2017 BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe review: Four-door style

Introduction

A more stylish, hatchback spin-off from the BMW 3 Series, the 4 Series Gran Coupe aims to be everything to everybody.

Body Style: 5 door hatchback Seats: 5  MRP from £33,110-£47,280

Did you know? With the rear seats in use, the 4 Series Gran Coupe’s boot is only 15 litres smaller than that of the BMW 3 Series Touring

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Lots of mores with the 4 Series Gran Coupe; more stylish, more practical and, yes, more expensive, but then it comes with more equipment as standard to compensate. Not as visually distinct from its 3 Series relative as the similar in concept Audi A5 Sportback is over the A4, but even so the 4 Series Gran Coupe is still a very appealing choice in that busy premium, sports saloon marketplace. If you want everything, it’s got most bases covered, but it’s pricing does mean you could have a newer, bigger 5 Series for much the same money.

 
2017 BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe

We Like

Fine looks inside and out.

Creamy 340i six-cylinder engine. 

Security of that folding hardtop.

We Don't Like

Its weight blunts its performance.

The rear seats are ‘occasional’ use only.

Standard safety kit a bit stingy 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Not content with decimating the traditional large family hatchback marketplace with its 3 Series saloon, BMW rubs salt in mainstream manufacturers’ wounds by adding a hatchback 3 Series spin-off to its range. The 4 Series Gran Coupe is dubbed as a four-door coupe, with its more rakish lines featuring a hatchback rear, BMW following the lead Audi set with its A5 Sportback. The traditional segment lines might be blurred then, and BMW is clearly aiming to fill every conceivable niche within them - the 3 Series GT fulfilling a similar brief, albeit it less elegantly than the 4 Series Gran Coupe.

A good looker, then, even if, to some it could be a little too close in design to its 3 Series relation to really stand out as distinct. Take some time though and the differences are more apparent, the 4 Series Gran Coupe’s stance that little bit more purposeful, its measurements revealing it to be fractionally wider and longer, and a fairly substantial 52mm lower. Thanks to clever styling at the rear looks more like a saloon than the hatchback it actually is. Like elsewhere in the BMW line-up the 4 Series Gran Coupe can be had in M Sport trim, which adds some sporting looks with its standard aero styling, though even without it in SE or Sport guise it’s a handsome, nicely proportioned car.   

2017 BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

No surprises inside, the 4 Series lifting its dashboard and instruments from the 3 Series. That means it’s all familiar, and unquestionably works, but in a world where there’s a newer Audi contender the BMW is beginning to look a trifle dated inside. The material quality is rarely in question, but there’s a lot of them, the dashboard and cabin lacking the simplicity of design of its Audi and Mercedes-Benz rivals, the screen sitting up top like an afterthought. The interface remains good though, BMW’s iDrive controller has matured to the point of near perfection, even in today’s now touchsreen world. The seats are supportive, and while that rakish roof does impact headroom slightly at the rear, it’s not so bad as to rule it out as a genuine four-seater - though five would be a real squeeze, BMW itself referring to it as a 4+1 seater.    

Practicality

Practicality usually trumps fine style, but with the 4 Series Gran Coupe you really can have both. Not only does the cabin accommodate four adults with respectable space, but the boot is a good size and shape, too. Indeed, seats in position the 4 Series Gran Coupe’s boot is only 15 litres less capacious than the 3 Series Touring and 40 litres less than its freakishly spacious 3 Series GT relation. The boot matches Audi’s A5 Sportback’s 480 litres of volume, while, like it, the large hatchback opening gives great access. There’s split-folding rear seats as standard, and BMW offers an extended stowage option that includes additional interior stowage compartments, two extra 12-volt sockets and cargo securing hooks and nets in the boot area.

 

2017 BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Superficially the technology offering as standard looks good. You get sat nav, BMW Online Services, Real Time Traffic Information, DAB and Bluetooth connection but there’s plenty of scope to spend more. For the bigger screen atop the dash you’ll need Professional Media, while Apple CarPlay needs another ticked box as does enhanced Bluetooth and the potential for wireless charging. On top of all that there’s the possibility to have a WIFI hotspot, Comfort Access and more besides.

