Set to go on sale in the UK in June with prices starting from £29,420, the five-door liftback extends the 4-series line-up to three distinct body styles. It joins the 4-series coupé and convertible to create a range intended to rival that of the Audi A5.
The new car is similar in appeal to the 6-series Gran Coupé. However, BMW has turned away from using the conventional boot of that model, instead giving the 4-series Gran Coupé a more versatile five-door liftback arrangement, like that of the bigger, taller 3-series Gran Turismo. BMW officials say this format will make the 4-series Gran Coupé more appealing to younger buyers.
The result is a car similar in layout to the A5 Sportback, with a shallow glasshouse, two short rear doors (all of them frameless), a coupé-like roofline and a large liftback-style tailgate that opens automatically, either via the key fob or an optional foot-operated sensor incorporated into the rear bumper.
The 4-series Gran Coupé is 4638mm long, 1825mm wide and 1389mm tall. That’s 14mm longer, 14mm wider and 40mm lower than the 3-series saloon. Despite its sleek appearance, the drag coefficients are only average by class standards, with a best of 0.27 in 418d guise, rising to 0.30 on all-wheel-drive models.
The new car has the same chassis as that of the 4-series coupé and convertible, so it’s less spacious inside than the long-wheelbase 3 GT. Its wheelbase is 2810mm, with track widths of 1545mm at the front and 1594mm at the rear. The load bay has a 480-litre capacity with the rear seats up and 1300 litres with them folded down.
The 4-series Gran Coupé’s rear doors and tailgate add 50kg to the kerb weight of the equivalent coupé models. The lightest of the launch models, the 420i, hits the scales at 1480kg, which is 80kg more than the 320i saloon.
The 4-series Gran Coupé will be launched with a choice of five engines and either a standard six-speed manual or optional eight-speed automatic gearbox. A further two diesel engines are planned to follow this year.
Rear-wheel drive is standard. Optional four-wheel drive will be available from UK launch on the £33,815 420d xDrive, with other variants likely to follow. Contrary to earlier rumours, there are no plans for an M4 variant, but BMW officials do not rule out an M Performance model.
Heading the initial line-up will be the 435i, which starts at £41,155. It is powered by a turbocharged 3.0-litre straight-six petrol engine. With 302bhp and 295lb ft of torque, it covers 0-62mph in 5.2sec in automatic guise, while returning combined fuel economy of 39.8mpg and a CO2 output of 189g/km.