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      05-22-2014, 12:03 PM   #1
Jason
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Cool We Sample the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe (Review)

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We Sample the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe
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BMW 4-series Gran Coupe: A beautiful niche

By Jens Meiners, BIMMERPOST Correspondent
May 22, 2014


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BMW's R&D board member Herbert Diess is ecstatic. "It is even more elegant than the coupe," he says of the 4 Series Gran Coupe (Official Thread) on the roof terrace of the Grand Hotel Domine, just across from the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. Exterior chief designer Karim Habib agrees. The latest addition to the F3x architecture was conceived before he returned to BMW after his relatively brief stint at Mercedes-Benz, but he seems thoroughly happy with the work of designer Won Kyu Kang.

Possibly more than any other BMW, the existence of the 4 Series Gran Coupe is justified by aesthetics. It fits into a niche that few would have thought even existed - between the 3-series sedan, whose wheelbase it shares, and the ungainly 3 Series Gran Turismo with its tall roof and longer wheelbase. The 4 Series Gran Coupe has a bit more cargo room than in the 4 Series sedan, and its trunk is accessible through a liftgate. But most importantly, it looks better than both aforementioned models. (It would look nearly perfect without the garish, if supposedly functional "air breathers," and the badge glued to the rear quarter window.)

BMW isn't shy to admit that the Audi A5 Sportback was the inspiration for the 4 Series Gran Coupe. But the Audi - a close relative of the A4 - is not offered on the US market. Mercedes-Benz doesn't even make a hatchback. Here, BMW has a niche of its own, for the time being.

Perhaps that's the reason why BMW doesn't feel compelled to bring a flurry of variations to this market. In Europe, the hatchback is offered as the 420i (2.0-liter four, 181 horsepower), the 428i (2.0-liter four, 240 horsepower), 435i (3.0-i6, 300 horsepower), and with two variations of the 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbodiesel (418d, 141 horsepower; and 420d, 181 horsepower). It's an open secret that a 430d and a 435d will follow. Rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive variations are available, and most of them can be specified with a six-speed manual or the ZF 8HP eight-speed automatic. Not so in the US. Here, the brand has pre-selected the three presumably most popular variations: The 428i with rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive, and the 435i with rear-wheel drive. The slushbox is standard and can't be substituted with a stick.

We were able to sample the 428i in the twisties near Bilbao, fitted with the M Sport package, and painted in Estoril Blue - a classic M color that doesn't quite seem to fit the character of this relatively large hatchback. The numbers are impressive: BMW claims it can reach 60 mph in a mere 5.7 seconds. Unless hampered by all-season tires and the 130 mph governor they require, the 428i Gran Coupe can reach a remarkable 155 mph - which is testament to its superior aerodynamics.

But you wouldn't believe it from behind the wheel. The soundtrack of the N20 engine is nondescript, mid-range performance could be better. The automatic transmission is eager and quick, but it doesn't quite match the ultra-quick shifts of Audi's - or the M3's - dual-clutch box. Switching between the driving modes helps things, but even "Sport Plus" can't turn the four-banger into an inline-six.

But it can help the chassis to dance. "Sport Plus" doesn't switch off the stability control entirely - at all. But it does allow slight drift angles, without scaring anyone. And it helps this relatively large hatchback turn into corners with surprising alacrity. This car proves there is simply no substitute for a rear-wheel drive platform, and it doesn't take a lot of effort to get its tail to rotate into a corner. In lesser driving modes, the BMW doesn't excite, but it is a great high-comfort, long-distance cruiser.

And that's a good thing, as there is ample room both up front and abaft - enough so, possibly, to make buyers of the 5 Series think twice. The rear seats can be folded down, which increases trunk space from 17 to 46 cubic feet. Inside, there are few differences between the 3 Series and the 4 Series; the dashboard is shared, but the door trim is unique to the Gran Coupe.

We were not able to sample what we suspect will be our favorite 4 Series - the 435i. Its turbocharged straight-six supplies the extra bit of performance and sound that will set a BMW apart from the competition. It'll also be the most powerful Gran Coupe; our company sources tell us that we shouldn't hold our breath for an M4 Gran Coupe.

Given that BMW nonchalantly charges a premium of $25,000 to $30,000 for a 6 Series Gran Coupe over a 5 Series, the 4 Series Gran Coupe may be considered a bargain: It comes in at just a few grand over a comparable 3 Series. The 428i Gran Coupe will be sold from $41,225 upwards, with xDrive all-wheel drive as a $2,000 option; the 435i Gran Coupe costs $46,725 (see the 2015 price/order guide). If that seems cheap, rest assured that BMW will offer the usual array of packages and options. For special requests, as always, BMW's "Individual" branch is happy to help out.

BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe Review



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      05-22-2014, 05:12 PM   #2
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Hmmm, can't say if I like it or not.
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      05-22-2014, 05:34 PM   #3
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I like the big boot (trunk)
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      05-22-2014, 05:34 PM   #4
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i like it lots....but it's probably not really a performer in any way....if it's soft like the 335i, then it won't be too interesting....and no MT option makes it a total NO GO in my books.
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      05-22-2014, 05:40 PM   #5
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The whole deal with two-door evens and four-door odds is out the window.
Next thing we know: M5 two door sedan. 4 door M4 Coupe.
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      05-22-2014, 05:42 PM   #6
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No xDrive N55 version, huh. Guess I'm not buying one.
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      05-22-2014, 05:42 PM   #7
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I'd have this over the 335..only let down is the hatch back..if it was a proper gc i'd be all over it.
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      05-22-2014, 05:46 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AKRAPOVICOWNS View Post
I'd have this over the 335..only let down is the hatch back..if it was a proper gc i'd be all over it.
What constitutes a "proper" gran coupe?
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      05-22-2014, 05:49 PM   #9
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I think the hatch back is great. It'll be much easier to fit large objects into the car.

But I still prefer the looks and stance of the 335i M-Sport over this car.
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      05-22-2014, 05:51 PM   #10
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Really surprised there is no sunroof. Would love a full glass sunroof over front and back like the X series. Bummer.

Also, disappointed the lines, options, colors, wheels, etc. all the same across the series. how about some unique features.
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      05-22-2014, 05:55 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WJGreer View Post
No xDrive N55 version, huh. Guess I'm not buying one.
There is but it's coming later this year. It was confirmed during the official launch a few months ago.
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      05-22-2014, 05:59 PM   #12
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Just doesn't make sense. Why buy this rather than a 4 door 3 series? BMW just has far, far too many models.
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      05-22-2014, 06:00 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WJGreer
Quote:
Originally Posted by AKRAPOVICOWNS View Post
I'd have this over the 335..only let down is the hatch back..if it was a proper gc i'd be all over it.
What constitutes a "proper" gran coupe?
Having a "normal" trunk, just like the 6 GC, instead of a hatchback.

But as i said, i'd still have it over the 335 just for the looks and stance.
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      05-22-2014, 06:01 PM   #14
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Quote:
It fits into a niche that few would have thought even existed - between the 3-series sedan, whose wheelbase it shares, and the ungainly 3 Series Gran Turismo with its tall roof and longer wheelbase. The 4 Series Gran Coupe has a bit more cargo room than in the 4 Series sedan
Even bimmerpost is confused by this car.

Whyyyyy didn't BMW make this into a true 4-series Gran Coupe, without the hatch? If they really wanted to make this car, just call it the 4-series Gran Turismo and be done with it. Now we're never going to get a true baby 6GC.
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      05-22-2014, 06:24 PM   #15
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I think I'm falling for this car.

The only gripe I had with my E92 was a gripe I would have with any coupe: taking more than 1 passenger was always a bit of a hassle.

But I couldn't pass up the looks. Didn't even have the E90 on my radar because I loved the look of the E92 so much more.

Now BMW's offering a 4 door with the prettiness of the 4 series... oh baby!!!!!

That sloping roof.

That mean face.

I'm all over this car.
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      05-22-2014, 06:46 PM   #16
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      05-22-2014, 06:52 PM   #17
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No manual? No thanks! Otherwise, I like it- nice lookin car.
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      05-22-2014, 07:36 PM   #18
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Love the hatch, much more practical than the sedan but without turning into a 3GT. If I didn't need to carry bulky stuff though it would be hard to justify over the F30.

Mine docks in less than a week and hopefully less than 2 weeks after that I'll be behind the wheel

Lots of people complaining about the lack of a manual. If there was a business case for a manual, they would have made the 6MT available. There wasn't, so there isn't. (complaining on a forum does not make a business case)

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Porsche macan FTW
I had a Macan S on preorder and cancelled it for the 4GC. Macan is faster and will go offroad, but I neither need to go fast or onroad. So I picked the car that doesn't look like a baked potato.
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      05-22-2014, 07:37 PM   #19
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If the 5 GT looked like this I'd buy one tomorrow. As it is, the boggo 3/4 interior turns me off enough not to buy one.

Looks sharp though
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      05-22-2014, 07:40 PM   #20
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      05-22-2014, 07:42 PM   #21
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isn't this a 3-series GT?
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      05-22-2014, 07:52 PM   #22
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