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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  • 103 Comments
      Eggmania
      • 6 Months Ago
      theres a $403,000 premium for the 435? thats a bold pricing strategy cotton. lets see if it pays off
      spdlmt
      • 6 Months Ago
      "starting at $41,225, $43,225, and 446,725" The 435i is a bit expensive ^^
      psarquis
      • 6 Months 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
        • 6 Months Ago
        @psarquis
        Great point. We typically only think about the premium in terms of MSRP which can be very misleading.
      amge5.5
      • 6 Months 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
      • 6 Months Ago
      In the UK, the term "Gran Coupe" has a completely different meaning than what BMW is after..
      Jameskey
      • 6 Months 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
      • 6 Months Ago
      Why can't this just replace the 3 Series sedan? Am I missing something?
      wave9x
      • 6 Months Ago
      I hope the US version has fog lights with the M-sport package like in Europe
      speddedler
      • 6 Months 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
      • 6 Months Ago
      this is a much better looking midsize 4dr luxury vehicle than the 3series I think. Estoril Blue is a knockout sexy color still!
      jessesrq
      • 6 Months Ago
      Steve, It is possible to have the chassis setting in "sport" mode while keeping the drivetrain in "comfort". This feature was not activated in the US F30 until 2014, though I activated the setting by coding my 2013. If the settings are done right, the option appears every time to change to "sport" mode. And it makes a world of difference for every day driving to have the firmer steering, but not the hair trigger throttle response or 7th/8th gear lockout. Curious - How does the N20 exhaust note sound in the GC with BMW's new sound generator?
      itoldyouso
      • 4 Months Ago
      Just got this car. It's amazing, as expected, in the driving department and no doubt a true 4er. The power lift gate with hands free interface is one thing you didn't know you absolutely needed until you have it (like comfort key access). There's no going back. Side by side, it makes the 3 series look "cheap" and long in the tooth. Arguably, the 4 series GC is what the 3 series should have been in the looks department. If the price difference between the two was truly only a few thou, the 4GC is the obvious choice. As the prior poster pointed out, in the real world the 4GC won't be had for much discount for a long, long time. Financially you could probably get a 335 for what a 428 GC would cost. In terms of functionally, the 3 series GT offers about the same utility at a much cheaper price, but you get the ugliest 3 series (though not as ugly at the 5 GT). The 4GC gets you the sexiness of the 4 series with the practicality of a GT. A fair price premium as far as I am concerned.
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