Riding on a version of the same platform that underpins the 3-Series sedan and 4-Series coupe, the Gran Coupe shares most of its styling with the former, including its wide stance, flared hood and muscular lower fascia. The extra rear doors, longer roofline and extended wheelbase of the Gran Coupe do little to diminish the look's voluptuousness.
Backing up the athletic appearance is a choice of two powerful yet efficient turbocharged and directed-injected motors. The 428i uses a 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 240 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque - potent enough to propel the four-door from zero-to-60 mph in the mid-five-second range - while the 435i packs a 3.0-liter inline-six with 300 horsepower and 300 lb-ft of torque. When properly equipped, BMW says the 435i can hit 60 mph in just over five seconds.
Both motors come standard with an eight-speed automatic that's available with paddle shifters. Rear-wheel-drive is the default configuration, while all-wheel-drive can be spec'd to make the 4-Series a sure-footed four seasons vehicle in northern climates. Known as xDrive in BMW-speak, the AWD system can apportion engine output so as to reduce understeer and ensure neutral handling dynamics.
Fuel economy for the various 4-Series Gran Coupe permutations are as follows: 23/34 city/highway mpg for the 428i; 22/33 mpg for the 428i xDrive; 21/32 for the 435i; and 20/31 for the 435i Gran Coupe. Aiding economy is an auto-start system, regenerative braking and an ECO PRO system that provides tips on reducing consumption.
The 4-Series is fitted with a lowered, specially tuned version of the 3-Series sedan's suspension. A strut located between the front axle's subframe unit and the body stiffens the front end for more precise steering and better body control, while the rear five-link suspension is also optimized for spirited driving.
As with the 3-Series sedan, the 4-Series Gran Coupe is offered in several "Design Lines," two of which feature a unique suspension setup to go along with their model-specific exterior and interior equipment. The Sport Line and M Sport Line trims utilize a taut M Sport suspension with a firmer spring/shock absorber arrangement, stiffer anti-roll bars, and tweaked bearings and bushings.
Alternately, the 4-Series Gran Coupe can be fitted with an adaptive suspension that electronically adjusts the dampers to suit any road or driving style. It's available as part of the Dynamic Handling package, which also replaces the standard electric-assist steering setup with a Variable Sport system that changes its ratio depending on the amount of steering lock the driver inputs.
Inside, the 4-Series' dashboard is largely identical to that of the 3-Series sedan. That means there's simple, straightforward instrumentation, driver-focused controls and premium materials.
Mounted front and center is a 6.5-inch infotainment screen that displays sound system, climate control and (when equipped) navigation system info. It's controlled by BMW's much-improved iDrive interface, although redundant buttons and voice commands give users alternate means of accessing the electronics.
The optional navigation system is available with Google point-of-interest search and real time traffic information, and it also features a touchpad mounted on the iDrive knob that lets users write out phone numbers, contact names and navigation destinations - and also zoom in or zoom out the map - with a finger.
Other extra-cost gadgetry includes active cruise control that uses radar and a camera to maintain a set distance from the car in front (even in stop-and-go traffic); a Surround View camera system that provides a birds-eye, 360-degree view of the environment around the car; and a high-resolution Head-Up system that displays vehicle speed along with speed limit and navigation info on the lower windshield.
Despite its attractive styling, the 4-Series Gran Coupe boasts a reasonably spacious backseat that can hold two adults. The rear backrest folds down in 40:20:40 segments for added utility, and when the center section is folded, it acts as a ski or snowboard slot. As with BMW's sedans, a swipe of a foot under the bumper can open the trunk when the optional Comfort Access package is ordered.
In addition to a base configuration, the 4-Series Gran Coupe is offered in four optional "Design Lines" with special exterior and interior equipment: Sport Line, Luxury Line and Modern Line and performance-oriented M Sport Line.
All 4-Series Gran Coupe models come standard with leatherette upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, a AM/FM/CD stereo with HD radio and a USB input, Bluetooth connectivity with audio streaming, automatic climate control, a moonroof, cruise control, adaptive and auto-leveling xenon headlights, foglights, a 6.5-inch infotainment screen and 17-inch alloy wheels.
Sport Line models include high gloss black accents outside, red trim bits inside, an increased top speed limiter and sports seats. An anthracite headliner further sports up the mood from the driver's seat. Rear-drive Sport Line models also include a tightened sports suspension.
Ordering the Luxury Line trim adds chrome and matte black touches to the outside plus additional chrome and high gloss wood inside. Buyers can choose bewteen Ash Grain anthracite wood trim or brushed aluminum trim.
M Sports go further than Sport Lines with an aero-oriented exterior bodykit and unique M division-designed wheels, steering wheel and door sills. On the function side, M Sports include a sport suspension (with rear-wheel-drive) and, on 435i models, M Sport brakes (available as a stand alone option on all 428is and standard trim 435is).
BMW's heritage-laced Estoril Blue paint scheme is offered exclusively on the M Sport. Both M Sport and Sport Line models include identical suspension settings.
Packages and Stand-Alone Options
Aside from the previously detailed Dynamic Handling Package, there are other six optional equipment packages.
The Technology package includes a navigation system with touchpad, a head-up display, BMW Online with Google POI search, BMW Apps, a demo mode for the heads-up display, advanced real-time traffic info and an instrument cluster with expanded content.
The Premium Package brings a "Comfort Access" proximity key with a power-operated trunk that can be opened by waving a foot under the rear bumper, power lumbar support for the front seats and leather upholstery.
The Cold Weather package adds heated front seats, a heated steering wheel and retractable headlight washers. The Lighting Package nets automatic high beams. The Driver Assistance Package includes rear parking sensors and a rearview camera.
Driver Assistance Plus includes side and top view camera, speed limit info, a lane departure warning system, active blind spot detection and Active Driving Assistant (detailed below).
Stand-alone options include a 16-speaker Harmon Kardon surround sound system, active cruise control, M Sport Brakes, a navigation system, a power rear sunshade, heated front seats, concierge services with personalized hotel and dining recommendations and a parking assistant that steers the car into a parking space while the driver controls the gas and brake pedals.
All 4-Series Gran Coupe models come standard with dual front, front knee, front side and full-length side curtain airbags in addition to traction and stability control systems and a tire pressure monitoring system.
The Active Driving Assistant system, included in the Driver Assistance Plus package, uses a camera mounted in the rearview mirror to detect imminent collisions with pedestrians, vehicles or other obstacles and warn the driver. It can also automatically apply the brakes to prevent or mitigate the severity of a crash.
As a compact four-door luxury coupe, the 4-Seres Gran Coupe doesn't have any direct competitors. Perhaps its toughest competition comes from within BMW's lineup, where the equally sporty - albeit less sexy - 3-Series sedan can be had for roughly $3,000 less.