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BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe 2017 - First Drive
BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe 2017 - First Drive
BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe 2017 - First Drive
BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe 2017 - First Drive
BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe 2017 - First Drive
BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe 2017 - First Drive
BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe 2017 - First Drive
BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe 2017 - First Drive
BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe 2017 - First Drive

BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe 2017 - First Drive

Ian Donaldson, 2017-05-12

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SO you've climbed the ladder to a senior management position in the company and you'd like to turn up at the office in something a bit smart.

A svelte two-door coupe would fit the bill nicely, its seeming lack of practicality hinting that this car is just one of several available in the garage at home in a leafy suburb somewhere.

But the firm - spoilsports - won't let you have that few doors on your company hack.

It's four doors minimum, in case you have to transport a sales prospect to lunch without demanding acrobatic skills to access the rear. Less likely to sign on the dotted line after that.

All is not lost, however, in the desire to match style with a dash of practicality.

One way round your dilemma might be the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe, a car you can fairly call a four-door coupe.

It's part of a modestly revised range of 4 Series Coupe, Convertible and Gran Coupe that has proved a hit with buyers looking for something that lifts them above all the 3 Series BMWs that perform a more utilitarian role for the company.

And of the three 4 Series shapes, the Gran Coupe is much the biggest seller globally, matching the numbers of Coupe and Convertible combined. We Brits love the whole 4 Series concept and only the States buys more of them than us.

You'd have to line new against old - and look quite hard - to spot the differences in the 2017 models. Apart from powerful LED headlights across the range (and LEDs at the rear too) there's a bigger radiator grille and glossy black bar at the front and new look lights behind.

Inside, you'll discover similarly modest revisions, with metallic looking surrounds to air vents, classy double stitching over the instrument panel and glossy black cover panel on the centre console.

Never ones to hang back on the options front, BMW also tempts with more options for the leather trim (Ivory White included, if you insist), exterior paintwork (turquoise or orange, ditto) and there are more alloy wheels to choose from.

Changes to bits you can't see include stiffer suspension and sharper steering, the former changed without affecting the way the car rides, insists BMW.

The new 4 Series starts at £32,580 for a 420i Coupe or Gran Coupe (420i Cabriolet £37,630). That buys you a car with a 2.0-litre 181bhp petrol engine and up to a claimed 48.7mpg.

Most of the 4 Series range can be had with BMW's xDrive all-wheel-drive system which will give a driver confidence when the road turns wintry, without softening the classic rear wheel drive appeal that BMW plays on so strongly.

The 2.0-litre diesel engine is much the biggest seller in the range and it's not hard to see why, with the 186bhp Gran Coupe version (£33,555) nicely balancing performance (149mph 7.5 seconds to 62mph) against an official 67.3mpg and modest 111g/km emissions rating.

And it will share all the attributes of the Gran Coupe range, including a huge boot and rear seats that offer proper adult-sized space, although getting to them under a plunging roof line will challenge the more portly passenger.

If you're really impressed the company board you might try for a Gran Coupe with the most powerful diesel on offer in the shape of the 155mph £46,550 435d xDrive, which sprints to 62mph in 4.8 seconds and feels every bit that brisk on the road.

Its eight-speed automatic gearbox helped make light of dawdling traffic on the Cotswolds' test route, while the newly sharpened suspension hardly complained when confronted with a typically unmaintained British main road.

Switch the dash display to sport in the £295 digital cockpit option on board and your speed is displayed in large red numbers, all the better for keeping the right side of the newly toughened road traffic law.

Showing some restraint (but not too much), the test car recorded 43.6mpg on its trip computer, showing that if you've got the funds there is every reason to go big under the bonnet.

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