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First Drive

First Drive: BMW 4-Series Gran Coupe

BMW 420d M-Sport Gran Coupe auto
The story: BMW's 4-Series Gran Coupe was introduced to retain drivers that wanted something different to a 3-Series, and the new one gets the same bold front end as the Coupe and Convertible 4-Series models
Category:Compact Executive
Key rival:Audi A5 Sportback
Price:£42,715
Efficiency:56.5mpg
Emissions:132g/km
On sale:Now

 

BMW may be pushing its electric line-up hard, with cars such as the iX, iX3, and i4 either here or nearly here, but it’s also
still launching petrol and diesel models, including the latest Gran Coupe version of the new 4-Series.

‘Gran Coupe’ is BMW speak for ‘five-door hatchback’, which means this 4-Series gains an extra set of doors and a roomier boot while the up-front styling remains the same, including the opinion-splitting grille. The five-door version also accounts for half of 4-Series sales with the true coupe taking 25% and the convertible the remaining 25%.

First Drive - January 2022 - BMW 4-Series Gran Coupe - Image 9The engine line-up is near identical to that of the three-door 4-Series, including the company car friendly 420i and 420d.

You can also have a 430i and rapid 374hp M440i, which has BMW’s all-wheel-drive xDrive system as standard; xDrive is optional on the 420d.

Obviously the big difference is at the rear. Open the rear set of doors and there are three seats. The two outer seats are ‘proper’ seats with Isofix while the centre seat is more of an emergency seating option, not only because the centre space isn’t sculpted for a person, but also because there’s a large centre tunnel on the floor hampering foot space. For the two outer seats, foot room is good, but anyone approaching or over six feet tall will struggle for headroom thanks to the roofline that slopes more than, say, that of a BMW 3-Series. However, most kids will be absolutely fine.

Boot space in the new 4-Series is up 39 litres on the previous model, to 470 litres. That’s 10 litres down on what the 3-Series saloon can muster, but thanks to the hatchback boot, access is much more practical.

The rear seats also split-fold 40:20:40 to expand the maximum available load space to 1,290 litres.

While you expect all BMWs to drive well, and this is certainly the case with the 420d Gran Coupe, what impresses more is how refined the ride comfort is.

First Drive - January 2022 - BMW 4-Series Gran Coupe - Image 8The low level of cabin noise at a steady cruise is also remarkable. We’re not talking electric car levels of cabin quiet because you can tell there’s a diesel engine up front, but refinement is so good, that the piped-in noises when you select Sport mode feel out of place.

Well-weighted steering and first rate body control make the Gran Coupe a properly fun car to drive if you find yourself on an open section of twisty road. Only the brakes let the experience down a little. While they’re powerful and effective, at lighter applications it’s as if the efficiency-boosting mild-hybrid battery regeneration system robs feel. Still, it’s something you get used to pretty quickly.

The 4-Series Gran Coupe slots in perfectly between the 3-Series saloon and estate for those drivers that want something practical and sleek.

Tristan Young

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The verdict

More practical boot and imposing looks mean that if you don’t need rear-seat headroom, this could be the one to pick over a four-door 3-Series.