BMW has expanded on its 4 Series model offering with the introduction of the Gran Coupe model. It now completes the line-up and joins the two-door coupe, convertible and M4 which is now offered as an open-top as well.
The previous model didn’t look all that different from the 3 Series on which it was based, however this new model offers enough differentiation which, in my opinion, has completely changed the character of the overall offering. Let me elaborate.
The latest G26 4 Series Gran Coupe shares the same design as its two door sibling. While some of you reading this might still be holding back your lunch just looking at it, I have come to like the design and especially on this Gran Coupe model. In fact I am of the opinion that the Gran Coupe is the best execution of the design within the entire 4 Series family, M4 included.
I do like the front of the car, the large grilles compliment the large side vents on the far side of the bumper, it’s a sporty yet elegant design. The side profile is by far my favourite angle as one can really appreciate that sloping roofline as well as the vent design element that runs along the lower edges just behind the front wheels. The rear makes use of the same longitudinal tail lights as found on the coupe model. It is also worth mentioning that all 4 Series Gran Coupe models will be offered with the M-Sport kit which gives it that eye-catching visual appeal from every angle.
The interior is not as flamboyant as the exterior. That however does not detract from the fact that it is a well put together and ergonomically impressive interior. I particularly like the technology on offer. Features such as wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are on offer as is a digital instrument cluster which, depending on driving mode changes its visual appearance. In all honesty the facia is not different to that of the 3 Series, however there are some other interior differentiation factors. The luggage compartment for example.
The Gran Coupe offers around 30-litres more than its two-door sibling. That is because it is 15mm longer than the coupe, 59mm taller, and has a wheelbase that is 5mm longer. It is also able to seat five passengers in relative comfort. When you compare it to a 3 Series the Gran Coupe is 74mm longer, 25mm wider, has a 5mm longer wheelbase, however the 3 Series still offers 10-litres more, at 480-litres. Fold the rear seats down in the Gran Coupe however and luggage space increases to around 1 290-litres.
Loading the luggage area is the car’s real party piece. The rear hatch opens up wide enough which allows for easy loading of large items, ideal for those who want to hit the long road with ease.
That brings me onto the next point, hitting the long road. BMW South Africa will be offering three different models, these comprise of the 420i, 420d and the M440i. The latter is fitted with xDrive, BMW’s all-wheel drive system. All cars feature an 8-speed automatic.
I started my day in the 420i which makes use of a turbocharged four-cylinder motor that develops 135kW and 300Nm of torque. BMW claims an average combined fuel consumption of 6,5l/100km.While the 420i is not going to set your pants on fire, it does offer a very compliant ride quality. I piloted the car through a section of twists and turns and while the road surface was not ideal the car returned a somewhat engaging driving experience.
The 420d on the other hand, while its chassis is equally as good, tends to lean more towards an open-road cruiser. Its 2.0-litre turbo diesel develops 140kW and 400Nm. BMW reckons it will consume around 4,9l/100km. It is no slouch thanks to its torque figure but it just feels best suited to obliterate those long highway kilometres.
Finally we have the M440i, a straight six, turbocharged conqueror of tarmac. It develops 285kW and 500Nm of torque. Thankfully this model makes use of xDrive all-wheel drive which provides extra levels of grip. It also develops a relatively good exhaust note. One of the standout elements of this car is its effortless forward propulsion. It’s ability to conquer corners is also impressive and if man-handled will offer a little bit of rear end slide.
It will decimate the 0-100km sprint time in 4.7 seconds. BMW reports that the coupes and convertibles make up approximately 50 percent of 4 Series sales. They are split evenly with a share of 25 percent and 25 percent, while the Gran Coupe accounts for the other 50 percent of the sales figures on the global market, similar figures are mirrored in our local market.
Overall the new BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe left me impressed. It offers something different to the 3 Series, it feels a bit more special. All I wanted to do was drive one of them back to Johannesburg from Durban. It is a car begging for the open road and to be honest, I think it is indeed the diesel that will get you further. — IOL.