Coupe style, saloon

car space

BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe, dashboard
BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe, side
BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe, action 1
BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe, front
BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe, rear action
BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe, rear seats
BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe, badge
BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe, action 2
BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe, front

IF you fancy a coupe but might find a mere two doors and small rear seats a problem then BMW offers a solution in the shape of the 4-Series Gran Coupe.

Depending on your thinking, it's either a coupe with a couple of extra doors or a saloon with a more dashing rear end.

Either way, BMW believes it will sell thousands of them to UK buyers delighted at the prospect of coupe(ish) looks in a practical four-door car.

Prices start at £28,500 for a version aimed at the company car driver denied anything with only two doors and BMW has conjured up its usual blitz of versions heading up the price, performance and luxury scale from the 418d's base camp.

All of them (apart from the 418d, which comes only as a Gran Coupe) are priced the same as the equivalent Coupe and come as standard with powered opening and closing of their big boot, with the same carrying capacity as the closely related and big selling 3 Series saloon.

Which makes the Coupe look expensive (minus two doors and that clever boot lid) or the Gran Coupe look a bit of a bargain in BMW terms.

If you fall for the purer lines of the Coupe, you'll no doubt consider it money well spent. BMW expects to sell more Coupes than Gran Coupes, which shows that style wins this one.

Buy a Gran Coupe in favour of a similarly engined 3 Series saloon and you'll pay a £3,000 premium for the standout looks, while losing a little rear head and knee room for the privilege of a swoopy roof line.

What you'll also get is a well equipped car, with 17-inch alloy wheels, leather upholstery, digital radio, cruise control, heated front seats, parking sensors front and rear, climate control and xenon headlights as standard fare, along with the automatic tailgate.

It wouldn't be a BMW without a list of tempting options at the ready, headed perhaps by a £1,890 Professional satellite navigation package with big, clear display replacing the smaller screen (and no navigation) that comes as standard on the base SE car.

The 4-Series Gran Coupe comes with four grades, with most buyers expected to choose the M Sport models at a £3,000 premium. That adds a smaller screen sat nav, bigger wheels, firmer suspension and a host of visual changes inside and out to tell the world you're a sporty sort.

But BMWs have always (or nearly always) been as much about the way they drive as the way they look and the 4-Series Gran Sport maintains the tradition, with even a modest diesel doing the pulling.

Slide into a finely sculpted seat (only lacking the £265 lumbar support option that is meanly extra across the range) and you're faced with a typically severe dashboard, less plush than you'll find in rivals from Audi and Mercedes but a clear, concentrated effort to feed information to the driver.

The engine pulls strongly through the gears (again, with a typically firm but positive change) and delivers enough performance to provide an interesting time. It's not the quietest unit on offer, but never intrusively noisy either. It delivered a most encouraging 48mpg on a fairly demanding test drive.

Ride is on the right side of firm, even on awful British roads (BMW tuned the suspension in UK drives before production began) and the steering offers the sort of feel you find too rarely these days.

Practically speaking, there is room in the rear for a big adult to sit behind an equally generously sized driver, with just enough leg and head room to make a longish trip a sensible option. You'd be better off in a 3 Series saloon, of course, but by less than you might imagine.

The xDrive of the test car adds £1,500 to the price and promises extra grip via the front wheels when the going gets slippery and threatens to overwhelm the rears. Its extra weight shaves a little off the car's economy but is proving a sales hit with UK drivers worried about our variable weather.


Coupe style, saloon car space

Price: £33,295

Mechanical:181 bhp, 1,995cc, 4-cyl diesel engine driving all four wheels via 6-spd gearbox

Max Speed: 142 mph

0-62mph: 7.7 secs

Combined MPG:29

Insurance Group:57.7

C02 emissions: 129 g/km

Bik rating: 20%

Warranty:3yrs/unlimited miles


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