• Image Credit: Steve Siler
  • Image Credit: Steve Siler
  • Image Credit: Steve Siler
  • Image Credit: Steve Siler
  • Image Credit: Steve Siler
  • Image Credit: Steve Siler
  • Image Credit: Steve Siler
  • Image Credit: Steve Siler
  • Image Credit: Steve Siler
  • Image Credit: Steve Siler
  • Image Credit: Steve Siler
  • Image Credit: Steve Siler
  • Image Credit: Steve Siler
  • Image Credit: Steve Siler
  • Image Credit: Steve Siler
  • Image Credit: Steve Siler
  • Image Credit: Steve Siler
  • Image Credit: Steve Siler
  • Image Credit: Steve Siler
  • Image Credit: Steve Siler
  • Image Credit: Steve Siler
  • Image Credit: Steve Siler
  • Image Credit: Steve Siler
  • Image Credit: Steve Siler
  • Image Credit: Steve Siler
  • Image Credit: Steve Siler
  • Image Credit: Steve Siler
  • Image Credit: Steve Siler
  • Image Credit: Steve Siler
  • Image Credit: Steve Siler
  • Image Credit: Steve Siler

Vital Stats

Engine:
Turbo 2.0L I4
Power:
240 HP / 255 LB-FT
Transmission:
8-Speed Automatic
0-60 Time:
5.7 Seconds
Top Speed:
155 MPH
Drivetrain:
Rear-Wheel Drive
Curb Weight:
3,610 LBS
Seating:
2+3
Cargo:
49.5 CU-FT (max)
MPG:
23 City / 33 HWY
Base Price:
$40,300
It's hard to say what a coupe is anymore. Is it merely a car with two doors? Does it have to have an arching roofline? Do frameless windows count for anything? Can a five-door hatchback or even an SUV be a coupe? At some point in the last few years, nearly everything we thought made a coupe a coupe has been challenged by something that calls itself a coupe, but to most people isn't. Our friends at BMW have led most of this line of questioning.

The new 2015 BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe is one of the latest Bimmers to challenge the moniker (which also challenges the idea of "Gran," for that matter), and unlike some of its other "coupe" variations – we're looking at you, X6 – this one is a pretty one. The 4 Series Gran Coupe is essentially a four-door version of the 4 Series, which is itself a two-door version of the 3 Series. Huh? Wouldn't that simply make it another 3 Series? Of course, but this one is prettier, as it uses the 4's sexier body styling, with its lower nose, wider-looking stance and edgier lighting graphics. It is also technically a five-door hatchback, not a sedan per se, and it utilizes frameless side door glass, which apparently does count for something in BMW coupe-land. Significantly, the 4 Gran Coupe's wheelbase is identical to the two-door; if it was longer – as is the case with the 3 Series and 5 Series hatchbacks – that might make it a "Gran Turismo." Confused yet?

We recently got our first chance to drive the 4 Series Gran Coupe at a press launch in Spain, and while the only version we were given was a rear-drive 428i Gran Coupe with the M Sport contents, the harrowing roads around Bilbao gave us a good idea of what this car is all about from a driving dynamics standpoint. Here's some of what we found:

