BMW 4 Series 420d Sport Gran Coupe

July 2014

picture of car from the front

Handsome nose treatment will be familiar to BMW drivers


Overall Rating 8Overall rating

Value for money Rating 8Value for money

Space and Practicality Rating 7Costs

Space and Practicality Rating 7Space and practicality

Controls and display Rating 8Controls and display

Comfort Rating 8Comfort

Security Rating 8Car security

Safety Rating 8Car safety


  • Smart exterior looks more special than 3 Series saloon
  • Frameless windows and lowered roofline help to make cabin feel special
  • Modest price increase over comparable 3 Series
  • 420d version provides impressive performance and economy


  • A very niche product with debatable purpose
  • Reduced rear headroom is a compromise
  • Price premium over equivalent 3 Series is a significant sum
  • Full and comprehensive engine choice not available

Leaving no stone unturned in the quest for sales, BMW has spun yet another model from its 3/4 Series models with the creation of the 4 Series Gran Coupe. Following the basic template of the 6 Series Gran Coupe, the 4 Series version brings the more stylised exterior of a coupe but with the practicality of four doors.

There has always been a strong demand for the BMW 3 Series regardless of bodystyle, and the Coupe model has always been a strong seller. However there is a sub-genre of coupe that has become more popular in recent years, with a four-door coupe giving a greater sense of style than an ordinary saloon with a slight compromise in terms of practicality.

At first glance the 4 Series looks roughly similar in size to the 3 Series saloon, but there the similarities end. The 4 Series' basic silhouette is related, but actually the number of differences are numerous and the vast majority of panels are different. The 4 Series has different headlights and bumpers, wider wheelarches and 'air breathers' - small vents in the front wings to aid aerodynamic performance.

Mechanically the 4 Series carries over much of its layout direct from the 3 Series saloon. The front engine and rear-wheel drive layout remains identical, although the suspension on the 4 Series is stiffer across the range as well as lower, helping it to have what BMW claims is the lowest centre of gravity of any of its models.

The 4 Series also comes with a reduced engine range compared to the 3 Series, with the pick of the diesel and petrol engines offered with a choice of manual or automatic gearboxes. On the inside the seats are mounted 9mm lower than in the saloon 3 Series which BMW claims increases the sporty feeling.

Our verdict on the BMW 4 Series 420d Sport Gran Coupe

Undoubtedly a niche within a niche, the 4 Series Gran Coupe nonetheless offers an appealing overall package. The sharper exterior is a welcome change from the ubiquity of the 3 Series saloon, while the driving experience remains typically excellent. If it has to be a compact-sized BMW, has to have four doors and must be more stylish than the saloon, this is the car for you.

Costs rating 7

Thanks to the frugal engines options the Gran Coupe can be effectively as inexpensive to run as any of the 3 Series equivalents. Insurance and servicing costs are also in line with the 3 Series, which means more expensive than non-premium alternatives but on a par with direct rivals.

Space and practicality
Space and Practicality Rating 7

Against the tape measure the 4 Series Gran Coupe does give up a little in terms of space compared to the equivalent 3 Series, although it is debatable if the difference is large enough to be noticed by most buyers. Leg and elbow room is good front and rear, with only a slight reduction of rear headroom likely to cause any issues.

picture of car from the rear

Exterior appearance gives impression of much larger car

Controls and display
Controls and Display Rating 8

Clear, understated and attractive displays are the name of the game here, and although much of the Gran Coupe's cabin will be familiar to anyone who has driven or ridden in a BMW, this is no bad thing. After a brief familiarisation period anyone can get to grips with the i-Drive system and navigate the many options with ease.

Comfort Rating 8

The 4 Series Gran Coupe offers a high level of comfort, thanks to the controlled ride especially in models not equipped with sports suspension, the impressive seats front and rear and the low noise levels. For a 2.0-litre diesel the engine is also impressively smooth.

Car security
Security Rating 8

All 4 Series Gran Coupe models come with the essentials such as an engine immobiliser and an alarm system, while the saloon rear end means luggage is always well hidden and protected.

Car safety
Safety Rating 8

Like every BMW the 4 Series has a complex suite of safety aids including Dynamic Stability Control which has different modes to suit your preferred driving style, as well as the typical Electronic Brakeforce Distribution and Emergency Brake Assist. The lengthy options list also includes much more advanced automated systems for the safety conscious.

Driver appeal
Driver Appeal Rating 8

From behind the wheel the 4 Series Gran Coupe definitely feels more rakish and sporty than the equivalent 3 Series, some of which is down to a lower ride height and a lowered seating position. In 420d guise there is ample performance and the engine is keen to rev despite being diesel powered, while the handling is as sharp and rewarding as any BMW of this size.

picture of car interior

Usual high standard of BMW cabin

Family car appeal
Family Appeal Rating 7

The biggest issue for a family would be the 4 Series Gran Coupe's two-seat rear compartment rather than the more practical bench seat, but for a family of four there is space, comfort and a good boot. Ticking the option box for leather trim would also help fend off the worst excesses of small children.

First car appeal
First car Rating 4

A well-funded new driver may have the 4 Series Gran Coupe on their shopping list but it is more likely there are other BMWs that would suit them better. Other than its size and rear visibility there is nothing to make life difficult for an inexperienced driver, although the clutch pedal on manual models is a little heavier than most front-wheel-drive hatchbacks.

Quality and image
Quality and Image Rating 8

BMW's well-founded reputation for quality is easy to appreciate from inside the 4 Series Gran Coupe, thanks to smart materials used throughout and a seemingly high standard of construction. The same can be said for BMW's image which has been carefully managed over the years, and its reputation for producing premium cars with a sporting edge is what draws many buyers to the brand.

Accessibility Rating

With four full-size doors there's an obvious ease to climbing aboard the 4 Series Gran Coupe compared to the regular 4 Series Coupe, although it's important to remember that the Coupe designation means a more rakish roofline and therefore a little more in the way of ducking required. However it's only a slight difference compared to a 3 Series while the boot opens wide to reveal a well sized and shaped aperture.

Stereo and ICE (In car entertainment)

The standard fit system in the Gran Coupe is up to the usual standard, although features such as satellite navigation do cost extra on some models. However the BMW i-Drive is virtually flawless after years of careful honing, combined with the clear central display and the easy to use steering wheel buttons.

picture of car in detail

Rear seats better suited to two rather than three

Colours and trim

The 4 Series Gran Coupe offers the usual broad choice of interior and exterior options depending on the specification chosen, but from the outside at least the grace and style of the shape is better suited to more discreet colours. On the inside dark colours are again the default choice, although a more bold option would be cream leather with wood trim.


The 4 Series Gran Coupe is a little longer than the conventional 3 Series and the slightly smaller rear window means visibility is also fractionally reduced. That said, overall it is relatively easy to park and there are parking aids with varying degrees of sophistication to make life easier.

Spare wheel

Emergency tyre repair kit and run flat tyres fitted as standard.


Range information

Petrol engine options - 420i (184bhp); 428i (245bhp); 435i (306bhp). Diesel engine options - 420d (184bhp); 430d (258bhp); 435d (313bhp). Transmission options: six-speed manual transmission plus eight-speed auto transmission depending on engine choice. Trim levels: SE, Sport, Modern, Luxury, M Sport.


Alternative cars

Mercedes-Benz C-Class saloon No direct coupe rival yet but luxurious and desirable

Audi A5 Sportback Practical and comfortable, arguably not as stylish as the BMW

Maserati Ghibli Style-conscious offering is good to drive

BMW 3 Series saloon Offers almost identical driving experience for less money

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July 2014