“You can’t have everything” my mother would say to be when I was a child, and she was right. You can’t buy an ice cream on a sunny day and not expect it to melt, you can’t eat huge slices of cake and not get fat, and you certainly can’t travel on Virgin Galactic’s new space plane without first paying them £200,000. Life is about give and take with compromise just being something that you have to accept. “No” says BMW, “you shall go to the ball…” The BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe 428i M Sport indeed lets you have your cake and eat it.
Previously you had a choice; either buy a BMW 3 Series for its practicality or order a 4 Series coupe for its athletic profile. For many the 3 Series was the default option because cramming a family into your dream coupe, often results in scathing expressions from your wife as you place a suitcase on top of your chosen child.
This new model joining the 4 Series range retains the more sporting stance of the coupe whilst offering those all important rear doors. There is no denying this machines handsome looks, especially in our test cars Estoril Blue. The M Sport package adds a smart set of 19 inch alloy wheels as well as more aggressive bodywork. Larger air intakes and a darkened grill gives the car sexily sinister demeanor. Designers have done a good job keeping the Gran Coupe’s proportions similar to that of the coupe with the roof only being 23mm taller.
The interior is one of premium design and elevates itself above that of its sister cars. Leather surrounds occupants, cocooning them in high quality materials. Aluminum details the cabin contrasting the black interior and adds a real sense of class. Two supportive rib hugging seats occupy the front where you will also find a brilliantly simplistic M Sport steering wheel. All too often steering wheels today are coated in a million buttons, this three spoke incarnation implies that this car is more about the driving experience than the toys inside. Although the rear seats three, a high transmission tunnel and raised middle seat lends this car to being more of a 4+1 than a permanent 5 seat vehicle. However, the two outer seats are more than capable of seating adults even with the Gran Coupes rapidly sloping roofline.
Bring the 245hp turbo charged engine into play, in combination with a sumptuously smooth 8 speed ZF gearbox and you will find the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe 428i M Sport to be a highly refined drive. The suspension removes road imperfections well whilst minimizing body roll. Steering inputs are met with a quick response and turbo lag upon stabs of the throttle is virtually nonexistent. Hit sport mode and this car comes to life in a manner that reminds you why this is not simply a 3 Series in a posh frock. The steering weights up, suspensions stiffens and throttle usage is met with intensive acceleration. In this state of high alert the 4 Series Gran Coupe is an utter joy to drive. In true BMW fashion, the car feels like a surgeon’s scalpel on twisty roads. A very accurate front end meet with good levels of grip and encourages further spirited driving. Its engine pulls strongly emitting a pleasing harmony provided by a choir of six cylinders. The enjoyment grows when using the paddle shifters to drop down the gears before diving into a pending corner. This cars balance of chassis dynamics is highly commendable. My only real complaint is that whilst in sport mode, the ride is a bit too firm for our battered British B-roads. It is not wildly uncomfortable, but thudding into potholes and fidgeting over consecutive bumps becomes irritating. Head out onto the motorway and the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe 428i M Sport becomes a tranquil long distance cruiser. It really is a car that just eats up the miles whilst you relax in an environment of technology sourcing from a widescreen infotainment display.
The 4 Series Gran Coupe 428i M Sport is my pick of the range thus far as it embodies the very best of BMW handling characteristics with the practicality that you so desire. At £42,850 our test car with all of its equipment would be quite the investment, however, its ability to blend both style and sustenance mustn’t be underrated.