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.
Is the Gran Coupé a viable alternative to the 3 Series?
A 4 Series Gran Coupé costs around three grand more than a 3 Series saloon, but the Four’s kit levels are significantly more generous, with three trim levels to choose from - SE, Sport and M Sport. Opt for the entry-level SE model comes fitted with 17in alloy wheels, cruise control, a chrome dual exhaust, parking sensors, LED head, rear and fog lights, and automatic wipers and lights as standard on the outside. While inside there is dual-zone climate control, a Dakota leather upholstery, heated front seats and BMW's brilliant iDrive infotainment system complete with DAB radio, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, sat nav, numerous online services and a 6.5in display. Only the 2.0-litre diesel 420d is available in this trim.
Upgrade to the Sport model and you will find 18in alloy wheels, interior ambient lighting, various driving modes, lots of high black gloss trim, sports seats and sun visors complete with illuminated vanity mirrors, while the range-topping M Sport trim gets an aggressive bodykit, gloss black interior detailings, suspension and alloy wheels, as well as BMW's Professional Media pack.