From £29,7008
Savagely rapid, four-wheel-drive diesel version of BMW's four-door coupé could be brilliant, or it could be a niche too far. We drive the 435d xDrive Gran Coupé to find out.

Our Verdict

BMW 4 Series Gran Coupé

The luxurious and stylish BMW 4 Series Gran Coupé goes toe-to-toe with the fresh-faced Audi A5 Sportback, but is it enough to turn customers' heads towards Munich rather than Inglostadt?

What is it?

We should start here with a bit of perspective. This BMW 435d xDrive Gran Coupé will hit 62mph in 4.8sec. You thought a 435i was quick? This is 0.5sec faster. In fact, an E90 BMW M3 only did it in 4.7sec.

Okay, the ripper sprint time is partly down to impressive traction from the on-demand four-wheel-drive system of our diesel-engined, four-door, hyper-coupé-saloon-cum-compact-executive. 

Whatever you call this particular niche, this top-end 4 series Gran Coupé means to offer proper shock and awe performance, so consider the decent claimed economy of 50.4mpg on offer from the 3.0-litre straight six turbodiesel a mere bonus.

Read our review on the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe

What's it like?

The four-wheel drive set-up does take the edge off the handling a touch alongside rear-wheel-drive 4 or 3 Series models. That's not to say that the front end doesn't feel satisfyingly pointy, but the xDrive 4 Series does feel heavier in general and more inclined to understeer than the rear-wheel-drive equivalent.

The steering responses feel a bit inconsistent, and some might wish it had a bit more bite around the dead-ahead even in the heavier Sport mode. You also get a fair amount of kick-back, but those are the worst of this car's sins. By any standard, it makes for a really quite epic combination of leggy, relaxing cruiser and monstrously rapid and precise B-road weapon.

Firstly, that powertrain. Blimey, yes, that powertrain. We know from its use in other BMW models that it's got an embarrassment of torque that you can wallow in happily whether you're about town or going for a seven-tenths strop, all aided by the smooth-shifting, eight-speed automatic gearbox.

It even steps up to the mark if you want to really stretch it out, with sharp responses to the (slightly too small) steering-wheel paddles, and an engine that's happier to be revved out than most oil-burners. 

The xDrive rear-biased, active four-wheel drive system has its advantages, too. Sure, it dulls turn-in a bit, but of course it also delivers great traction off the line and stoic consistency to its responses even in poor conditions. 

Given how popular xDrive is in BMW's core models, it's clear that many people will cheerfully give up a bit of handling zing and a few thousand quid if it means more traction and a lower chance of trouser-change moments, whether in dodgy conditions or not.

If you do really want rear-wheel drive, then you'll have to settle for the 255bhp version of this engine in the 30d model, although that's still going to be no slouch in the performance department. 

Ride comfort is generally good. Bigger potholes can be quite jarring, but most of the time the ride is settled, and together with great directional stability, this car makes for a brilliantly relaxing long-distance cruiser. Our car came on winter tyres. They didn't do too much for refinement, with a fair bit of road roar creeping into the cabin. 

We're familiar with the 4 Series interior and all its pros and cons. That hatchback boot is much more useful than that of a 3 Series saloon, if a bit less ideal than a Touring, and most adults will be fine in the back, although headroom is a bit tight thanks to the swooping roof.

The forward cabin is mostly the same as in a 3 Series, although this range-topping model gets heated, electrically adjustable seats for driver and passenger, as well as the widescreen BMW Professional sat-nav system. Pretty much everything you could want comes as standard, apart from adjustable lumbar support (£265) and those adaptive dampers. 

Should I buy one?

All objective measures say that a 335d xDrive Touring, which is almost £3000 cheaper than this 4 series and yet more practical, makes more sense. Having said that, there is definitely something sexier about the Gran Coupé, and there's no doubting that this rabid diesel is a mighty powertrain that, in its own way, is just as fun as a really good petrol.

If you want a diesel sports model and have got issues with the Three's looks or image - or just fancy the swoopy-looking exclusivity of the 4 series Gran Coupé - this is a deeply impressive car that's about as good as fast, four-wheel-drive diesel execs get. 

