BMW describes the new 4 Series Gran Coupé as follows; “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” – that pretty much describes the car in a nutshell. There aren’t many (any?) people that would put the picture of a 4-door vehicle up on their wall to drool over, but a supercar or a coupe…that’s a different story. BMW are providing the beautifully designed coupe worth drooling over, but adding 3 more doors for practical purposes… for people that WANT a coupe, but NEED a 4-door sedan/hatchback…the Gran Coupé… not to be confused with the 3 Series Grand Turismo (GT) which is exactly the same, but different.
Back in 2010 we drove the 550i Gran Turismo and came away thoroughly impressed by every aspect of the car – especially its size compared the regular 5-series sedan – it felt more like a 7-series than a 5. This week we’re driving the new 2017 340i Gran Turismo and just like the 550i – it’s way bigger than the series size that it represents, so think of it more as a sportier 5-series than a 3-series. It’s interesting to note that the majority of BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo customers are new to the brand – so BMW is obviously doing something right and striking a chord with the buying public.
When the BMW X6 first came out it was crucified by the majority of auto journalists’ as an abomination, whereas I absolutely loved it. Fast forward several years and now there’s several CUV/SUV’s that look an awful lot like the X6 (a very similar thing happened with the BMW GT as well)… take a bow BMW – setting the trend that gets copied several years later by other manufactures.
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…
My favourite BMW has always been the 5 Series – for some reason the designers get it PERFECT every time it’s re-designed. I also think it’s the perfect size of car with the 3-series being a little snug and the 7-series being just a little bit too big – especially when driving around the smaller towns and cities in Europe. On our last trip to Germany there were three adults, so the 3 Series would never cut it size-wise and with two of us being women… you know the car had to be more than a little accommodating for luggage. I hadn’t driven the newly re-designed in 2011 BMW 5 Series, so this was the perfect opportunity to grab one for our two-week working vacation. Obviously the sedan wasn’t big enough, so I booked a wagon – or Touring.
With another April Fools day in the record books, it’s time to review what kind of pranks the automakers have been getting up to. It’s funny to see the extremes they’ll go to just to prove they actually have a sense of humour. Here are our favourites from this year. First up, the runner up for the best 2013 April Fool’s prank by an Automaker… BWM P.R.A.M. With a royal baby due this summer, BMW proudly announced the launch of the limited edition BMW P.R.A.M. (Postnatal Royal Auto Mobile). Available in Princess Pink or Royal Blue. The soft-top convertible has been designed using our EfficientDynamics technology. With two or four-wheel-drive, it rides as smoothly on a polo field as it does down The Mall and comes with air conditioning and built-in extendable flagpoles as standard. For those who are ‘too posh to push’ this masterpiece of motherhood even comes fitted with N.A.P.P.I.E. (Nanny-Assisting Petrol-Powered Injection Engine).
Automobile magazine is reporting that BMW will be introducing a new 328d wagon this year, and claims it will even come with xDrive all-wheel drive in addition to the 328d sedan. The new 3 Series diesel models are expected to enter production in July, which means we’ll get them as a 2014 model year. So what kind of numbers is this new 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine got to offer us? It’s expected to deliver 180 hp and 280 lb/ft of torque. Reportedly diesel fans in the U.S. can get even more grunt with the optional brand-new 3.0 litre turbo-diesel six-cylinder engine in either the 5 Series or the redesigned X5 SUV that will deliver around 255 hp and 413 lb/ft of torque. Copyright © 2013 by Iain Shankland. All rights reserved.
BMW are going into a whole new territory with the all-new 5 Series Gran Turismo. Instead of the familiar 4-door sedan, they are combining it with a genuine rear hatch to make it a 5-door luxury sedan. This may not seem too out of place in Europe, but in North America hatchbacks are never popular – something I just can’t fathom for the life of me. That said, the Gran Turismo also offers a more traditional trunk/boot opening in addition to the full-size hatch – I don’t know how well it will go over, but I think BMW are on to something here – it works superbly.
This week’s road test is actually a holiday test… we spent a week in Germany and what better vehicle could there be to drive around in than a BMW? The road test and the holiday are so intertwined it’s hard to tell where one ends and the other begins…. there’s also a motor racing aspect thrown in for good measure. Landing at Munich airport, we took a train and then a bus to get to our first destination – BMW. When I first contacted BMW in Canada I requested a vehicle that we don’t get in North America. It just so happens that the very car I requested was actually going to be coming over here around the same time I was going to Germany. For Europeans and basically the rest of the world, diesel engines in cars are quite commonplace, but for some strange reason, we’re deprived of them in Canada and America.
When BMW decided it was time to re-design the X5, I wondered – “How can you improve on perfection?” After-all the X5 was without a doubt THE best-looking SUV available at any price. When I saw the all-new 2008 version I got my answer: It’s even more perfect. The competition upped the ante a year or so ago – the Mercedes-Benz M-Class looks fantastic now that it’s been redesigned – no longer a minivan lookalike – but a very fine SUV. Lexus redesigned all of their SUV’s but sexy is not a word I’d use to describe them. The Range Rover Sport looks the part, but BMW has managed to put their SUV back on the top.