By Mike Torpey on 2022-03-05 - Driving Force news editor and responsible for organising our daily output. He was staff motoring editor of the Liverpool Echo for 20 years.
BMW 420d xDrive M
Sport Gran Coupe
BMW has produced a stylish new model that not only flaunts its catwalk curves but is both fabulous to drive and practical too.
And it comes in the shape of the new second generation 4 Series Gran Coupe.
There's no doubt BMW has raised the bar with this car - it looks racy, carries an air of sporty distinction and our diesel-powered 420d variant rewarded us with an average 53miles per gallon.
But let's start with the space race. While it may be lovely to own a car with the swooping style of a coupe, the downside is generally a feeling that, in the most extreme cases, verges on claustrophobia.
Not so with the Gran Coupe because this close relative of the recently updated 4 Series is blessed with a roomy interior and a gaping boot - 30 litres larger than its sibling.
In fact the only downside within the cabin is the fact that a centre rear passenger's legs have to tuck either side of the wide transmission tunnel.
Otherwise legroom is plentiful and if you stick with two in the back the armrest folds down to reveal a pair of pop-up cupholders.
Need to load up the boot for a weekend away, a large-scale shopping trip or combination of the two and the hatchback nature of the car's tail allows for easy access.
A choice of three petrol engines plus the turbocharged diesel of our tested 420d model are up for grabs, the latter producing a hefty 190bhp for acceleration of 0-62 in 7.3 seconds and 7.6 for versions with xDrive four-wheel drive.
There is no manual transmission option as all models feature an eight-speed automatic gearbox that works a treat - it's smooth, seamless and really puts in the quick shifts when you need them.
Performance and economy apart, the Gran Coupe is also a really poised, engaging car to drive that conveys the dynamic, beautifully engineered feeling you would expect from a premium coupe - and that thick, chunky leather steering wheel gives you confidence from the second you fire up the starting button.
And the car's Driving Experience Control offers several settings like Comfort, the standard ideally balanced mode, Sport (the dynamic setting), Eco Pro for more efficient driving and Adaptive, for predictive adjustment.
All serve their purpose, are effective and do just what is says on the tin, though we probably wouldn't have managed the 49.2 miles per gallon average fuel consumption we clocked had the dial been stuck on Sport.
Inside, the cabin is roomy, nicely designed and comfortable while the boot is reasonably large at 470 litres and has a netted compartment at each side. You can also split and fold the rear seats 40/20/40 to form a flat load area.
Attractive features include the chunky leather steering wheel, black leather seats with blue stitching and the sliding glass sunroof; on the downside four occupants is perfect but five a tight squeeze and rear visibility is slightly compromised by the sloping rear windscreen.
Best of all though is the 10.3-inch infotainment set-up which can be operated as a touchscreen or via a centrally positioned rotary control.
Sat-nav and DAB radio are included along with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and the tested model with Technology Pack added both a mobile phone charging pad and a high quality harman/Kardon sound system.
There are also lots of oddments spaces like door bins, coin wells in the back door panels, a centre rear armrest containing pop-up cup holders, a glovebox, central stowage box and two more cup holders in the front.
BMW 420d xDrive M Sport Gran Coupe
Mechanical:190bhp, 1,995cc, 4-cylinder diesel engine driving four wheels via eight-speed automatic transmission
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