BMW 435d xDrive M Sport Gran Coupé 

Location Surrey; On sale Now; Price £45,745; Engine 6 cyls, 2993cc, turbodiesel; Power 308bhp at 4400rpm; Torque 465lb ft at 1500-2500rpm; Gearbox 8-spd automatic; Kerb weight 1760kg; Top speed 155mph; 0-62mph 4.8sec; Economy 50.4mpg; CO2 rating & BIK tax band 149g/km, 22%

 

 

 

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Comments
18

4 March 2015
This is a good review, the author certainly catches the feeling of this engine and car, but the language is more akin to something out of Max Power or FHM: Epic? Weapon? Trouser change moment? Dodgy? It would be better to read language more suited to a century-old and respected publication and leave the slang to lesser journals.

4 March 2015
What is it with certain manufacturer's they want to saddle them with such ridiculously long names?
  • If you want to know about a car, read a forum dedicated to it; that's a real 'long term test' . No manufacturer's warranty, no fleet managers servicing deals, no journalist's name to oil the wheels...

5 March 2015
....5 door hatchback version of the two door Coupe version of the 4 door saloon.

Why, what is the point?

5 March 2015
devil's advocate wrote:

....5 door hatchback version of the two door Coupe version of the 4 door saloon.

Why, what is the point?

Exactly. Like Audi's A5 Sportback, a pointless car of which I see very few of and I suspect this 5 door 4-Series will be the same too. Why not just do a conventional 5 door hatchback of the saloons they're based on? I mean, what next, 3 door estate versions of the coupes?

6 March 2015
@Saucerer, I see quite a few A5s around. But surely this *is* the 5-door hatchback version of the 3-series saloon? Trust BMW to find a way to charge more for it! But don't knock 3-door estates: Z3M Coupe, Beta HPE, Scimitar GTE, Lynx Eventer... there's been some good ones!

11 March 2015
devil's advocate wrote:

....5 door hatchback version of the two door Coupe version of the 4 door saloon.

Why, what is the point?

I agree, the number of vehicle classes is getting ridiculous. It isn't BMWs fault though, they are just trying to keep pace with Mercedes, who seems to "invent" a new class of vehicle every 6 months. It is absurd how many models MB has on the market now, and they just keep coming.

11 March 2015
devil's advocate wrote:

....5 door hatchback version of the two door Coupe version of the 4 door saloon.

Why, what is the point?

I agree the number of vehicle classes is getting ridiculous. But it isn't BMWs fault, they are just trying to keep pace with Mercedes, who seems to "invent" a new class of vehicle every 6 months. It is absurd how many models MB has on the market now, and they just keep coming.

5 March 2015
I guess this is a sleeker version of the 3 GT? I am sure BMW / AUDI / MERC come up wuith car niche's for the sake of it!

5 March 2015
I assume that as the dashboard is shared with the 3-Series I assume the materials used are the same too. Which would mean shocking. The plastics used in the 3-Series are frankly awful and cheap feeling, with some trim even flexing and and feeling unsubstantial, while bits that are suppose to be metal are cheap plastic. This is easily the worse feeling interior of any car in the class, including the likes of a Hyundai i40 or Kia Optima, and if this is the case with 4-Series then this particular model's near £46k price is scandalous. No car costing that much should have such a flimsy and cheap feeling cabin. In fact, if it were £20k, that would still be a disgrace. The new Mondeo has been berated for its interior quality, but that's nothing compared to this BMW.

5 March 2015
What a bunch of moaners you lot are:

Gerhard - Perhaps you could seek out some old car magazines that are penned in the quaint style of English that you so crave

Saucerer - If the German brands want to build a variant of car, that's their decision. As for your comments about the Audi A5 Sportback, I think it's a super idea. It allows owners to have an adaptable and spacious luggage compartment without having to buy an estate car. What's wrong with that? Just because you don't like it, it doesn't mean that others won't.

My two-penneth - It's about time BMW brought xDrive to their powerful passenger cars. Having owned a 'quick' BMW, it is disappointing that you can't use the power in anything but dry conditions. Well done BMW!

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