2014 BMW 4-series Gran Coupe review – Telegraph.co.uk

Posted: Thursday, May 29, 2014

“Indeed.”

“BMW, I see. What one did you go for?”

“A 4-series Gran Coupe.”

“And what’s one of those when it’s at home?”

“Well obviously it’s a five-door version of the 4-series two door coupé and
convertible that are themselves two door versions of a four-door 3-series
saloon and five-door Touring and GT, not to be confused with the new
four-door M3 and two-door M4, although it’s almost certainly a prelude to a
five-door M4 Gran Coupé.”

“I see, Barry. Well, as long as you’re happy.”


The 4-series Gran Coupe shares its dash layout with the 4-series coupe

For now, the engine range is identical to that of the 4-series coupe, with
four-cylinder petrol and diesel models, along with a couple of six-cylinder
flagships. But machine such as this are catnip to fleet buyers and so the
bulk will be fitted with the ubiquitous 2.0-litre diesel – which inevitably
meant the only model available to test at launch was the petrol-powered
428i.

This light yet powerful turbocharged engine is doing the rounds in everything
from the 5-series executive saloon to the Z4 sports car and, aside from a
slightly anodyne soundtrack for a purportedly sporty engine, it’s a fine
thing. With enough mid-range torque from the turbocharger to make it feel
game, plus a reasonably strong top end, it makes for a swift car (0-62mph is
dispatched in 6sec), especially if you splash out on BMW’s sublime
eight-speed automatic gearbox.


The boot of the 4-series Gran Coupe is the same size as that of the
3-series

Being based on the same wheelbase as the 4-series coupé (the only real
difference is that the roofline has been extended, plus the two frameless
rear doors added), it also steers and handles beautifully, with a fine
balance and a playful nature. There are few other cars that can go quite so
convincingly from refined motorway cruiser to
grab-it-by-the-scruff-of-the-neck sports car. And if the ride’s a touch
busy, even with £550’s worth of Variable Damper Control fitted, it’s by no
means a disaster.

Of course, you could say all of this about any 3-series-based model. And while
the 4-series is slightly more sporting in its setup, it’s pretty marginal.
Equally, although more expensive than a 3-series, the 4-series is also
better equipped, with even entry-level SE cars getting trinkets such as an
automatic tailgate, dual-zone climate control and heated seats as standard.
Don’t get me wrong, you’ll still spend a fortune on options (including
four-wheel drive if you want it), but hey, you’re buying a BMW, what did you
expect?


Rear-seat accomodation is improved compared with the coupe, but headroom
is still a bit tight

Which means the choice comes down to your preferred bodystyle, and the caveat
that if you go for this version it’s not quite as easy to get into the back
as the 3-series saloon, nor is there quite as much headroom once you’re
there. The boot capacity is identical though (as well as 35 litres larger
than the 4-series coupé), as well as more useful on account of the hatchback
opening.

Personally, I think this Gran Coupé a rather handsome beast, as well as
different enough to seem that bit more exclusive. In terms of being all
things to all men – green-fingered father-in-laws included – it’s possibly
the best BMW of the lot.

THE FACTS

BMW 428i M-sport

Tested: 1,997cc four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine, 8-spd
automatic transmission, rear-wheel drive

Price/on sale: Range from £29,420/June 21

Power/torque: 245hp @ 5,000rpm/280lb ft @ 1,250rpm

Top speed: 155mph

Acceleration: 0-62mph in 6.0sec

Fuel economy: 42.8mpg (EU Combined)

CO2 emissions: 147g/km

VED band: F (£145)

Verdict: You’ll want a diesel engine, but otherwise this is a
surprisingly desirable if utterly confusing edition to the 4-series line-up
with great handling and a usefully more spacious cabin than the equivalent
coupé

Telegraph rating: Four out of five stars

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