Driving Notes
  • The Gran Coupe will be available in base 428i, all-wheel-drive 428i xDrive, and 435i forms, starting at $41,225, $43,225, and 446,725, respectively, including $925 for destination. A Luxury Line package with elegant trimmings can be added for another $1,700 on the 428i models and $1,400 for the 435i, while a Sport Line brings larger wheels (18-inchers vs. 17s), sport seats, and various other sport-flavored bits for $2,100 on the 428 models or $1,700 for the 435i. And of course, an M Sport model builds on the Sport Line's stuff with an aero kit, a sport steering wheel, and some blue trim pieces while adding $3,500 to the bottom line of the 428 models, or $3,100 to the 435. Of course, there are a many more a la carte options, and a suite of technology and convenience packages ready to bloat the final out-the-door price up over $60k if you're really feeling spendy.
  • The 4 Series Gran Coupe looks longer than the two-door version, but in actuality, it's identical in length and width. The roof is a half an inch taller, and the roofline stretches nearly all the way to the back of the car. It has an aggressive stance and excellent proportions. Incidentally, the 3 Series is also about the same length, about a half an inch narrower, and another inch and a half taller. The Gran Coupe may be the best-looking of the lot.
  • Alas, there is a catch, which comes in the form of more than 200 pounds of added weight due to structural reinforcement, including the weight of the standard power tailgate. Happily, BMW tuned the Gran Coupe to mimic the sporty feeling of the two-door 4 Series, changing only what it had to under the skin in order to accommodate the added mass and accompanying change in the center of gravity. To a large extent, it succeeded in keeping it quite the capable performance sedan. Or coupe. Or whatever it is.
  • Inside, the occupants sit a little lower in the 4 than in the 3, giving you a feeling of intimacy not found in any of the Threes. The black headliner also contributes to this sensation. We also expected to get more of a "sitting in a bathtub" feeling than we actually experienced. The M Sport's seats are absolutely fantastic, as is the perfectly contoured steering wheel.
  • The 4 Series Gran Coupe is pure 3 Series inside, albeit with a one-inch lower seating position for both rows of seats. This makes the lower roofline less impactful on rear-seat headroom than you'd expect; indeed, this model's longer roofline allows adults to ride back there more comfortably than in the regular 4 Series (non-Gran) coupe.
  • The lower seat height also helps the rear seat not feel as cramped as one might expect, with six-footers able to squeeze back there better than in the two-door. Legroom is also about the same as in the 3 and the two-door 4, which is to say decent. It's not the limousine that the 3 Series GT is, but it's pretty good by "coupe" standards.
  • The Gran Coupe's hatchback body makes for a wide and deep cargo area, and the rear seats now fold 40/20/40 style. A power liftgate with programmable opening height is standard, and can be opened by waving your foot beneath the bumper. The drawback? Seeing out through the sliver-like rear window is a real challenge when you're on the road.
  • The rear doors open quite wide, making it easy to load people and things back there despite their short length. You won't bump your head on the roof as you get in, either, since the roofline doesn't slope down until aft of the door.
  • The turbo four-cylinder is sufficiently powerful and sounds pretty awesome, though the Gran Coupe's extra 100 kilos or so makes itself known. Speed demons are going to want to spring for the 435i, which we are looking forward to driving ourselves in the States soon.
  • The eight-speed automatic – the only available transmission – is as magical as ever in this installation, and the paddle shifters operate with a satisfyingly snickety action and are easy to find even with some lock dialed in.
  • High-speed stability is and always has been a 3 and 4 Series forte, and it is no less so in this case. We only wish we could select Sport mode on the Driving Dynamics Control-which adjusts shift points, throttle response, and steering effort-to get its better-weighted steering along with the top two gears on the highway, but unfortunately, Sport mode locks them out.
  • Grip levels are high during aggressive cornering, though as we've noticed in other 3s and 4s, the steering response is a little delayed at initial turn-in, resulting in a tendency toward understeer and early intervention of stability control. The lack of feedback through the wheel doesn't help matters, but the car does go where you point it. We just wish it told us what was going on in the meantime.
  • BMW has long been a master of shock absorption, and as with so many other Bimmers, the 4 Series Gran Coupe takes the edge off bumps without floating over them. The 4 Series Gran Coupe we drove, with the M Sport equipment, is heavenly in this regard. The only demerit: tire noise on the highway can get loud, especially on grainy pavement.
  • The M Sport line is available with upgraded brakes that offer excellent pedal feel and crisp response; we would recommend the $500 upgrade (on top of the $3,500 you'll pay for the M Sport pack) if you like to drive like we do, especially if hills happen to be part of your everyday commuting.
  • Given their similar interiors as well as the added practicality of the 4 Series Gran Coupe's hatchback body, we can't help but wonder why anyone would choose a 3 Series, which comes in about $3k less, similarly equipped. That would make a big difference if the MSRP was under $20k, but at this price point, the upgrade to something that looks and feels more special than a workaday 3er seems more than worth it.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 105 Comments
      Eggmania
      • 1 Year Ago
      theres a $403,000 premium for the 435? thats a bold pricing strategy cotton. lets see if it pays off
      spdlmt
      • 1 Year Ago
      "starting at $41,225, $43,225, and 446,725" The 435i is a bit expensive ^^
      psarquis
      • 1 Year Ago
      I agree with most of the comments about this "coupe" over the 3 Series. The 4 GC is a prettier car and, if the 4 coupe is any indication, it'll be a better driver than the 3 Series. However, the argument that this car is only $3k more than the 3 Series is unrealistic at this point. The 3 Series is BMW's volume car and there are deals to be had on them. From my research, I can tell you that here in Los Angeles you can expect to get between 5-8% off a 3 Series, but there are no deals to be had on the 4 Series coupe at the moment. You will pay sticker because dealers can't keep them on the lot, or just won't deal on them. I think the 4 GC will be in very high demand and dealers will not give you a discount on them for a very long time. IMO, the $3k higher sticker on the 4GC will translate into a $6k-$9k higher selling price in the real world due to the lack of bargains on that more desirable model. That's a lot of money to pay for an extra inch here and there. There's also no diesel option (428d GC?), which is a major turn off these days, especially on a car that's playing up the practical angle.
        ikarus2525
        • 1 Year Ago
        @psarquis
        Great point. We typically only think about the premium in terms of MSRP which can be very misleading.
      amge5.5
      • 1 Year Ago
      Stupid naming aside, if there was a 328i and a 428i GC next to each other I would take the 4 GC no question.
      Leather Bear
      • 1 Year Ago
      In the UK, the term "Gran Coupe" has a completely different meaning than what BMW is after..
      Jameskey
      • 1 Year Ago
      "The Gran Coupe will be available in base 428i, all-wheel-drive 428i xDrive, and 435i forms, starting at $41,225, $43,225, and 446,725, respectively, including $925 for destination" over 400k for the 6 cyl seems excessive- could be me, but I'd go for the 428.
      Adrian Elliot
      • 1 Year Ago
      Why can't this just replace the 3 Series sedan? Am I missing something?
      bcsaxman
      • 1 Year Ago
      From the article: "It's hard to say what a coupe is anymore." Really? I hadn't realized that the entire rest of the world outside BMW marketing HQ had lost their marbles too … Well, ok, let me see if I can help. "Is it merely a car with two doors?" Yes. "Does it have to have an arching roofline?" No. "Do frameless windows count for anything?" No. "Can a five-door hatchback or even an SUV be a coupe?" If they have only 2 doors on either side of the car for driver & passengers to get in and out of, then yes. If they have more than 2 doors for that purpose, then no. You see Steve, to recap, a "coupe" is a vehicle with 2 doors located on the sides of the vehicle that are for people to get in and out of. Always. Forever. Eternal. Further, a "sedan" has 4. A "hatchback" has a hatch … in the back … where the trunk/boot would otherwise be on a car that is NOT a "hatchback". And so on. About the only complication ever introduced to these definitions that I've been aware of, is when a manufacturer puts small vestigial, reverse opening doors on their vehicles, directly behind one or both of the 2 main doors of a "coupe". No one has adequately classified this genous yet, but Hyundai may have some insight - you should call them. Meanwhile, as this clearly is not what BMW has built here, we can safely use the traditional definitions, and feel good about the fact that we are accurately describing their car, while also feeling some pity at the fact that they can't. That you seem confused by BMW's inane copy on this issue is a bit troubling though, Steve. One of your duties as an auto journalist should be to not buy into the hype of any automaker, regardless of reputation, or whatever wild tangents of logic and sense they feel compelled to depart on. Just forget the marketing B.S. and simply investigate, evaluate, and report on the facts and impressions you have about these companies, and the vehicles they make. And, please, use the proper definitions. When you use these made up ones, and then write as if there is a some actual 'controversy' that's been created because they've been made up, you are just feeding the already inflated egos of the marketing bozos responsible. And also making them look good to their bosses. When the actual goal should be to get them fired. Hope this helps.
        BMW Fanboy
        • 1 Month Ago
        @bcsaxman