If you want BMW’s Drive Performance Control with Eco Pro, Comfort, Sport and Sport+ driving modes you’ll need to option a Sport model or above, while desirable (if not entirely necessary) kit like a head-up display and digital cockpit add even more to your outlay. That’s true with its rivals, though here it does feel like BMW is lacking some of what’s increasingly considered minimum standard equipment.

2017 BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Performance

Like the 4 Series coupe proper and its drop-top relation, the Gran Coupe does without the entry-level engines in the BMW line-up. Minimum entry is 2.0-litres then, either a four-cylinder turbocharged petrol, or more likely a same capacity four-cylinder diesel. The petrol makes do with 177bhp to the diesel’s 183bhp, and trails the diesel on torque, too, though both achieve the same 7.5 second 0-62mph time with the six-speed manual transmission. Switch to the optional eight-speed automatic - something you should absolutely do - and you’ll shave a couple of tenths off that, all while saving some fuel and CO2 emissions, too.

The petrol 430i remains a four-cylinder, the 430d gaining another couple of cylinders for a full compliment of six, the only petrol model with more than four being the 440i, again it being an in-line six-cylinder turbocharged unit. You might think that the 440i would be the fastest, but that’s reserved for the 435d xDrive, which uses its torque advantage and standard four-wheel drive to good effect, it slipping under 5 seconds on that benchmark sprint.

All are brisk, then, though the 420d trumps the 420i for flexibility and day-to-day ease, not to mention economy. Even so, it’s difficult not to be seduced by the 430d’s greater urge, allied to something approaching an appealing engine note - for a diesel, at least - as well as the standard fit eight-speed automatic.

Petrol die-hards with deeper pockets will love the 440i, which in the absence of an M4 Gran Coupe is the driver’s choice.    

Handling and comfort

It’s a BMW so the expectation is of an agile chassis mated with decent ride quality. For the most part it fits the brief, though avoid optional xDrive if you don’t want to blunt its handling slightly; the additional weight is particularly noticeable when it’s mated to the lower-powered choices.

The standard suspension does a decent job of providing taut control and decent ride comfort, but for the best all-round balance it’s worth optioning BMWs Adaptive M Sport Suspension, which adds electronically controlled dampers that can be switched between Comfort, Sport and Sport+ modes.

Don’t confuse this with the standard M Sport Suspension that comes with M Sport trim (excluding xDrive), which sits lower and rides on firmer springs. That M Sport suspension, allied with the bigger M Sport 18-inch alloys does see the ride quality deteriorate. So if you're going for M Sport and don't want the adaptive dampers it's worth de-selecting the M Sport suspension in favour of the more comfortable softer setup - a no-cost option on M Sport models.  

The steering is light and accurate, the weighting fine, though there’s very little in the way of feel or feedback through the wheel itself. Still among the finest handling cars in its class, the BMW’s no longer quite as dominant in this area as it once was, Mercedes-Benz running it close when it comes to driver appeal and dynamic ability.    

Recommended engine: 430d M Sport (with optional Adaptive M Sport Suspension

0-62 MPH

5.6 seconds

Fuel economy

53.2 mpg

Emissions

139g/km

 

2017 BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

As yet untested by EuroNCAP, it’s relatively safe to assume that the five star billing its closely related 3 Series saloon sibling achieved will be largely transferable to the 4 Series. Standard safety equipment is good rather than outstanding, with many of the latest pro-active technology still languishing on the options list.

Front, side, head and curtain airbags are standard, there’s no knee airbag and while all five seats have three-point seatbelts, only the outer two rear ones have a headrest. There’s traction and stability control, electronic tyre pressure monitoring, run-flat tyres and ISOFIX child seat mounts in the rear outer seats. Automatic headlights and wipers are standard, as are ABS brakes with all the various control, drying and pre-tensioning that accompanies modern systems. Where the 4 Series might be considered lacking is with equipment that BMW packages under its Driving Assistant option, it bringing Lane Departure Warning and Forward Collision Warning, Preventative Pedestrian Protection and City Collision Mitigation.

