You could easily mistake the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe for a 3 Series saloon, and to be honest, when I first saw the release of the 4 Series Gran Coupe I thought it was rather pointless (though it looks so desirable) because BMW already builds a similar car, the 3 Series Saloon which is a luxurious, sporty 4 door car. That’s until I got to get behind the wheel of it for a week. Built with the practicality of the 3 Series and sporty dynamics of the 4 Series Coupe, the Gran Coupe sets its sights on dethroning the Audi the Audi A5 Sportback, its direct competitor.
I love the styling of the BMW 420i GranCoupe, even more, now that it has received BMW’s LCI (Life Cycle Impulse) in plain terms the car is about three years old and could do with a bit of a nip and tuck here and there to keep things fresh. Having pillarless doors and a lower roofline makes the car look sleek and with the updated features on the exterior such as the front bumper and rear apron makes it look sharper. It is fitted with new front and rear LED lights, I love the rear ones the most with its fluid design and how it complements the cars rather classy wide rear end. The model I got to drive was also fitted with BMW’s M Sport Package (R40 100 option) and rolled on 19″ M 704 Double Alloy Wheels finished in Orbit Grey (R19 100 option). Ladies and gentlemen, this car has presence, class, even with the M Sport Package has that sense of sophistication.
The interior is pretty neat and simple, other than minor trim finishes the 420i Gran Coupe comes with BMW’s new iDrive infotainment system and digital dash which is an upgrade but a bit of an issue under direct sunlight, I found myself squinting at times to read the display. I love the seats, super comfortable and supportive, the one I drove didn’t come with lumbar support so seating adjustments had to be done manually, personally, I’d tick the lumbar support on the options list because it gives you that perfect seating position that you want. While having to adjust the seats manually and not finding that pinpoint perfect driving position the Leather ‘Dakota’ Cognac/Brown upholstery option made up for it, every time I’d jump out the car, friends or any onlooker would gaze in amazement, truly is an amazing colour. And oh, did I mention the steering wheel? I swear BMW consulted with the heavens before fitting the M Leather steering wheel into this car. It’s by far the best steering wheel I’ve ever driven with, the width, the stitching, everything about it is just perfect!
The 420i Gran Coupe has a low roofline which some might think will hinder headroom front and rear, and yet surprisingly. Getting in and out of the car is a tricky affair, the car is pretty low, after all, it has to maintain that sportiness. It’s more of a 2 + 2 car for long-distance trips, making sure the third person has to be a bit a smaller in size if you want to sit comfortably in the rear seats. Grocery shopping in this car is a breeze, the boot holds 480 liters and when folded holds up to 1300 liters making long trips less of a headache when it comes to the “what are we taking and what are we leaving behind?” debacle.
The car is powered by BMW’s 2.0 Liter TwinPower 4cylinder engine which produces 135kW @ 5000 rpm and 270 N.m of torque @ 1250-4500 rpm. 270 N.m might not sound like a lot, but the car knows how to use it efficiently, I found myself doing 120km/h on the freeway with the rev counter ticking just over 1500rpm.
Power is sent to the rear via its 8-Speed Automatic Steptronic transmission. It sprints from 0-100km/h in 7.7 seconds, and under hard acceleration emits an exquisite “Vrrr pha” from it twin exhausts. BMW claims a 5,5l per 100km but it’s more between 9 and 10l. I can let that figure slide because it makes up for it in the drive. Remember this car has a lower center of gravity, is wider and lower than the car it’s similarly based on which is the 3 Series Saloon, couple all those attributes together and the results are phenomenal. This car handles beautifully and if you’re not a fan of a sporty more involving drive, I’m sorry but this car is not for you. One of the features on this updated car is a firmer suspension, which is evident when you show the car a few corners. The car is compliant on most road surfaces with just a hint of tyre noise, which the car can be forgiven given the fact that the cabin is pretty quiet at speed.
The BMW 420i Gran Coupe performs in the real world and has exceeded all my expectations, it’s practical, easy to drive, and very desirable (I lost count of the stares this car got) and very fun to drive. With the new Audi A5 Sportback 2.0TFSI which is slightly more powerful (140kW vs 135kW and 270 N.m vs 320 N.m) and cheaper (Entry Level R589 000 vs R624 798) it would be interesting to drive and compare the two.
- Engine: 2.0 TwinPower 4 cyl
- Power: 135kW @ 5000 rpm
- Torque: 270 N.m @ 1250-4500 rpm
- Transmission: 8 Speed Automatic Steptronic
- Acceleration: 0 – 100 km/h in 7.7seconds (claimed)
- Top Speed: 236 (claimed)
- Fuel Consumption: 5.5l per 100km
- Price: R624, 798 (without options)