Good looking, fast & planted

Prepare to be confused. I am. And I know BMWs. This is the 4 Series, which of course is the two-door brother to the four-door 3 Series. Except you see four doors on the car in these pictures. In fact, it’s got five – because the boot lid is actually a hatchback. 

How does this make sense? Well because this is a Gran Coupe version. But with Coupe obviously implying two doors, this explanation is no help whatsoever, is it? Never mind. Just know that the two-door 4 Series also has a ‘Gran Coupe’ sibling which comes like this. 

Which makes it more practical than a 3 Series? Possibly. You see under the tailgate – which from the outside looks like a window and a small boot – is 470 litres of luggage space. Drop the seats and that expands to 1290 litres – which is very generous in a non-SUV. 

Surely then, there is compromise to be had in the rear passenger compartment? After all, that sloping roofline, which supposedly gives this car its ‘coupe’ identity, must rob the interior of headroom? It’s borderline. I’m 6ft 2in and fit in snugly. If the roof was any lower, or my torso was any taller – admittedly I’m long-legged – it would be too tight. 

Which means that I could ride comfortably in the rear, despite those substantial padded front balti seats seemingly taking up a lot of space, because my knees have room to breathe, if they did take breath, and my feet could tap dance, if they knew how to. It’s beautifully appointed, and you’ll want for little, except an adapter for the USB-C plugs. 

Upfront, things are even more salubrious. Room isn’t an issue, ergonomics are fine, toys are aplenty and the feel is very much BMW sports saloon. Only rear visibility is a little slot-like. 

The M440i is the range-topper with a mild hybrid 3.0-litre straight six aided by twin scroll turbo to put out 374bhp and 500Nm of torque, that endows it with it 0-62mph acceleration in 4.7 seconds and a top speed limited (as usual) to 155mph. Fuel economy is a not unreasonable 35mpg. The price is a less equitable £55,000. 

You can also get this second-generation Gran Coupe (which is wider, longer and taller than before) as a 420i that comes with a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine putting 184bhp to the rear for 0-62mph in 7.9 seconds and achieving 42.8mpg. That’s the ‘entry’ model at £40,500. Meanwhile a 430i has a 245bhp twin turbo version of the 2.0-litre, accelerating nearly two seconds quicker to 62mph at 6.2 and yet still recording 41.5mpg. Price £45,000. 

But given the choice of the three, if you can stretch the extra 15k, grab this M440i xDrive all-wheel drive. It’s comfy and rather sublime to cruise around in, makes you feel important and impresses the neighbours. Meanwhile flick it over to Sports and it’ll bait anything that fancies itself as a sports car. It’ll make the right noises, thunder on changes, pin itself to the tarmac, reassure through the steering, snap you back under power, and generally give your life zest and purpose when on a charge. 

Practical. Luxurious. Great looking. Fast. Smooth. Satisfying. Can you see a downside here, because I can’t? It’s quite possible that the 4 Series Grand Coupe, is the best 3 Series after all. 

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