Used 2015 BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe Review
Edmunds expert review
Existing somewhere between coupe and sedan, the four-door 2015 BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe blends stylish fastback looks with refined performance and utility.
What's new for 2015
It's fair to admit some puzzlement over a BMW 4 Series with four doors. After all, BMW rebranded its two-door 3 Series as the 4 Series just last year. So why call this a 4 rather than a 3? The 2015 BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe also shares the same length, wheelbase and width as the two-door, contributing to the confusion.
Then again, BMW has an enthusiasm for creating niches that don't exist. In the case of the 4 Series Gran Coupe, it's a coupe in name only, as it does indeed have four doors. It's fair to say that this new four-door is better-looking than the 3 Series sedan, as it sports the 4 Series' lower, slightly wider and more aggressive-looking stance. And instead of a trunk, the Gran Coupe offers a hatchback-style liftgate that enhances cargo loading ease and versatility.
The Gran Coupe doesn't differ under the hood, though. The 428i model offers the same, surprisingly powerful 240-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder found in other BMW 28i models, while a turbocharged six-cylinder finds its way into the 435i. A standard eight-speed automatic transmission wrings the most performance and frugality out of either engine and features steering wheel paddles if you want to shift it yourself.
Given its unique style and dimensions, the 2015 BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe has no real direct competitors. But as an alternative to the BMW 3 Series sedan, it too can be compared to entry-level sport sedans like the Audi A4, Lexus IS and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. Like the 3 Series, the 4 GC is a driver's choice in that group while delivering above-average fuel economy, commendable interior quality and the expected list of comfort and convenience features.
They all represent thinly sliced differences to be sure, but if you desire a dash of style with a sensible side of utility, then the 2015 BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe is a niche vehicle worth consideration.
Trim levels & features
The 2015 BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe is a five-passenger, four-door hatchback styled as a coupe. It is offered in two primary trims: 428i and 435i.
Standard equipment on the 428i Gran Coupe includes 17-inch wheels, a sunroof, adaptive xenon headlights, foglights, rain-sensing wipers, a power liftgate, auto-dimming side and rearview mirrors, a sunroof, leatherette (premium vinyl) upholstery, eight-way power front seats, driver memory settings, dual-zone automatic climate control, a 6.5-inch display screen, BMW's iDrive electronics interface, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, BMW Assist and a nine-speaker sound system with a CD player, a USB/iPod interface, an auxiliary audio jack and HD radio.
The 435i is equipped similarly, but comes with a more powerful engine and 18-inch wheels.
Several option packages are available to help customize the 4 Series Gran Coupe. Three optional equipment lines -- Luxury, Sport and M Sport -- include unique wheel designs (18- and 19-inch diameters), color schemes and trim and upholstery types. The Sport and M Sport also include summer performance tires, performance-tuned suspensions and 10-way front sport seats. The M Sport goes further, adding aerodynamic enhancements and a sport steering wheel.
The Premium package equips the Gran Coupe with a hands-free power liftgate (works by swiping a foot under a sensor in the rear bumper), leather upholstery, four-way power front-seat lumbar settings, keyless entry and ignition and satellite radio. The Technology package adds a navigation system with an 8.8-inch display screen, a touchpad iDrive controller, a head-up display, BMW Apps (allows control of smartphone apps including Pandora, Stitcher and Facebook) and BMW Remote Services.
LED headlights and automatic high beam control are available in the Lighting package, while a Cold Weather package adds heated front and rear seats, and a heated steering wheel. The Driver Assistance package adds a rearview camera and front and rear parking sensors, and can be enhanced with the Driver Assistance Plus package, which adds blind-spot monitoring, lane-departure warning, frontal collision warning and mitigation, and a side- and top-view camera system.
Finally, the Dynamic Handling package enhances the car's performance with adaptive suspension dampers and variable-ratio sport steering.
Several of the features listed above can be ordered as stand-alone options. Other individual options include upgraded brakes, adaptive cruise control, automatic parallel parking assist and a 16-speaker Harman Kardon surround-sound audio system.
Performance & mpg
The 2015 BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe offers two engine options, both paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission (a manual transmission is not available). Rear-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive (denoted as "xDrive") is optional.