 

2017 BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Colours

Ten standard paint colours are offered, though it’s the usual black and white no-cost options with your 4 Series. Choose an M Sport with any 30, 35 or 40 behind it and you gain metallic paint for free, upping the count to seven free choices. Those no-cost colours aren’t tonally as extensive as the standard palette, creating a situation where you can’t - on the online configurator at least - have a 430d in red. Think white through black to blues, even if the latter two blue choices are fairly bold for those M Sport models, then. Odd. BMW Individual adds some choice, but they’re fairly conservative. Ultimately, BMW will paint it any colour you like, but you’ll pay handsomely to for the privilege if you go off the usual colour charts.  

Trim Levels

The options are SE, Sport or M Sport, as elsewhere in the BMW line-up. SE is the entry-level choice, though to justify the 4 Series’ premium over the conceptually similar 3 Series the trim levels are a little bit more comprehensive as standard. SE has 17-inch alloy wheels, two-zone air conditioning, Bluetooth with USB audio, DAB, BMW ConnectedDrive, sat nav, Drive Performance Control, LED headlights, Park Distance Control, seat heating for the front seats and leather upholstery.

Sport adds an inch to the wheel’s dimensions, high gloss trim inside and out, ambient interior lighting, dark chrome exhaust finishers, Sports front seat and a Sport instrument cluster. On top of that M Sport brings unique M Sport aerodynamic styling outside, M double spoke alloy wheels, M Sport Suspension, M Sport instruments, the improved BMW Professional Media system, and an M Sport steering wheel. 

Size and Dimensions

Length

4,640mm

Width

2,017mm

Height

1,389mm

Max towing weight unbraked - braked

745kg – 1800kg

 

2017 BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

There's a greater initial outlay than the 3 Series, but that’s reflected in its greater standard specification. The likelihood is of good retained values, too, as the 4 Series is further up the food chain than the 3 Series, which has become something of a victim of its own success.

Running costs, particularly with the diesels should be very acceptable indeed, with the 420d having an official combined consumption figure in excess of 70mpg when optioned with the eight-speed automatic. That’ll be tricky to achieve in reality, but 50+mpg should be a breeze. Insurance should be inexpensive, too, while leasing for business should be comfortably under £300 for a SE 420d auto, and under £350 for a 430d M Sport. If you’re leasing privately, expect to pay around £100  more a month across all model choices.

Reliability and servicing

Condition based servicing via the trip computer display means it’ll only be serviced when the car senses it needs to be. Reliability should be good, too, though BMW’s customer satisfaction of late hasn’t been quite as it once was. Servicing costs can be kept manageable, with BMW offering fixed-cost servicing packs, while the warranty is for three-years unlimited miles.

Minor

Variable - condition based

Major

Variable - condition base

2017 BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

At around £3,000 more than its 3 Series alternative the conceptually similar 4 Series might be tricky to justify, but the sharper again looks and more capacious hatchback boot make it worthy of that premium. It’s better equipped as standard, too, though BMW could have been a little bit bolder with the looks - it lacks the distinction something like an Audi A5 Sportback has over its A4 saloon relation, for example. Its biggest problem is you could have a BMW 5 Series for much the same money, the newer being bigger, safer and just as comprehensibly equipped, if not quite as stylish. 

Recommendations

Tech Junky

Any M Sport comes gains the BMW Professional media package as standard, as well as metallic paint, though you’ll still need a few choice options like the Driving Assistant, Surround Camera, AppleCarplay and extended Bluetooth if you want the richest spec - in every sense.  

Company Car buyer

A 420d SE auto makes a lot of sense, comes well equipped and has tax-friendly CO2 emissions. 

Car Enthusiast

The 440i M Sport on Adaptive M Sport Suspension covers all bases in the absence of a proper M model.

Rivals

Audi A5 Sportback

Longer, lower hatchback version of the Audi A4, the A5 Sportback is more outstanding in its looks, but the BMW is the better drive.. 

BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo

Similar idea, but wearing a 3 Series badge rather than the 4. Not as appealing visually, but even more spacious.. 

Range Rover Evoque

Okay, so it’s not an obvious rival, but if you’re buying on looks, the Evoque makes a strong case for itself. 

Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe

An SUV coupe might be the antithesis of the 4 Series Gran Coupe, but buyers are likely to consider one as an alternative.

BMW 5 Series

A bigger four-door saloon, that’s newer, more spacious and similar money. It’s a tough choice between them.

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