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Expert Review

BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe Hatchback (2021 - ) review

A sleek four-door with a big boot and space for the family, the 4 Series Gran Coupe is also a stylish and sporty drive

The Free Trader UK expert verdict:

4

Available new from £41,650

Combine the glamour of the BMW 4 Series with the four-door usability of a 3 Series saloon, finish off with a practical hatchback tailgate and big boot and you have, perhaps, the best of all worlds with the 4 Series Gran Coupe. While it’s undoubtedly an indulgent purchase it’s also one you can make with your heart and head in agreement, given it can play modern, connected commuter Monday to Friday, sensible family car at the weekends and – should opportunity arise – act like a proper sporting coupe as well. A lack of the plug-in hybrid options found in the rest of the BMW range may seem a missed opportunity but, given the i4 is based on the same car, there is, effectively, an EV version of the 4 Series Gran Coupe in all but name.

Reasons to buy:

  • tickSleek looks and desirability
  • tickPractical at the same time
  • tickGood to drive

At a glance:

Running costs for a BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe

BMW is smart about nailing CO2 numbers to make running costs palatable for company drivers
In terms of size and potential target audience there seems a reasonable overlap between the 4 Series Gran Coupe and the 3 Series saloon with which it shares its foundations, which may have you questioning why it costs so much more. In reality the Gran Coupe is aimed at a more premium audience, and starts with a higher level of specification than the 3 Series so can be considered a step above. Something given visual weight in its adoption of the prominent 4 Series grille, meaning it looks far more distinct than on previous generations. Pricing is seemingly on a par with its nearest rival the Audi A5 Sportback, though the BMW is a much fresher product. In terms of running costs the diesel and biggest petrol engine options include ’mild’ hybrid technology, but this is only a small helping hand for emissions and performance and no 4 Series Gran Coupe can go any distance on battery power alone. BMW is still smart about nailing CO2 numbers to make running costs palatable for company drivers but the lack of a plug-in option seems limiting. Fear not, though, because if you really want to reduce your Benefit In Kind costs the all-electric i4 is basically a 4 Series Gran Coupe with electric motors instead of internal combustion engines. The cost and performance comparison between the top petrol model – the M440i – and the eDrive40 version of the i4 is close enough to make it a straight either/or, so if running costs are your key consideration there is that electrified option.
Expert rating: 3/5

Reliability of a BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe

There isn’t yet sufficient reliability data available to make an informed judgement on how the 4 Series Gran Coupe will perform
Being so new, there isn’t yet sufficient reliability data available to make an informed judgement on how the 4 Series Gran Coupe will perform here. The fact it shares its foundations and most of its engines with the 3 Series does offer a sense, though, and going by Warranty Direct’s appraisal of the previous generation of that car the news isn’t especially encouraging. It’s the same story in the JD Power Vehicle Dependability Study, BMW sitting at the bottom of the table below rivals like Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Lexus.
Expert rating: 2/5

Safety for a BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe

The cameras and sensors will also automatically bring you to a stop if a pedestrian or cyclist steps or pulls out in front of you
BMW boasts there are as many as 40 automated assistance systems available on the 4 Series Gran Coupe if you tick every box but, even as standard, the car packs an impressive array of technology to both keep you safe and take the stress out of everyday driving. This includes a reversing camera with automated brake inputs to intervene if you fail to spot an obstacle when manoeuvring and a Parking Assistant system to guide you into bays. The cameras and sensors will also automatically bring you to a stop if a pedestrian or cyclist steps or pulls out in front of you. Choose the optional Driving Assistant Professional package and your 4 Series Gran Coupe will pretty much drive itself, adjusting its speed according to traffic and speed limits, tweaking the steering to keep you in lane and automatically pulling up and setting off in stop and go traffic.
Expert rating: 5/5

How comfortable is the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe

This more traditional interpretation of a ‘sporty’ seating position plays to old-school BMW fans
Given the prevailing fashion for SUVs and crossovers it comes as a shock just how low-slung the 4 Series Gran Coupe feels in comparison. This more traditional interpretation of a ‘sporty’ seating position plays to old-school BMW fans and, thanks to the access afforded by the rear doors, makes the Gran Coupe more accessible for the rest of the family than a regular 4 Series. BMW claims five usable seats but, inevitably, the person in the middle of the back row gets a pretty raw deal and, in reality, it’s a four-seater. A comfortable one at that, with plenty of legroom for adults in the back and reasonable headroom even with the sloping roof. The hatchback style tailgate, and big boot beneath it, mean nobody needs to pack light, while with the seats flattened there’s space for bikes, boards or whatever other kit a sporty couple may need to tick those lifestyle boxes. Although based on the 3 Series the 4 Series has been made to feel much sportier, thanks to everything from extra body reinforcement to stiffer suspension settings. As standard it comes with BMW’s M Sport suspension, the cars we drove all fitted with the optional adaptive system you can control via the mode buttons next to the gear selector. In its standard mode it strikes an excellent balance between sporty poise and bump-smothering comfort, the balanced handling and nicely weighted steering making the 4 Series a real pleasure to drive on both motorways and twisty backroads. We’d advise against using the Sport mode, though. The artificial mush it adds to the steering feels nasty and the suspension gets unnecessarily harsh – you can at least personalise this mode to get your favoured combination of settings, though.
Expert rating: 4/5

Features of the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe

The standard kit is generous, including a fully digital instrument display and an impressive central touch-screen
BMW’s familiar M Sport trim level is the base for all 4 Series models, reflecting its more premium position against the 3 Series. As such the standard kit is generous, including a fully digital instrument display and an impressive central touch-screen which you can control from the wheel, by voice, gesture or a large turn-and-push dial. Compared with the fiddly touchpads on Mercedes and Lexus rivals the latter is an absolute blessing for the Luddites among us who don’t like talking to machines or waving our hands around in thin air to try and swap radio stations. Standard features include Live Cockpit Professional with various connected services, including live traffic updates, music streaming and an online personal assistant. If you prefer to run things from your smartphone it’s fully compatible with both CarPlay and Android Auto, too. Beyond that there’s huge scope to add to the tech (and price…) with more gizmos and luxury features as your wallet permits.
Expert rating: 4/5

Power for a BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe

All 4 Series Gran Coupes drive through a slick, eight-speed automatic with a selection of driving modes
There’s something of a divide in the engine line-up for the 4 Series Gran Coupe, separating the ‘regular’ four-cylinder petrols (both 2.0-litre turbos with two power outputs), tax-friendly 420d diesel and - out on a limb - the rather more potent M440i petrol with its 374 horsepower, 3.0-litre six-cylinder engine. The latter is a seriously powerful and charismatic engine, a mild hybrid system (also featured on the 420d) helping its fuel consumption and CO2 numbers a tad but running costs still likely to be hefty. If you want your Gran Coupe to live up to the sporty looks it’s the one to go for, though, the standard all-wheel drive meaning it can put its power to the road whatever the weather. This option is also available on the 420d, if you feel you need it. All 4 Series Gran Coupes drive through a slick, eight-speed automatic with a selection of driving modes letting you adjust response, shift speed and various other parameters. Back in the real world the 420i has its work cut out against the hefty weight of the car and can sound a little strained and unrefined at times, though at a more relaxed pace does a decent job and fades into the background. If you don’t like the idea of a diesel the more powerful 430i might be the best all-round compromise of pace, price and efficiency.
Expert rating: 4/5

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