If you make the assumption that the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupé takes all the best bits about being a BMW and all the best bits of being a hatchback and mixes it with the best bits of being a coupé, then it sounds like a recipe for a very desirable motor – and, by and large, it is.
Picture this confection as a 4 Series Coupé with two extra doors and you won’t be far off. Inside, the dashboard is pure old-school 3 Series. Material quality is good and everything works in a precise, well-damped fashion. You have to climb over the rear wheel arch to get into the back seats but, once you do, space for the outer two seats is fine and equal to that of a 3 Series. Despite the sloping roofline, there’s enough head room for most, although the centre rear occupant won’t be quite so well off.
The boot has a bit of a lip to negotiate, but it is a useful square shape and comes with split folding rear seats. With all the seats down, maximum capacity is not far off that of the 3 Series Touring, so the 4 Series Gran Coupé can cope with the odd Ikea trip.
Entry-level SE trim comes with 17in alloy wheels, cruise control, parking sensors, automatic lights and wipers, dual-zone climate control, a DAB radio, Bluetooth, leather seats and sat-nav. Sport adds 18in alloys and sports seats. M Sport fits an aggressive bodykit, bespoke M Sport wheels, sports suspension and an upgraded sat-nav system.
The entry-level engine is the 420i, a turbocharged four-cylinder petrol unit that can sometimes feel a little weak unless you absolutely nail it. The 430i, a more powerful version of the 420i, is better. But if you can stretch to it, the six-cylinder 440i is wonderfully refined yet has a real sporting edge to its note and proper, hairy-chested performance.
Diesels start with the 420d, an engine that is far more flexible and fuel efficient than the 420i. It is punchy and smooth. There is also an automatic-only 430d, which is even smoother, has massive midrange surge for truly effortless pace and is impressively frugal.
Then there’s a four-wheel-drive 435d xDrive that is certainly rapid. Unlike the 3 Series Gran Turismo, the rear-wheel-drive 4 Series Gran Coupé handles just as well as the car on which it is based. The steering is responsive and allows you to accurately place the vehicle on the road. Where the standard suspension can thump over bumps and potholes, the adaptive version can be set to Comfort, which takes the edge off the very worst jolts. Avoiding anything with 19in wheels helps as well.
Prices start at less than £10,000 for early cars. Spend £15,000 on a good 2016 car, £17,000 on a 2017 one and £18,000 on a 2018 model. Big bargains are to be had and 2019 and 2020 cars can be found for £20,000.