven’t been this damp and dirty since last winter.

2014 BMW 4

So one wet and littered corner did see us winding-on plenty of opposite lock and testing the traction control as we found the limit of a 428i in the conditions (it was excellent). No 420s for us to drive, but the BMW 428i Gran Coupe and 435i Gran Coupe are both cars performance drivers will lap-up.
Of course the 435i got our best votes thanks to its standard Adaptive M suspension and M Sport package (which includes 19-inch alloy wheels). But the 428i too was a delight likewise highlighted by its flat cornering stance, pointiness and balance.

2014 BMW 4

 And we just don’t get this criticism by others of BMW’s electromechanical power steering. These were the fourth or fifth individual 4 Series models we’ve punted over these familiar roads and, to the contrary, we love the feel and precision of the steering.

BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe Issues

We shared our BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe test cars with a colleague from one of the mags. We were both comfortable in the back seat but he was never going to play up-front for his beloved Geelong Cats and your correspondent was never going to part for the front row for our beloved Cronulla Sharks.


BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe Verdict

As we said at the outset, this is the BMW 4 series we’d buy purely because it looks so damn sexy and adds family practicality too. And we’d buy the 435i because of that 225kW/400Nm turbocharged six-cylinder under the bonnet (no surprise there).

2014 BMW 4

We like the extra refinement the 4 Series has brought to BMW chassis dynamics (M models excluded of course). That extra track width, stiffer body and new five-link rear-end all combine to deliver a combination of suppleness and sportiness you just don’t get with the 3 Series.
BMW being BMW the technology is a given (tick the box labelled ‘State-Of-The-Art’). And really the $70,000 - $109,000 price range again shows new car buyers continue to be the winners in this on-going battle between the German superbrands in Australia.
Yep, BMW has nailed it…again.


BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe The Competition

The natural rival for BMW’s 4 Series Gran Coupe is the Audi A5 Sportback. As usual with Audi, the range is massive – starting with the front-drive 1.8 TFSI at $67,190 and stretching to the $119,000 S5. The all-wheel-drive models are ace to drive (of course) and Audi’s style inside and out is these days a match for anything from Germany.

2014 BMW 4

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