The BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe feels sporty to drive and – fitted with adaptive dampers – isn’t too bumpy on poor roads. It’s just that the entry-level diesel is way too noisy.
The BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe has a nice selection of three diesel and two petrol engines for you to choose from. None of them are bad, so you can’t really make a poor choice – it all depends on the way you plan to use your 4 Series Gran Coupe.
The entry-level 420d is arguably the best all rounder. It makes 190hp and has a claimed fuel economy of 67mpg. The 2.0-litre diesel’s only drawback is how noisy it is – similar engines from Audi and Mercedes are much more quiet.
Pick the 174hp petrol 420i if you want the most hushed engine in the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe range, but you’d be better off stepping up to the 430i which uses the same engine but tuned to 252hp which gives the 4 Series Gran Coupe a more than decent turn of speed.
The 420d is the sensible pick even if it can't match the monster acceleration of the 435d or the sound of the 440i
Plan to do lots of motorway miles? Go for one of the 3.0-litre diesel engines. The 430d is a fantastic blend of hot-hatch acceleration and diesel fuel economy, but the 435d is even better. The 435d comes with four-wheel drive as standard so you can make launch-control style getaways all year round – the 0-62mph time of the 435d is 4.8 seconds.
The top-spec petrol, the 440i, is actually a smidge slower than the 435d at 5.1 seconds, but it more than compensates with how it sounds. The 440i is the only six-cylinder petrol available for the 4 Series Gran Coupe and, yes, it’s not cheap, but you’d struggle to find an engine that better matches the character of the 4 Series Gran Coupe.
Out of the box, the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe is more fun to drive than cars such as the Audi A5 Sportback or Mercedes C-Class, thanks to its quick and accurate steering, minimal body lean and confidence-inspiring firm suspension.
That said, some choice picks from the options list – such as BMW’s Adaptive M Sport suspension – can make it even better. It allows you to set the suspension to Comfort or Sport, the former making it more cosseting on bumpy roads, while the latter stops the car leaning in corners. In its most aggressive Sport+ setting, you can even slide the car safe in the knowledge that the stability control system will step in if you get too sideways – if that’s your thing.
The 4 Series’ six-speed manual gearbox offers slick shifts and helps you feel more involved, but if you want a more relaxing driving experience then buy the eight-speed automatic that changes gear almost imperceptibly.
On the motorway, the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe, while pretty hushed, is still noisier than alternatives such as the Audi A5 and Mercedes C-Class.
The Audi and Mercedes should also be a little bit safer. They were subjected to tougher crash-testing than the 2012 evaluation the BMW won five Euro NCAP stars for. The 4 Series gets all the basic safety kit you would expect as standard, including a full complement of airbags and stability control. However, active cruise control – which matches the speed of the car in front before returning to a preselected cruising speed – is a £620 option that needs to be specified with the £1,690 automatic gearbox. The self-drive functions offered by Audi and Mercedes aren’t available.