The 428i uses a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 240 hp and 255 pound-feet of torque. It is EPA-rated to return 27 mpg combined (23 city/34 highway) with rear-wheel drive and 26 mpg combined (22/32) with all-wheel drive. In Edmunds performance testing, a rear-drive 428i went from zero to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds, which is very quick for a turbocharged four-cylinder in this segment.
Going with the 435i gets you a turbocharged six-cylinder that generates 300 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque, and returns an EPA-estimated 25 mpg combined (21 city/32 highway) with rear-drive and 24 mpg combined (20 city/31 highway) with all-wheel drive. BMW estimates that it will hit 60 mph in 4.9 seconds.
The 2015 BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe comes standard with antilock brakes, traction and stability control, front side airbags, side curtain airbags and front knee airbags.
The stability control system integrates several features designed to improve braking performance, such as periodically wiping the brake rotors dry when the windshield wipers are in use and automatically snugging the pads to the rotors when the driver abruptly lifts off the gas pedal. BMW Assist emergency communications is standard and includes automatic crash notification and roadside assistance. The optional Remote Services adds stolen vehicle recovery, remote door unlocking and use of the BMW Remote smartphone app.
Other safety options (many of which come bundled in packages) include parking sensors (front and rear), a rearview camera, side- and top-view cameras, blind-spot monitoring, a lane departure warning system, frontal collision warning, automatic braking for frontal collision mitigation and an automated parking system.
In Edmunds brake testing, a 428i M Sport came to a stop from 60 mph 115 feet, which is actually a bit long for a car with summer tires.
If the driving dynamic hallmarks of the BMW 3 Series appeal to you, so, too, will the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe's. Namely, precisely weighted steering, responsive brakes and a masterfully tuned suspension that keeps the car planted through turns and makes you feel perpetually in control, yet still dampens bumps to a degree that few other manufacturers have been able to match. It is firmer than others to be sure, especially with the available sport-tuned suspension, but this is manifested in feeling more contours of the road and being a bit more jiggly at times rather than anything resembling harshness.
There is absolutely no shame in choosing the 428i, as it is considerably quicker than other sport sedans with turbocharged four-cylinders. It even sounds kind of cool and delivers thrifty fuel economy to boot. Really, this "base" engine is so good that we'd think twice about ponying up for the 435i -- although its sultry, torque-rich turbocharged six-cylinder would probably make us think thrice about which engine to choose. Either way, you can't go wrong.
While it's puzzling that BMW does not offer a manual transmission here as it does with the 3 Series sedan and the 4 Series coupe, at least the eight-speed automatic works exceptionally well in both normal (fully automatic) driving mode and manual mode, with the driver working the paddle shifters.
The 4 Series Gran Coupe might be new, but its cabin is instantly familiar as a classy and premium 3 Series design. The company's classic analog sport gauges link to BMW's storied heritage, while the Luxury, Sport and M Sport offer plenty of range to tailor the cabin to your aesthetic taste.
The standard 6.5-inch display screen that interfaces with the Gran Coupe's technology and entertainment functions is adequate, but you'll want the larger, optional screen included with the Technology package for a true luxury electronics interface. The iDrive system continues to evolve throughout the BMW lineup and along with that bigger screen, the Technology package also adds a touchpad atop the dial controller that lets you hand write inputs using your finger. Both iDrive systems feature crisp graphics and quick processing times, but it typically requires a few more clicks and twirls to get what you want compared to rival systems.
The Gran Coupe's neatest trick is that it offers coupelike proportions and styling -- a sleek, sloping roof line and short front and rear bumper profiles -- with much of the utility of a sedan and hatchback. That handsome roof line reduces rear headroom compared to the various 3 Series models, and the result is that those of even average height will be slouching a bit to get comfortable. Legroom is also comparatively reduced, but is certainly sufficient.
The Gran Coupe's rear hatch opens to 14 cubic feet of cargo space, which may be only 1 cube greater than the 3 Series sedan, but more importantly, it's far easier to load due to the substantially larger opening. The hatchback design also increases maximum cargo space to 45.9 cubic feet when the 40/20/40-split rear seat is folded. By comparison, the 3 Series Gran Turismo offers 18.4 cubic feet and 56.5 cubic feet, respectively, along with considerably more backseat space.
Edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.