First came the BMW 4 Series Coupé and Convertible, and then the Gran Coupé – for those that wanted more than two doors and didn’t want a 3-series sedan (!?)… or GT.
Hmm that doesn’t make sense, but here we are.
According to BMW the “4 Series Gran Coupé combines the sleek look of a two-door coupé with the functionality provided by four-doors and expansive spaciousness, including a wide-access luggage compartment.” To you and I that means – it’s a 4-door hatchback. I know I’m getting old, but it don’t look like a 2-door coupe to me – it looks like a 4-door sedan with a bonus huge rear hatch that looks like a trunk not a hatch.
This raises some serious questions – most notably – WHY does this vehicle exist? Time for me to investigate. So off to Germany we went – to the home of high-speed autobahns… Time to see just what this thing is all about…
What Is It?
• Premium Mid-size luxury sedan
• It’s the sedan version of the coupe version of the sedan…or a 2-door coupe with an extra 3 doors!
• It has exactly the same dimensions as the two-door coupé, but the roof is 12 millimetres higher, 112 mm longer and gently stretched allowing it to flow smoothly into the rear quarter panels and boot lid. So it’s a sedan then?
• The boot volume of 480 litres is 35 litres larger than that of the two-door version
• According to BMW it is: BMW’s first four-door coupe in the premium mid-range class is truly exceptional in its segment.
• Continuing with the Press Release: “When compared with a two-door coupé, the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupé offers passengers easier access when entering or leaving the vehicle thanks to the four-door configuration.” By definition, that makes it a sedan – no?
• BMW’s goal is to make the 4 Series Gran Coupe an exclusive vehicle with many unique elements. For example: the BMW Individual colours available for the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe guarantee a lustrous appearance with an intensive visual depth. A special pigmentation ensures a complex play of colours. Depending on light conditions and perspective, various different nuances are created. Also available is a matt-finish paint that is very popular in Germany right now.
How Does It Look?
• To these eyes and everyone that took the time to look at it – beautiful.
• The pictures do not do this car justice – I think it’s the best looking BMW.. ever
• It looks like a sports sedan, but you get the added bonus of a large rear hatch making it very handy for loading/unloading the car. It doesn’t look like a 5-door
What’s It Like Inside?
• One word.. Perfection.
• Driver’s position is perfect. Set the seat once and it’s good to go for a week of spirited driving. There are three memory seat positions too.
• Everything falls to the hands exactly as a driver needs it.
• Help from the front passenger is very convenient too – so you can concentrate on driving, leaving the mundane stuff to the co-pilot.
• Bonus: The SatNav allows the passenger to re-set/programme it while on the go!
• The Heads-Up Display is outstanding – superior to anything I’ve encountered to date. Information for the driver is first-rate with turn directions being extremely accurate. There’s a bar that shrinks to let you know you’re getting close as well as declining numbers.
• The anthracite roof lining in the test vehicle was black, which would sound like an odd combination, but was in fact a perfect complement to the Cashmere Beige leather. The black material also covered the A, B and C pillars, making it quite unique not only to look at, but also it removed any distraction and actually improved visibility – I didn’t realize how much of a difference it made until I got into another car after driving the 428i for a week.
According to the Manufacturer ….
• Interior 4 Series Gran Coupe unique elements: Exquisite raw materials and meticulous processing guarantee the outstanding quality of the soft, fine-grain leather surfaces for the seats, the door panels and the armrests. Individual leather trim (that also includes the dashboard!) is available in Golden Brown, Cashmere Beige, Nutmeg, Opal White and Black. But wait… there’s more –
• BMW offers you a choice of 3 Individual interior trims for a perfect combination with the selected leather colours. You can choose from Individual Piano Black; Individual Plane Dark Red-Brown and Ash Grain White, each of them being complemented by an accentuating trim in Pearl Gloss Chrome, Individual anthracite roof lining and the BMW Individual steering wheel clad with finest soft leather are also available for the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe
So How Quick Is It & How Does It Handle?
• Very quick, especially after pushing the ‘Sport Mode” button
• Shifts change from 2,500 – 4,000 rpm
• Gas pedal immediately feels more responsive and instantaneous
• Steering input is by far the best I’ve ever encountered. Perfectly weighted and lock-to-lock is only about one full turn of the wheel.
• I had to do a U-turn and was amazed at how little I had to turn the wheel to get the car pointed in the right direction
• Maximum speed is 233 kph…challenge accepted… and met.
Noteworthy Standard Features
• Rearview Camera
• HID Headlamps move, LED tail lamps
• Smart key w/Push button start
• Heated Front & Rear seats
• FOB has one button to close the rear hatch, another to lock the entire vehicle – very handy
• Rear door can be opened or closed with the movement of a foot. WARNING if you shuffle to the side as you’re loading the trunk, the lid will come down and bash you on the head! I got a nasty bump and bruise from it.
Optional Equipment on the test vehicle:
Navigation System Professional, the full-colour BMW Head-Up Display, Driving Assistant, the glare-free High Beam Assistant, Active Protection and Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go function
What Does It Cost?
The BMW 428i Gran Coupé was equipped with a 4-cylinder TwinPower Turbo engine mated to an 8-speed Steptronic transmission with paddle-shifters that delivers 241hp @ 5-6,5000rpm, and 258 lb.ft of Torque @ 1,450-4,800 rpm
0 – 60 mph – 6.0 seconds
Base Price: $44,900
+ Performance Package ($1,900) + BMW ConnectedDrive ($500) + Premium Package ($4,600) + Executive Package ($2,200) + Driver Assistance Package ($1,700) = $10,900
+ Destination/Delivery: $2,095 + miscellaneous gouge and screw government add-ons: $723
Total: $58,618 (plus taxes)
• Fuel economy was expected and typical of BMW – very good
• For the entire week I averaged 8 L/100 km. Highway driving at speeds of 120-220 km/h
• Fuel economy is rated at: urban 8.9 / extra-urban 5.3 / combined 6.6 L/100 km
Audi A5 Sportback, BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
• Everything from the soft leather, phenomenal audio system, superb SatNav makes this THE BMW to purchase/lease
• Unfortunately, I’ll never be able to afford one
What’s The Verdict?
I don’t care how BMW want to promote this car, but one thing is for sure… it’s AWESOME.
I Couldn’t figure why this was ever designed and built, after-all there’s a 3-series and a 5-series sedan – the 4-series is supposed to be a coupe. It doesn’t make logical sense as to why it should exist. Doesn’t matter, because for me it is the perfect car – no matter what BMW want to call it! Even the price with all the typical extras tacked on – isn’t bad for a vehicle this good.
Copyright © 2015 by Iain Shankland. All rights reserved.
Text: Iain Shankland / Images: Iain Shankland & BMW