WITH the dynamic styling of a sports coupe, the comfort of a saloon car and the practicality of a hatchback, the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe ticks all the boxes and it recently gained extra appeal as it underwent a mid-life revamp.
The 4 Series was launched back in 2013 and has gone on to sell more than 400,000 cars with the US being the biggest market followed by the UK and Germany.
There's a choice of Coupe, Convertible or Gran Coupe body styles and the latter has been the most popular accounting for 50 per cent of sales.
We opted for the most powerful 440i Gran Coupe model in range-topping M Sport grade costing £46,090 (£51,910 with options) and this car, powered by a 3.0-litre, 326hp petrol engine delivering 450Nm of torque, could sprint to 62mph from a standing start in just 5.1 seconds, maxing out at 155mph.
According to official figures, the vehicle could deliver combined fuel economy of 33.6-34.4mpg (WLTP) with carbon emissions of 165g/km (NEDC).
The 440i Gran Coupe looks impressive from any angle thanks to its sporting DNA and eye-catching features such as the elegant streamlining, a wide stance with short overhangs, sweeping light clusters, twin tail pipes, a sloping roof and contoured flanks, along with the traditional BMW kidney grille, 19-inch alloys and blue brake callipers.
The interior is equally impressive and the latest car boasts upgraded materials and lots of high gloss black trim around the control console. The cockpit is very driver-oriented and many systems are accessed via a touchscreen and BMW's iDrive dial that's very simple to use on the move. A new user interface features tiles on the touchscreen across three pages. This makes it easy to switch from navigation to music, phone contacts or vehicles settings etc.
On-board technology is plentiful and includes the likes of a navigation system, Bluetooth, DAB radio and full smartphone connectivity via apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There are heated seats upholstered in attractive, but not that practical, ivory white Dakota leather and the steering wheel can also be heated to fend off the winter chill.
The driver instrumentation screen behind the steering wheel can be personalised according to taste and the readouts alter as you switch through the drive modes. The Eco setting offers lots of data regarding energy levels and has a blue glow, the Comfort setting is more traditional in its appearance and the Sport settings get a red effect and offer more in the way of performance data with engine revs.
When it comes to performance, the 440i Gran Coupe drives as well as it looks. BMW wanted to develop the car with thrilling sporting character, combined with precision handling for all-round driving perfection and they have succeeded. The eight-speed automatic gearbox is perfectly timed for instant acceleration and quick fire gear changes and the rear-wheel-drive model hugs the Tarmac like glue no matter how enthusiastically corners or bends are approached.
The body control is impressive with minimal lean and the vehicle boasts perfectly weighted steering too. Switching through the drive modes alters the car's character considerably and there are steering wheel-mounted paddles that are fun to use.
BMW engineers have improved the suspension set-up on the latest model without impacting upon the car's ride comfort.
The stiffer suspension features more advanced damping technology along with an upgraded steering system. It all sounds very technical, but the outcome of these advancements is reduced body roll, greater straight-line stability and precision steering.
However, when a calmer, more sedate mood takes you, the vehicle is happy to conform with a composed performance. Comfort levels are very high and there is room for a couple of adults in the rear of the car provided the front seats are not pushed back too far.
The powered boot has a 480-litre capacity - a limit that can be increased to 1,300 litres with the 60:40 split-folding rear seats dropped down.
There are numerous handy storage compartments scattered throughout the car, including a lockable glovebox, door bins, front and rear cup holders, a compartment by the driver's right knee, a central cubby, nets in the seat backs and some practical trays.