2015 BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe Road Test

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2015 BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe Coupe

(2.0L 4-cyl. Turbo 8-speed Automatic)
  • 2015 BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe

    2015 BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe

    At first glance, the 2015 BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe is barely distinguishable from the standard 3 Series sedan. | May 23, 2014

47 Photos

Quick Summary:
A variation on the 3 Series sedan, the new 4 Series Gran Coupe blends five-door practicality with a sporty silhouette. Don't let the hatchback put you off, though, as the Gran Coupe drives smaller than it looks.

What Is It?
The BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe is essentially a sleeker, sportier version of the 3 Series sedan. Instead of a traditional trunk, the 4 Gran Coupe has a hatchback rear end which, along with its lower roof line, gives it a unique profile.

Like the other variations of the 3 Series, the 4 Series Gran Coupe is available with a choice of two different engines. The 428i gets a 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 240 horsepower, while the 435i uses a 3.0-liter, turbocharged six-cylinder engine with 300 hp. An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard on all models.

Rear-wheel drive is the default setup, but the 428i also offers an all-wheel-drive version called the 428i xDrive Gran Coupe. A 435i xDrive model will be added later in the model year.

2015 BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe

What Body Styles and Trim Levels Does It Come In?
The BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe is available in only one body style, although it's part of a much larger family of 3 and 4 Series BMWs. The core of the car is derived from the well-known 3 Series, but the Gran Coupe officially belongs to the 4 Series family that also includes a two-door coupe and convertible. In fact, the 4 Series Gran Coupe has all the same exterior dimensions as the coupe except for the height of the roof line, which is slightly elevated to provide more headroom for rear passengers.

There is a similar vehicle known as the 3 Series GT that also has a rear hatchback configuration, but the GT is longer, sits higher and is intended as a more spacious and practical model than the sportier Gran Coupe.

On top of the standard trim, the Gran Coupe is optionally available with three different packages called Luxury Line, Sport Line and M Sport. Luxury Line provides larger 18- or 19-inch wheels and extensive chrome trim on the exterior, along with unique interior colors. Sport Line also provides a choice of 18- or 19-inch alloys, but its color scheme includes black trim on the outside and red trim on the inside. The M Sport package includes unique wheels and exterior trim, along with a retuned suspension and blue brake calipers.

2015 BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe

How Does It Drive?
Thankfully, the Gran Coupe delivers on its sporty looks. A semi-reclined, comfortable driving position and an easily mastered control layout make this BMW a straightforward drive, and an immediately pleasurable one, too.

The smooth, precise steering, the engine's crisp response and the taut body control are all reasons why it feels so rewarding, as does an optional eight-speed transmission that masks its shifts to great effect. The shifter itself is not the most user-friendly setup, but that's an issue across the entire BMW lineup.

Visibility from the driver seat is excellent, encouraging you to enjoy the four-cylinder turbo's performance, which delivers enthusiastic thrust right across the rev range. The car's manners can be enlivened considerably by switching the car's adaptive drive mode selector from Comfort to Sport, or even Sport+.

Dialing up Sport or Sport+ sharpens the accelerator's response while the automatic transmission holds gears longer to intensify the car's urge to satisfying effect. The 428i sounds pleasingly sporting, too, and even faintly like a six-cylinder, although its pulsing rortiness during hard acceleration borders on the coarse.

2015 BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe

A more serious refinement issue is road noise, although the test car's optional 19-inch alloy wheels likely intensified tire roar. If this is something you're sensitive to, we would recommend sticking with one of the smaller wheel options.

These matters tend to be forgotten when the Gran Coupe is presented with a twisting road, however, its precise and eager steering, strong road holding and effective powertrain encouraging spirited driving. Surprisingly, the Gran Coupe generates more body roll than might be expected, but this matters little in practice, the car cornering with confidence and proving very well balanced right up to the edge of its grip.

How Does It Rate in Terms of Interior Comfort?
It might be called a coupe, but the Gran Coupe's cabin is quite generously dimensioned front and rear, though only for four. That's because the rear seat is shaped to push its third and fourth occupants toward the center in order to prevent their heads from getting too close to the car's angled side windows.

It's not that much of a problem unless there's a fifth person to be carried, a mission recommended only for short distances. Otherwise, leg- and headroom are adequate, despite the Gran Coupe's lower roof line compared to a 3 Series sedan.

2015 BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe

Though it's an all-new model, the Gran Coupe's dashboard is shared with the 3 Series sedan, 3 Series GT and the 4 Series coupe. It's none the worse for it, however, being a high-quality structure that's well laid out. However, if you're a regular user of infotainment systems you will want to order the large 8-inch screen, as the standard 6.5-inch is a bit hard to see.

BMW says there are up to 17 cubic feet of storage space in the hatchback area, so this "coupe" is actually quite practical. A wide opening and well-placed cargo hooks further add to this car's all-around usefulness as a daily driver.

What Kind of Mileage Does It Deliver?
The 428i Gran Coupe has not received official mileage numbers from the EPA yet, but BMW says it expects to duplicate the numbers of the 4 Series coupe. With that in mind expect around 27 mpg in combined driving (23 city/35 highway) from the 428i.

2015 BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe

What Are Its Closest Competitors?
Given the unique nature of this car's configuration, more of its competitors fall into the compact sport sedan segment. Audi actually offers a similar type of hatchback in Europe, but in the U.S., the A4 sedan is the closest competitor. A particularly well-made interior, sharp handling and good fuel economy are pluses, but the A4 is a less satisfying drive than the BMW.

Mercedes-Benz has an all-new C-Class sedan about to hit the market, so it's worth a look even if it doesn't offer any type of hatchback setup. The less expensive GLA-Class Mercedes offers hatchback practicality, but it can't match the 4 Series for overall refinement and luxury.

Why Should You Consider This Car?
It has all the performance and handling of a 3 Series sedan, along with unique styling and a little extra room in back. If you want something a little different that you won't see on every corner, the 4 Series Gran Coupe is an intriguing alternative.

Why Should You Think Twice About This Car?
It's more expensive and less practical for carrying passengers than the standard 3 Series sedan. That's a pretty considerable price to pay for unique styling.

Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.

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