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    WHY NOT A 4 SERIES? / #BMW-4-Series Series / #BMW-4-Series-F36 / #BMW-F36

    I’m a regular reader of this magazine and am writing out of curiosity about Bob Harper’s farewell notes in the May issue, plus the very interesting report on p104 of the same edition, about bargain buys.

    I bought my first #BMW way back in the 1970s, and am currently on my 15th! I’m the proud owner of a 2008, Imola red, E60 530d M Sport auto, with under 38,000 genuine miles since new. However, recently I’ve been looking at a secondhand #BMW-4-Series-Gran-Tourer-xDrive-M-Sport-Auto as a possible replacement.

    But this decision has been placed in some doubt following your advice to avoid the 4 Series, that was included in the May issue. Could you explain your thinking behind this, as your views have certainly got me puzzled?

    For the record, my previous cars have included a 3.0 SA, three 528iAs, three 735iAs, three 635iAs, a 535ia, a 328ia and an E39 535iA.

    I value your opinions, and enjoy the fact that the magazine is always ‘up front’ about the cars tested, as well as those run by the staff.
    • Many thanks for your enquiry, Bill. It’s always good to hear from long-term readers and to know that people are paying attention to what we print! WiMany thanks for your enquiry, Bill. It’s always good to hear from long-term readers and to know that people are paying attention to what we print!

      With regard to my ‘avoid the 4 Series’ remark, I should explain that it was made in reference to the current market, and wasn’t meant as a reflection on the model range itself. So let me put the record straight; the 4 Series is a cracking car!

      As a consequence, demand within the used market is currently very strong and so bargains are few and far between. This means that attractive deals are very hard to negotiate, which is the only reason why I suggested it wasn’t a good time to buy.
        More ...
    • There’s no reason to avoid the 4 Series; the Gran Coupé would make an excellent secondhand buy.
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    A couple of years ago I found an all too tempting PCH-deal on a #BMW-4-Series and I’ve enjoyed two great years of motoring in my #BMW-420d auto Gran Coupé. Unfortunately, the time is coming to hand it back, and with a few thousand sunk and (soon) nothing to show for it, I’m wondering if I should buy something instead this time. I have always fancied a six-cylinder #BMW-E92 Coupé. Having driven numerous ‘high end’ cars that have been ruined by indecisive, slow-witted automatic gearboxes (an E350 Coupé being the most notable) my fear is that stepping backwards from BMWs latest eight-speed auto to a more old-school auto may leave me disappointed, especially knowing how proactive and decisive the latest machinery is when pulling off from a rolling start when coasting up to roundabouts etc. Should I be concerned? Love the magazine, keep up the good work. / #BMW-420d-F32 / #BMW-F32 / #BMW / #BMW-F36
    • Ultimately Matthew the only way to really judge this will be to take an E92 Coupé for a spin yourself but, having sampled the latest ZF eight-speeder,Ultimately Matthew the only way to really judge this will be to take an E92 Coupé for a spin yourself but, having sampled the latest ZF eight-speeder, we fear you’ll be disappointed with the E92. In its day the six-speed auto in machinery such as the 330i was an excellent piece of kit but now you’ve tasted the forbidden fruit in the guise of the eight-speed the sixspeed may feel a little clunky by way of comparison.  More ...
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    2016 #BMW-418d / #BMW-F36 / #BMW-418d-F36 / #BMW-418d-Luxury-Gran-Coupe-Auto / #BMW-418d-Luxury-Gran-Coupe-Auto-F36 / #BMW-418d-Gran-Coupe-Auto-F36 / #BMW-418d-Gran-Coupe-F36 / #2016

    Luxury Gran Coupé Auto

    Behind the Wheel. Two 18ds tested in Gran Coupé and Touring guises. Can the sumptuous specification of the 4 Series Gran Coupé Luxury work with the entry-level diesel engine? Words: Shane O’Donoghue. Photography: Dave Humphreys.

    Back in the year 2000, a fresh-faced Jenson Button was stopped and fined the equivalent of £500 for doing over 140mph on a French motorway. It was the best bit of publicity #BMW ever received, as Button was at the wheel of a 330d Saloon (as part of his BMW-Williams contract) and the ‘incident’ was widely reported, making diesel cars a lot more interesting. In the intervening years we’ve seen the fuel come to dominate the UK market due in part to taxation based on carbon dioxide emissions and also because, well, diesel cars have improved immensely. BMW has always been at the forefront of diesel technology and thanks to the well-timed introduction of its suite of ‘EfficienctDynamics’ measures, it still leads the way in terms of emissions and fuel economy. So much so that, M cars aside, we now almost do a double-take when we come across a brand-new BMW powered by a petrol engine.

