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BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe Review

Introduction

Once upon a time in the car world, there were basically hatchbacks, saloons, estates and coupes, and you just picked one you liked in the size you wanted. The differentiations and purposes for each were clear. But today, the different body styles are melding, as customers demand a bit of this, and a bit of that, but with the look of the other.

Which brings us to the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe. It has its roots in the humble 3 Series, which has been a go-to, mid-sized executive saloon favourite for decades. A few years ago, BMW spun the sporty coupe version of the 3 Series off to create the 4 Series. And now there’s the 4 Series Gran Coupe, which adds those missing rear doors back again, with a hatchback boot lid. That might sound confusing, but where the 3 Series saloon is all about premium practicality, the 4 Series Gran Coupe is about practicality with a little bit more style and panache. It is, if you like, a four-door coupe, which has rear doors and space in the back, but a swooping roofline and a sportier demeanour.

Select's rating score* - 3.9 / 5

At a Glance

For some, the 3 Series saloon just isn’t sexy enough, even though they have passengers to carry, and that’s where the 4 Series Gran Coupe comes in. It loses a bit of the rear space of the 3 Series but can still carry five people, and it comes in a variety of flavours. 

There's a choice of sporty trim levels and several petrol or diesel engines, from the punchy-but-efficient to the really-rather-powerful. There are no plug-in hybrid options (at least, not yet), although there is an electric version; however, it’s badged as the i4, so we’ll cover it in a separate review.


This version of the Gran Coupe was launched in 2021, with a massive new front grille that may well divide opinion. Inside, it’s very similar to the 3 Series in terms of design and features (which is to say, very well made and with a great infotainment system). Space in the back is compromised when it comes to rear headroom, although those under six foot shouldn’t have too many issues. 

The boot is a fraction smaller than the 3 Series, but it does gain a hatchback boot lid, hinged at the top of the windscreen, which gives you a wider aperture in which to load things. When it comes to trim levels, the Gran Coupe is marketed as being more premium than the 3 Series, so it comes in several very well-specked trims, but a higher price to match.

To drive, the 4 Series Gran Coupe is at the sporty end of the market for cars of this type, with strong handling and a firm, but not uncomfortable ride. Most models are rear-wheel drive as standard, apart from the top-spec M440i, which has xDrive four-wheel drive. You can add xDrive to the diesel model as an option.

Key Features

The 4 Series Gran Coupe differentiates itself by its looks. That big grille won’t be for everyone, but it’s a feature of modern BMWs that we’re going to have to get used to. In recent years, the previous version of the Gran Coupe became the biggest-selling version of the 4 Series range, mainly because of the extra space it offers over the coupe, while still retaining its visual zing. 

All trim levels have a sporty look, while the top-spec M440i model is a stepping stone to the performance models from BMW’s M division. As a premium car, all Gran Coupes get big alloy wheels, leather upholstery and metallic paint as standard, as well as some fancy technology; BMW’s infotainment system is one of the best and easiest to use around. 

Performance comes via a choice of two four-cylinder petrol engines or a four-cylinder diesel, as well as the straight-six petrol engine in the M440i. All models have an eight-speed automatic gearbox.


Performance & Drive

The Gran Coupe’s driving experience treads a delicate line where it tries to have a definite sporty edge while still being an eminently comfortable family car.

It succeeds well, with a firm but supple ride that won’t have anyone in the back complaining on bad road surfaces, but it keeps a feeling of agility in the corners that rivals like the Audi A5 Sportback and Volkswagen Arteon can’t match.

The most popular Gran Coupe is likely to be the entry-level petrol model, called the 420i. This has 184 horsepower and will do 0-62mph in 7.9 seconds, which is just about enough to feel brisk. It pulls well once it gets going, but can feel a bit reluctant to really get going when you flex the accelerator. 

Those embracing the Gran Coupe for its sportiness might want a touch more oomph. If that’s the case, then the 245-horsepower 430i might better suit them, as it cuts the 0-62mph time down to 6.2 seconds.


Of course, there’s always the M440i, which is much more potent with 374 horsepower and a 4.7-second time to 62mph, but that will drive up both leasing cost and fuel consumption.

For those doing a lot of longer journeys, the 420d diesel may be a better bet. With a 0-62mph time of 7.3 seconds it’s a touch perkier than the 420i, and it has the option of four-wheel drive too. The diesel engine will get a considerably better fuel consumption, too.

Running Costs & Emissions

You’ll pay a premium to lease a 4 Series Gran Coupe over a 3 Series Saloon, which reflects the purchase price; style costs extra. However, you can get into a Gran Coupe for less than an Audi A5 Sportback.

When it comes to fuel, with no plug-in hybrid options at the moment, you’ll get the best MPG from the rear-wheel drive diesel model, the 420d. It promises up to 58.9mpg, which drops to 55.4mpg if you go for the xDrive four-wheel-drive model. 

The petrol options won’t do quite so well, with up to 42.8mpg for the 420i and 41.5mpg for the 430i. However, they will likely cost less to lease, and the fuel itself will be cheaper than diesel. The performance M440i model promises up to 35.3mpg, which isn’t actually bad considering its power and its xDrive system.


Company car drivers will want to look first at the 420d diesel model, as it’ll be the cheapest on benefit-in-kind company car tax. It sits in the 30% bracket for 2021/22. The 420i petrol, by contrast, sits in the 34% bracket, and the 430i in the 36% bracket.

Insurance groups range between 30 and 40 (of 50) depending on the model.

