From £29,7007
The latest addition to the 4 Series family, this five-door liftback is stylish and practical but this engine lacks sparkle and refinement
22 May 2014

What is it?

The third of BMW’s new 4 Series badged models – the 4 Series Gran Coupé.

Following the recently introduced 4 Series coupé and convertible, it has been conceived as part of efforts by BMW to cover each and every conceivable market niche in the premium car class.

All three models sit on the same platform and share the same mechanical package but receive differing body configurations and are aimed at different buyers.

In terms of style, this new BMW leans heavily on its well received 4 Series stablemates. This is particularly prominent up front, where the Gran Coupé shares the same bodywork and detailing as coupé and convertible. From its not inconsiderable B-pillars rearwards, though, it boasts its own look.

Like the BMW 6 Series Gran Coupé introduced to the UK last year, the 4 Series Gran Coupé receives four frameless doors. This makes it unique in the 4 Series line-up. But unlike its larger and more expensive sibling, it does not receive a conventional boot. Instead, BMW has provided it with a large liftback style tailgate with the aim of providing it with the sort of practicality offered by its prime rival, the Audi A5 Sportback.

In doing so, it has created an in-house rival to its most popular model, the BMW 3 Series saloon. It also occupies similar ground to the 3 Series GT – BMW’s other mid-size liftback model.

As well as offering greater rear seat accommodation than the 4 Series coupé, the 4 Series Gran Coupé also boasts nominal boot capacity on par with the 3 Series saloon at 480 litres. This increases to 1300 litres when the standard 60:40 split rear seats are folded down.

When it reaches UK showrooms the 4 Series Gran Coupé will offer the choice of seven petrol and diesel engines together with either a standard six-speed manual or optional eight-speed automatic gearbox with most powerplants – the same combination that BMW has made available on the 4 Series coupé.

What's it like?

First of all, this is a great-looking car with a suitably racy profile and superb proportions for a four door. However, the styling itself is only part of what makes it so aesthetically pleasing.

It is the stance that makes the appearance of the 4 Series Gran Coupé such a stand-out in a class where style is often a deciding factor. With suitably wide tracks and a relatively long wheelbase, it sits confidently on the road with a wonderful athletic demeanour and just the right amount of attitude.

Still, the promise built up by the sleek exterior is not successfully carried over to the interior. Despite offering an excellent driving position and good all-round vision, the dashboard incorporates a lot of cheap-looking black plastic and rather cheap-looking switchgear. It does, however, offer a surprising amount of room and the five-door layout makes it inherently more practical than the 4 Series coupé.

Equipment levels mirror those of the 4 Series coupé. The base SE spec includes Xenon headlamps, front and rear parking sensors, two zone air conditioning, heated seats, speed sensitive Servotronic steering and a 6.5-inch monitor.

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While the diesel variants are set to be the big sellers in the UK, BMW decided to launch the car in Spain with a petrol engine. The turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder unit may be getting on in age but recent enhancements see it provide the 428i Gran Coupé with solid, if not dazzling, performance in combination with the optional eight-speed automatic gearbox, as fitted to our test car.

There is respectable low-end response and relatively flexible mid-range qualities by turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine standards, thanks in part to the 258lb ft of torque developed in a band of revs between 1200 and 5000rpm. Official figures point to a 0-62mph time of 6.1sec, which makes it over a second faster than the A5 Sportback 2.0 TFSI fitted with its optional Multitronic CVT.

However, the 428i Gran Coupé becomes quite vocal and mechanical refinement begins to wane if you work it hard. As such, it is best to rely on the wide spread of ratios from the automatic gearbox to keep it in a high ratio and use the inherent elasticity to keep progress strong. Interestingly, BMW considered fitting the new car with sound synthesizer to give it a more alluring note. In the end, though, it decided the four-pot soundtrack was sufficiently sporting. It isn’t… not by BMW standards, at least.

With BMW’s Drive Performance Control system as standard, the driver gets to choose between four different driving modes: Eco Pro, Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus.

This provides BMW’s latest model with a multi-faceted dynamic repertoire aimed at seeing it appeal to wide number of buyer types. Eco Pro and Comfort modes are roughly equal, as are Sport and Sport Plus.

The steering, which feels overly light and lacks for self-centering in Comfort mode, receives added weighting and a more encouraging feel as you toggle the button down on the centre console to engage Sport. It is a similar story with the damping, which again feels a little under done in Comfort but much more accommodating in Sport without any great deterioration in overall ride quality.

Keep it in Sport and the 428i Gran Coupé proves engaging and quite entertaining. The optional 225/35 R19 front and 225/40 R19 rear tyres worn by our test car provided it with plenty of purchase. There is tidy balance thanks 50:50 front-to-rear weight distribution. And the electronic stability control allows allow a small degree of oversteer when you’re willing.

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There are downsides, though. Excessive tyre roar spoils its otherwise hushed cruising qualities and sharp vertical body movements can sometimes catch you out on undulating roads at higher speeds.  

Should I buy one?

If you’re in the market for a BMW 3 Series saloon, it is well worth consideration. The 4 Series Gran Coupé might not possess the outright accommodation of its more conventional stablemate, with which it shares its mechanical package, but its large liftback endows it with impressive practicality.

It also provides the scope for a more appealing appearance than the comparatively dumpy 3 Series GT – a model that, while offering an added 40 litres of nominal boot space, now seems rather superfluous.

BMW 4 Series Gran Coupé 428i 

Price £32,820; 0-62mph 6.0sec; Top speed 155mph (limited); Economy 44.8mpg; CO2 154g/km; Kerb weight 1510kg; Engine type 4 cyls, in-line 1997cc, turbocharged, petrol; Installation front, longitudinal, rwd; Power 242bhp at 5800rpm; Torque 258lb ft at 1200rpm; Gearbox 8-spd automatic

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Comments
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vara 4 July 2016

Interior Plastic

I would have read this comment before about plastic. Yes, its indeed very true. I have just bought a BMW 420d week ago. I am happy with the car overall except the interior being cheap looking plastic which makes me think every time i sat in the car. This morning surprisingly one of the plastic which holds the mat on the front passenger door(near left foot) has come off while my friend is getting off from the car. it was such a shame.
I have just told my dealer and he said we will fix it. But this is not what i expect to see from a week old brand new car.
david RS 24 May 2014

I'm looking for BMW... Where

I'm looking for BMW...
Where is it?
winniethewoo 23 May 2014

@overdrive

well, yes, thats it then. if a friend asks for car advice.... what can i get instead of a 3 series / 4 series, i'll definately have to pipe up and ask him/her... did you ever consider a Vauxhall Cascada?
Overdrive 23 May 2014

winniethewoo wrote:... did

winniethewoo wrote:

... did you ever consider a Vauxhall Cascada?

tbh, I haven't driven the Cascada, but I think it actually looks pretty good, and by all accounts it's not a bad drive either. Vauxhall badge or not, it deserves to do well, sales wise.

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