BMW Remaker went to Palm Springs, CA to test the new 2014 BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe.
The latest addition to the 4 Series family and the second Gran Coupe in the current line-up made its debut earlier this year to fill a niche segment with the likes of Audi A5 Sportback.
We spent three days driving the 2015 BMW 428i Gran Coupe in varying roads and topography of the desert South West. During the same time, we took the elegant 4 Gran Coupe through Mountain Ranges surrounding Palm Springs heading up to Joshua Tree National Park. We also hit Pioneertown, an old Western Movie Set Town built in the 1940s. Just outside of Pioneertown are some incredible twisting rising and dropping mountain roads.
BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe is based on the gorgeous, athletic lines of the 4 Series Coupe. The 4 Series Gran Coupe shares the same wheel base, length and width of the same great handling 4 Series Coupe, but in order to make the four-door coupe, BMW carries out the roofline an extra 4.4 inches.
The Gran Coupe does add 12 mm to the overall height of the car for rear seat passengers. The rear appears to have a regular trunk but lift it open and the “trunk” portion along with the rear back glass lift up.
Though the 4 Series Gran Coupe weighs 115 lbs more than the two-door coupe, both the two and four-door coupes manage a 0-60 in the same 5.7 seconds.
So we took the Gran Coupe to some tight switch back roads to see what is made of. After an extensive and spirited drive, we found the chassis of the 4 Series Gran Coupe to be very composed. Just like all the new BMWs, the settings of Comfort, Sport, Sport Plus and EcoPro are present. Each setting changes efficiency level, shift points, pedal feel, as well as suspension and steering. In the quick switch backs of the mountains, the Sport Plus was an absolute blast. These new M Sport Steering Wheels are prefect – just the right thickness in the hand, the shifting paddles in perfect reach allowing us to also easily control our Bluetooth streaming music.
The only transmission available for the 4 Series Gran Coupe in the United States is the ZF 8 speed “steptronic” transmission. And just as always, the ZF gearbox impresses us. It rips off super quick shifts with the steering wheel shift paddles and this rapid shifting was very helpful keeping the turbo spooled up in the corners.
We found the wider rear track of the 4 Series to give the car more rear end grip when powering out of those tight corners. Steering feels the same as it does in the 4 Series Coupe, meaning it’s well weighted and very precise. It’s not the same as BMW Remaker’s 1M or E92 M3’s hydraulic units, but the electric steering is no longer distracting.
Powering the 4 Series Gran Coupe are the two stalwart motors for BMW in the US, the N20 2.0 liter four-cylinder and the N55 3.0 liter inline six. They are both turbocharged, have direct fuel injection and variable valve timing. Though lost is the old rumble of the inline six motors, the N20 four-cylinder has a character of its own and just pulls and pulls through the hills. It produces a veritable 240 horsepower and 255 ft-lbs of torque available from a low 1250 rpm.
The 0-60 MPH time for the 428i Gran Coupe is 5.7 seconds. Add all-wheel drive and the associated weight to the four-cylinder and the 0-60 MPH doesn’t change because of the traction advantage xDrive affords off the line.
The N55 six-cylinder turbo brings 300 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque to the table. The larger motor does weigh 130 lbs more but the extra horses allow the 435i Gran Coupe to sprint 0-60 in 4.9 seconds.
To evaluate the 428i Gran Coupe’s highway manners we headed up Interstate 10 to the old training tank grounds for World War II in the Palm Desert. Here we also got to see BMW bike racks on the 428i Gran Coupe. As a side note, we did hit the desert on some mountain bikes there and the terrain was killer. The desert sand was exhausting to pedal in because it was so soft but the scenery was gorgeous.
On the way back to the hotel, we enjoyed the Comfort suspension setting with the heated seats. The cold weather package adds heated rear seats and a heated steering wheel. The next morning, we took the 428i Gran Coup out to the Thermal Club Private Race Track to drive some BMW M cars on track but the 4 Gran Coupe was to remain parked during track time. We don’t really see the 4 Series Gran Coupe as a track car, but rather as an extremely rewarding vehicle that can get you anywhere when equipped with xDrive.
STANDARD EQUIPMENT & OPTIONS
The exact model we tested was a 428i xDrive Gran Coupe with the M Sport Pack. The optional M Sport pack ($3,500) when combined with the Dynamic Handling Package ($1,000) really makes the car look and drive a lot better. We tested a 328d with this same combo earlier this year. Better looking alloy wheels, sport seats, M steering wheel, an aerodynamic kit and adaptive M suspension are just a few of the specifics added when checking these boxes. In our opinion, these two options really transform the 4 Series Gran Coupe into what we believe a BMW should feel and handle like.
The rear seats fold down in a 40/60/40 layout and the electrically controlled hatch opens revealing 17 cubic feet of storage. Lay all the back seats down and a spacious 45.9 cubic feet is at your disposal. Even without laying the rear seats down, BMW states the trunk can hold two golf bags or a baby stroller. For not growing any in footprint, the 4 Gran Coupe has really become more functional and retains the better handling of the 4 Series Coupe over its 3 Series sibling.
Surprisingly, the 4 Gran Coupe is actually the least expensive 4 Series even if by just $200. omparing to the 3 Series Gran Turismo is $1,350 less, tough the 3 GT comes standard with xDrive. The 4 Series Gran Coupe is available with the Luxury line, Sport line and M Sport and is on sale now as a 2015 Model.
SHOULD I BUY ONE?
Once you get over the fact that BMW has another four-door coupe and examine the 4 Series Gran Coupe for what it is, you’ll find that BMW has snuck a fantastic looking hatch back into their line up. Historically hatchbacks have not done well in the United States, there was an eleven year absence of hatchbacks between the 1999 318ti and the 2010 BMW 5 Series Gran Truismo.
With the 4 Series Gran Coupe, though, you would never know it has a hatchback, or a lift gate as BMW describes it. The end result in the case of the 4 Series Gran is a great looking and driving car that is incredibly practical.
MSRP $41,250 428i Gran Coupe – Milage 23 city/ 37 hwy
MSRP $43,250 428i xDrive Gran Coupe – Mileage 22/26
MSRP $46,750 435i Gran Coupe – Mileage 21/32
MSRP $ 48,750 435i Gran Coupe xDrive – Mileage 23/35
2015 BMW 428i xDrive Gran Coupe
Carbon Black Metallic $550
M Sport $3500
Cold Weather Package $950
Driver Assistance Package $950
Dynamic Handling Package $1000
Premium Package $2,200
Technology Package $3150
M Sport Brakes $650
Side and Top View Cameras $750
Enhanced B/T and Smartphone int $500
Destination Charge $950
Total MSRP $57,450