|Photos by Ulysses Ang|
The 2015 BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe is the latest one to challenge the moniker, and unlike some of its other “coupe” variations, this one is drop-dead gorgeous. Let’s back track a bit: the 4 Series Gran Coupe is essentially a four-door version of the 4 Series, which is itself a two-door version of the 3 Series. You follow? Wouldn’t that simply make it another 3 Series then? Perhaps, but this one’s prettier, as it uses the 4’s sexier styling, with its lower nose, wider stance, and edgier details. It’s also technically a five-door hatchback, not a sedan per se, and it utilizes frameless doors, which counts for something in BMW coupe-land.
Regardless of the naming, there’s no denying that this is a thing of beauty. The front is dominated by the trademark double-kidney grille and dual round headlights set inside an angular housing. The lower air intake, located in the front apron, has been visually unified into one piece to give it that extra flair. At the profile, the short overhangs, long hood, set-back passenger compartment, and 19-inch alloy wheels all impart a commanding presence. This particular model wears BMW’s Sport line and features high-gloss black finished elements found in the bumpers, kidney grille, and side air breather. It works very well, contrasting with the sporty red color to partake a sporty vibe.
Inside, the 4 Series Gran Coupe is pure 3 Series with a slightly lower seating position for both front and rear occupants. Sitting upfront, it gives you a feeling of intimacy not found in any of the 3 Series models while keeping the available legroom roomy enough to make it comfortable. Meanwhile, those sitting in the back would be glad to know that the rear doors open wide making getting in and out easy despite the door’s short length. You won’t bump your head on the roof as you get in either since the roofline doesn’t slope until aft of the door. This also means less impact in rear-seat headroom; indeed, the longer roofline allows adults to ride in the backseats much more comfortably compared to the regular 4 Series (non Gran) Coupe. The Gran Coupe’s hatchback body also makes for a wide and deep cargo area and the rear seats now fold in a three-way split: 40/20/40. A power lift gate with programmable opening height is standard and is extremely useful.
As a Sport line variant, this 4 Series Gran Coupe features an all-black interior that’s exquisitely finished with top level materials throughout. It imparts a more serious, “drive me hard” tone with its body hugging sport seats and thick-rimmed three-spoke steering wheel. The seats are certainly welcome and are very comfortable even during long distance drives. The tiller though is somewhat small and blocks some parts of the gauge cluster. Nonetheless, it’s a joy to use whether you’re flicking it through switchbacks or caressing its supple leather in traffic. The only whimsical touch to the interior is the high-gloss black trim with coral red highlights. It’s a slightly light-hearted nod to yuppie tastes without going overboard.
With a trunk badge that reads ‘420d’, this 4 Series Gran Coupe comes loaded with BMW’s 2.0-liter four-cylinder diesel that tops out at 184 horsepower at 4,000 rpm and 380 Nm of torque from 1,750 to 2,750 rpm. The horsepower figure may not be something to write home about, but its performance is sufficiently sporty. Response is immediate and there’s plenty of power at every part of the engine rev range. Zero to 100 km/h comes in just 7.5 seconds and it can reach up to 236 km/h, figures which are impressive. The note though is unmistakably an oil burner, but at least it’s smooth and unobtrusive. At higher speeds, it’s quiet, with the only audible sound being the tire noise from the low-profile Bridgestones. That said, there’s still a disconnect with the 420’d sporty looks and rather unsporty sounding powertrain; diesels normally don’t fuel sexy coupes after all. The locomotive-like engine with its wide power band is nicely mated to the 8-speed automatic, which in itself is magical. The paddle shifters also give a satisfyingly solid action.
Equipped with BMW’s TwinPower Turbo and EfficientDynamics package, the 420d sips diesel at a surprisingly low rate. With the idle start/stop on the entire time, it pushes 13.69 km/L in the city and 25.21 km/L on the highway. A week’s worth of mixed use driving returns 16.13 km/L. Together with its large fuel tank, fill ups can be realistically done every 800 kilometers or so.
High-speed stability is and always has been a 3 and 4 Series forte, and it’s no less so in this case. Despite adding some 100 kilograms or so of weight versus the non-Gran Coupe, BMW has done their homework and keeps the Gran Coupe sharp through corners. The added weight is due to structural reinforcements and, of course, the power tailgate, but it nonetheless mimics the sporty feeling of driving a two-door coupe. Grip levels are high during cornering and steering is delightfully neutral enabling you to point it to your desired direction with ease. In terms of shock absorption, it achieves the perfect balance of taking the edge off bumps without floating over them.
Given their similar interiors as well as the added practicality of the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe, it’s hard to imagine why anyone would choose a 3 Series. The savings still amount to P 800,000 between the traditional 4-door sedan and 4-door coupe, but with list prices already north of P 3-million, the difference sounds like a small price to pay for the added style and flair that the 420d Gran Coupe Sport provides. More than anything, the 4 Series Gran Coupe feels like a 3 Series unburdened by history and tradition. It’s an edgier, more focused take on the sports sedan, sports coupe, or whatever you wish to call it. The 3 Series may have made BMW, but the 4 Series Gran Coupe is making them awesome.
2015 BMW 420d Gran Coupe
|Ownership||2015 BMW 420d Gran Coupe Sport|
|Vehicle Classification||Luxury Car|
|Body Type||5-door Hatchback|
|Engine / Drive||F/R|
|Under the Hood|
|Aspiration||Twin Turbo, Common Rail Direct Injection|
|Layout / # of Cylinders||Inline-4|
|BHP @ rpm||184 @ 4,000|
|Nm @ rpm||380 @ 1,750-2,750|
|Fuel / Min. Octane||Diesel|
|Cruise Control||No (Limiter Only)|
|Dimensions and Weights|
|Curb Weight (kg)||1,540|
|Suspension and Tires|
|Front Suspension||Independent, MacPherson Strut|
|Rear Suspension||Independent, Multi-link|
|Front Brakes||Vented Disc|
|Rear Brakes||Vented Disc|
|Tires||Bridgestone Potenza S001 225/45 R 19 W
Bridgestone Potenza S001 255/39 R 19 W (r)
|Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS)||Yes|
|Traction / Stability Control||Yes|
|Parking Sensors||Yes, Front and Rear|
|Fog Lamps||Yes, Front/Rear|
|Steering Wheel Adjustment||Tilt/Telescopic|
|Steering Wheel Material||Leather|
|Seating Adjustment||Electric (front)|
|Folding Rear Seat||Yes, 40/20/40|
|Power Door Locks||Yes|
|Power Mirrors||Yes, with Fold|
|Climate Control||Yes, Dual|
|No. of Speakers||9|
|Steering Wheel Controls||Yes|