WHAT’S NEW?: Some of the Gran Coupe is brand-new, namely the exterior. It shares some elements with the regular coupe but the key difference is the extra pair of doors. Frameless as in the coupe they close up against a lower roof, and as a result the Gran Coupe looks sufficiently different from the 3 Series saloon.
On the inside you get the familiar and still impressive cabin layout, although there’s more emphasis on carrying two passengers in the rear in comfort. On the mechanical side, there’s the same impressive choice of engines and gearboxes plus a range of trims and option packs.
LOOKS AND IMAGE: It might be similar on paper to a 3 Series saloon but the 4 Series Gran Coupe has more in common with the 4 Series Coupe. It shares that car’s more pronounced nose, chunkier wheelarches and higher bonnet line, all of which give it a great deal of presence on the road.
Typically the sportier models with their larger alloy wheels make the most of the shape, but even in SE guise it is a handsome machine.
SPACE AND PRACTICALITY: Although the 4 Series is designed to appeal on an aesthetic level it doesn’t neglect its practical duties. You sit fractionally lower in the front compared to a 3 Series and although there’s a lower roof line headroom is still good. In the back there’s plenty of space for two adults and you can fit a third in if required. The boot is also a good shape and size, with 480 litres available with the seats in place, 1300 with them folded.
BEHIND THE WHEEL: Once installed behind the wheel, the Gran Coupe feels that bit more special than the 3 Series; the seating position and view out is a little more rakish thanks to the coupe proportions. With the usual choice of excellent engines on offer you can have the 4 Series Gran Coupe in any form you like, but the 420d is an impressive all-rounder.
There’s 184bhp backed up by a strong 280lb.ft of torque so the 420d gets along very smartly indeed. The 0-62mph takes just 7.5 seconds and a claimed 144mph is on offer. Yet driven with care rather than a lead right foot, 61.4mpg is possible - that’s just 121g/km of CO2. And because this is a BMW you get sharp steering, great grip and classic rear-drive handling.
VALUE FOR MONEY: Although the 4 Series Gran Coupe inevitably costs more than the 3 Series saloon it’s the same price as the two-door 4 Series Coupe, so you get the extra doors and practicality thrown in. There’s also a lot more standard kit than in the equivalent 3 Series including leather, DAB radio and parking sensors thrown in.
WHO WOULD BUY ONE?: There are still buyers queuing round the block to buy compact BMWs so the addition of the Gran Coupe to the range means some people are going to be very happy. Think of it as a more stylish alternative that, while not quite as practical as a 3 Series, is still more than good enough to carry people and luggage.
THIS CAR SUMMED UP IN A SINGLE WORD: Rakish
IF THIS CAR WAS A...: Family home, it would be a stylishly accommodating one
FACTS AT A GLANCE
BMW 420d SE Auto, £33,345
Engine:2,0-litre unit producing 184bhp and 280lb/ft of torque
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic gearbox driving the rear wheels
Performance: Top speed 147mph, 0-62mph in 7.5 seconds
Economy: 61.4mpg combined
Emissions: 121g/km of CO2