Interior & Technology

The interior of the Gran Coupe feels every inch a modern, premium environment. Although it shares most of its features and fittings with the 3 Series, it sits as more of an upmarket model; consequently, every trim level is well kitted-out with features, including an excellent infotainment system and a configurable digital dashboard, rather than traditional analogue dials.

Build quality and the materials used are excellent, feeling solid to the touch and barely a trace of hard plastics. The design is sleek and stylish but easy to use. The infotainment system is one of the best on the market, both in terms of features and, more importantly, ease of use.

It features a 10.25-inch touchscreen on the dashboard, and a central dial-and-buttons interface, which lets you quickly and easily jump between and adjust features while on the move. This, in our experience, is much easier than trying to stab at a touchscreen while driving, which can be distracting from the road.


Some models also feature gesture control, which lets you, for example, twirl a finger clockwise to turn the volume up. This can be a bit hit-or-miss in its accuracy, but for certain functions can be quite handy; for example, waving the hand to dismiss a notification, without having to search for a button.

The voice control system is pretty good too, letting you change settings by just asking.

A head-up display is also available, which projects driving information onto the windscreen, meaning you don’t need to glance away from the road.

Practicality & Boot Space

Depending on how you look at it, the 4 Series Gran Coupe has more space and practicality than the 4 Series Coupe, or less than the 3 Series saloon. However, plenty of customers think BMW has got the balance just right. 

There are no complaints at all up front, with lots of adjustability and space for driver and passenger. Rear legroom is pretty good too, and if you’re under about 5ft 10, you should have just enough headroom. 


Taller adults will find the roof too close for comfort though, thanks to the swooping roofline. Kids will have no issues, which makes the Gran Coupe a very decent family car.

The boot helps too. While overall space is 10 litres down on the 3 Series saloon, the hatchback boot lid in the Gran Coupe means a much bigger aperture through which to load things. If you need extra room, the back seats fold in a flexible 40/20/40 split.

On top of that, you get big door pockets in the front and a couple of cubby holes, as well as a wireless phone charge in the dash. The middle seat back folds down in the rear with a small cubby hole and a pair of cupholders.

Safety

At the time of writing, the 4 Series Gran Coupe hadn’t been tested by independent safety organisation Euro NCAP. But the other cars in the 4 Series range – the Convertible and the Coupe– as well as the 3 Series were all given the maximum five-star score, so we’re pretty confident that the Gran Coupe is a very safe machine.

Some 40 driver systems are included or available on the car, with automatic emergency braking and lane departure warning systems included as standard. Options include Driving Assistant, which is a suite of systems that gives the car limited self-driving capability. 


These systems include adaptive cruise control and a lane change warning technology to decrease risk on motorways and dual carriageways. Another bit of available tech is the BMW Driver Recorder, which uses the car’s onboard cameras to record footage while driving and make it available for evidence in the event of an incident.

All models have Isofix child seat mounting points on the outer rear seats, as well as front, side, curtain and knee airbags.

Options

BMW has kept the trim choices down to two. Slightly confusingly, the two trims are called M Sport and M Sport Pro, but they take visual inspiration from the famous BMW M tuning division, rather than being a product of it. M Sport might be the entry-level model, but it’s packed with kit, including 18-inch alloy wheels, LED lights, sports seats with leather upholstery, and a reversing camera.

M Sport Pro adds more powerful brakes and adaptive suspension that you can stiffen or soften depending on your circumstances.

Options come mostly in packs, and there are several to choose from. The Comfort Pack gives you a heated steering wheel and extra storage, while the Visibility Pack includes high-tech, powerful Laserlights headlights. 

The Technology Pack adds a Wi-Fi hotspot, Harman/Kardon sound system and gesture control, and the Technology Plus Pack gives you all that plus automatic parking and the suit of semi-autonomous driving systems mentioned above. As well as the packs, you can also choose various alloy wheel designs, paint hues and leather colours.


Rival Cars

The main rival to the 4 Series Gran Coupe perhaps comes from within the BMW stable, in the form of the 3 Series saloon. It’s almost the same inside, and more affordable, with more space inside, but it doesn’t have the visual pizazz of the Gran Coupe.

Otherwise, you’re looking at rivals like the Audi A5 Sportback, which is very swank inside but isn't as fun to drive as the BMW. It does boast more versions though, including the fire-breathing RS 5 model. More affordable competition includes the less prestigious Volkswagen Arteon and the Peugeot 508, both of which are very nice, but don’t feel as special.

Verdict & Next Steps

The 4 Series Gran Coupe is a brilliant option for those that care enough about style to not want a boring old saloon, but have enough of a grip on the real world to know that they need a big boot, rear seat and four doors. 

That’s why the previous version of this car was so successful, and we don’t see that changing with the new version. 

It treads the line between style and practicality very well, and the driving experience is similarly well judged, with enough sportiness to put a smile on your face – particularly with the more potent engines – but comfort that will keep passengers happy too. It’s great inside, and has a very usable infotainment system.

Only the lack of PHEV option might put off company car drivers, but there’ll be one coming in the future, and there’s always the i4 electric car if you want to keep the emissions down.

Where to next?

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**Score based on Select’s unique meta score analysis, taking into account the UK’s top five leading independent car website reviews of the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe

**Correct as of 29/11/2021. Based on 9 months initial payment, 5,000 miles over a 24 month lease. Initial payment equivalent to 9 monthly payments or £3,434.85 Ts and Cs apply. Credit is subject to status.

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