        Finally somebody at somewhere points out the truth of how utterly and morally their new naming system and boldness to call 4 door sedan a coupe is wrong & only contradicting their intention to give odd numbers for sedans and even numbers for coupes. 4 door will never be a coupe. PERIOD.

        Adrian Elliot
        • 1 Year Ago
        @bcsaxman
        ::APPLAUSE::: Thank you. Seriously. This isn't that hard to understand.
        TangoR34
        • 1 Year Ago
        @bcsaxman
        You said: "coupe" is a vehicle with 2 doors located on the sides of the vehicle that are for people to get in and out of." So a Golf GTi, Ford Fiesta ST, Smart fortwo and Mini Cooper are classified as a coupe?
      BodyBlue
      • 1 Year Ago
      Yada yada yada....bmw bmw bmw bmw SIGH. This is what online auto "journalism" has become. Since BMW is frantically introducing a car for the smallest niche, the car rags breathlessly (except R&T) tell us what a revolution the new BMW 3.5.6.1 Xdeii* SportcrosstracooupesedanCUVRSVPCOD really is. Then BMW's corps of paid-for-bloggers appear out of their swamp and tell us how great the car really is and trash and downvote anybody with a brain that questions the BS that oozes out of BMWs press office. The lack of intestinal fortitude of the online car mags is revolting and AB is one of the most gutless. Go ahead BMW drones, vote away. Instead of just downvoting like cowards, why not talk about who gets paid to blog for automakers? I would love to see someone try to deny what a big part of the business it has become.
      wave9x
      • 1 Year Ago
      I hope the US version has fog lights with the M-sport package like in Europe
      speddedler
      • 1 Year Ago
      I've always thought these 4 door coupes were B.S. and stupid, but that liftback really appeals to my practical (hatchback-loving) side.
      snap_understeer_ftw
      • 1 Year Ago
      this is a much better looking midsize 4dr luxury vehicle than the 3series I think. Estoril Blue is a knockout sexy color still!
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