The BMW 4-series Gran Coupe is fantastic. But exactly what kind of car is it again?
Base price: $127,900.
Powertrain and performance: 3.0-litre twin-turbo straight six, 225kW/400Nm, 8-speed automatic, rear-drive, Combined economy 7.5 litres per 100km, 0-100km/h 5.2 seconds.
Vital statistics: 4638mm long, 1389mm high, 2810mm wheelbase, luggage capacity 480-1300 litres, fuel tank 60 litres, 19-inch alloy wheels.
We like: High style, stunning dynamics, relative practicality.
We don’t like: Adds more confusion to BMW range, footroom tight in back.
How it rates: 9/10
WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW? You could be forgiven for thinking that BMW sets out to confuse buyers with its multitude of niche model variants and strange badging systems.
Especially with the new 435i Gran Coupe, whose model number tells you nothing about the engine (it’s actually a twin-turbo 3.0-litre) and which isn’t really a coupe, because it has five doors in a liftback configuration.
So for the record, the 435i (there’s also a 428i) Gran Coupe is a blend of 3-series sedan/wagon and 4-series coupe, which are all based around the same architecture anyway. It has the low-slung styling and cabin-design cues of the 4-series two-door, but with proper rear access, like a 3-series.
WHAT’S IT LIKE TO DRIVE? It’s an absolute rocket and gives away nothing discernable in real-world performance and handling to the 435i two-door.
The powertrain is identical between the two, although interestingly the suspension is not. Even though the weight and weight-distribution is similar between two and four-door, BMW still calibrates the suspension slightly differently in the Gran Coupe to ensure the same brilliantly balanced handling.
It’s certainly still a car for the purist. The performance is seamless and the handling utterly engaging, but this rear-drive machine can busy at times.
It’s not a set-and-forget cruiser – you have to really enjoy your driving to get the benefit of the 435i. If you do, it’s a virtuoso machine.
IS IT EASY TO LIVE WITH? The interior architecture is virtually identical to the 4-series two-door, so we won’t get bogged down in that. Suffice to say you sit low, surrounded by a driver-centric dashboard layout and some marvelously tactile switchgear.
But what about your passengers?
The Gran Coupe shape doesn’t entail as much compromise in practicality as you might think. A 4-series naturally has a bit less legroom than a 3-series, because the seats are set lower and are more reclined. Footspace for rear occupants under the front seats is a bit limited as well.
But the Gran Coupe does provide good accommodation for four adults within that sleek profile. BMW calls it a ‘4+1’ because the rear seats are sculpted to look like two individual chairs, but in fact there is space and a seatbelt for an occasional fifth.
The boot is the same as a 3-series sedan and in fact more practical because you can fold down the rear seats to liberate 1300 litres of loadspace and have the ability to carry longer items.
SHOULD I BUY ONE? If you value high style, you could easily argue the Gran Coupe is the most desirable member of the 3/4-series family. Looks are a matter of taste, but to us the Gran Coupe looks even more sexy than the 4-series two-door and is a whole lot more practical. That’s quite a combination.
Given its size, the $127,900 435i Gran Coupe is an expensive car. But it’s only $1000 more than the two-door equivalent. More to point, the stunning styling and rapid performance go a long way towards justifying it.
- Air conditioning: Dual climate
- Audio: CD, iPod compatible
- Automatic lights/wipers: Yes/yes
- Bluetooth: Yes
- Cruise control: Yes
- Driver footrest: Yes
- Gas discharge headlights: Adaptive LED
- Head-up display: Yes
- Heated/ventilated seats: Yes/No
- Keyless entry/start: Yes/Yes
- Lane guidance: Yes
- Leather upholstery: Yes
- Parking radar: Yes with camera
- Power boot or tailgate: Yes
- Power seat adjustment/memory: Yes
- Rear ventilation outlets: Yes
- Remote audio controls: Yes
- Satellite navigation: Yes
- Seat height adjustment: Yes
- Self-parking technology: No
- Split/folding rear seats: 40/20/40
- Steering reach adjustment: Yes
- Stop-start: Yes
- Trip computer: Yes
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