While the Coupé and Convertible replace models that have traditionally been part of the 3 Series range, BMW would rather we think of the 4 Series line-up as a new and more prestigious breed than the Three.
This upward mobility is in no small part a response to the success of Audi’s A5 range and, indeed, the 4 Series Gran Coupé – with its five-door, five-seat layout finessed into a coupé-like silhouette – aims to swipe market share from the similarly configured A5 Sportback. The release of a second generation Audi A5 prompted BMW to act and subject the 4 Series Gran Coupé to a much needed facelift, and the Munich manufacturer weren't content on merely making cosmetic changes. Besides the light changes to the face and the rump, BMW has fitted LED headlights, rear and fog lights to the range, while inside there are light changes to the dashboard, a new steering wheel and the latest version of BMW's iDrive infotainment system. But where the engineers have been busy is tweaking the handling characteristics by lowering the car's centre of gravity by 30mm, widening the front and rear tracks and software alterations to the traction control.
The Audi is a shade longer and wider than the BMW, but they are dimensionally closely matched. They share an identical wheelbase and boot capacity of 2810mm and 480 litres – which are also vital statistics of the formidable 3 Series saloon. So while the 4 Series Gran Coupé aims to compete with Audi for premium-ness and better it for dynamics, it might also upsell potential 3 Series buyers.