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.

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. 

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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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Davide 2 January 2017

Fun and sensible?

I had the chance to drive one for a week recently. It is indeed a fun and sensible car, from where I'm standing that is. With the 4WD and the automatic gearbox is like driving in a video game with the fun added that it is not. And then there is the engine, that 6-pot is sweet.

I totally see the point of this car. The trunk is decent, it's not a problem to put the kids on the back on a car seat and there is room enough for the occasional outing with 5 people on board, provided they are not too tall. The only disappointment for me where the interior, for fuck sake, it looked good but materials where god awful, for the price.

Would I but one? _I_ certainly would.

erly5 6 March 2015

Surely the more choice the better!

Don't understand why some insist certain variations are pointless. Surely it gives the consumer more choice and that can only be a good thing. Not everyone wants to drive the best-selling bodystyle.
oaffie 6 March 2015

Touring please

I would love to own the 3 series estate with this powertrain. It must surely be one of the great all-rounders. Chuck in a sizeable discount which will surely be on offer and it'll be great value too.

As someone who drives a E60 5-Series I can vouch for the fact RWD is great in the right conditions, but I can really see the point of 4WD in a car with this much torque available at such low revs.

There won't be much that can escape the Rozzers once they get their hands on these either.

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