    That extends beyond the mass-market cars like the 3 Series and 5 Series – and all five SUV models – and includes the coupés, from the 2 Series to the 6 Series, plus, of course, the ‘four-door coupés’ such as the 4 Series Gran Coupé tested here. Nobody will blink an eye at the idea of a diesel engine in this model, but it’d be interesting to see how many buyers of the 418d version choose the ‘badge delete’ option when ordering… It represents the entry-level diesel variant, costing from £31,695 – as opposed to £30,125 for the cheapest petrol model, the 420i.

    And it could be a shrewd purchase for buyers that are more concerned with show than go, choosing the 418d over, say, the 420d, and spending the money saved on a higher trim level. They share the same basic 2.0-litre turbodiesel four-cylinder engine as ever (improved upon last year), the 418d putting out 150hp and 236 lb ft of torque to the 420d’s 190hp and 295lb ft. Those are appreciable differences when you pit the two cars back-to-back, but in isolation the 418d hardly feels slovenly – and its maximum torque is produced lower down the rev range too, at 1500rpm. Admittedly, a 0-62mph time of 8.9 seconds is nothing to write home about, but the 418d retains a lovely effortless mid-range that typifies any modern diesel BMW.

    For clarification, that 8.9-second time is for the automatic version (the manual records a slightly faster time in the none-too-mechanically sympathetic hands of BMW’s professional test drivers), and though the eight-speed transmission adds a not insignificant £1550 to the purchase price, it’ll be easier to sell on later and will retain its value better. On top of all that, it turns out to really suit this engine’s power delivery. We’ve done lots of lyrical waxing on the talents of this gearbox already, but it’s always worth repeating: it’s a gem, whether you slot it into Sport mode and get a move on or leave it to its own default calibration map, where it remains smooth and chases as high a gear as is feasible to maximise economy, quelling engine noise in the process.

    In truth, this hints at the type of person the 418d Gran Coupé might suit. It’s at its best when lolloping along the motorway racking up the mileage with some calming tunes gently emanating from the decent sound system and average economy of well over 50mpg. In this guise, the suspension is welljudged, keeping a firm control on unwanted body movements, but not at the expense of comfort. On the open road, keener drivers will enjoy the typical rear-drive balance and uncorrupted steering, but this model gives up a little sharpness in return for that comfort. The engine noise, a little too loud around town and at idle, melts away into the background, and you can sit back and enjoy the envious stares from the passing traffic. And there will be some, as the Gran Coupé is a cracking-looking thing that grabs your attention when in the right specification.

    Of course, to maximise those covetous glances you’ll need to spend the money you saved with your engine choice on a higher equipment grade. A sum of £3000 spans the four grades, from SE through Sport, Luxury and M Sport. If you’re buying through PCP it probably won’t make a massive difference to your monthly payments, so you choose based on preference. M Sport is the most aggressive looking and Luxury is the classiest. The latter includes tasteful 18-inch alloy wheels and chrome detailing on the outside, which pair particularly well with a dark metallic paint finish.

    A year and a half after its launch, it’s still difficult to believe that the Gran Coupé is built on the same 2810mm wheelbase as the two-door 4 Series Coupé.

    Not only does it feature an extra pair of doors, but it physically looks much bigger. It’s a trick of the designer’s pen though (and a longer roof), and you shouldn’t expect the rear seats to be as capacious as those in a 3 Series Saloon, but the boot is, at 480 litres – and it’s easier to access thanks to the electrically opening hatchback. Occupants of the rear seats will be distracted from the lack of stretching room by the inclusion of frameless doors all-round and a well-appointed cabin within. The Luxury package includes a few extra no-cost leather options, in classy Saddle brown or Venetian beige, with ‘Exclusive’ stitching, adding no end to the ambience. Sixteen years after Jenson was slapped with that fine, there’s no doubt he has matured. The 4 Series Gran Coupé in this 418d Luxury guise could well be for the grown-up Buttons of the world. It’ll still do 132mph you know…

    The #BMW-4-Series / #BMW-4-Series-Gran-Coupé might share the same wheelbase as the two-door Coupé but it looks like a much bigger car.

    TECH DATA FILE #2016 #BMW F36 418d Luxury Gran Coupé Auto
    ENGINE: Four-cylinder, turbodiesel / #B47 / #B47B20 /
    CAPACITY: 1995cc
    MAX POWER: 150hp @ 4000rpm
    MAX TORQUE: 236lb ft @1500-3000rpm
    0-62MPH: 8.9 seconds
    TOP SPEED: 132mph
    ECONOMY: 64.2mpg
    EMISSIONS: 116g/km
    PRICE: £35,745
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    More 4
    Another new model from #BMW is revealed; the 4 Series Gran Coupé #BMW-F36 .

    It’s been barely five minutes since the 4 Series Coupé was launched yet here’s the third variation on the theme, the Gran Coupé Words: Bob Harper. Photography: BMW.

    It seems as if a week doesn’t go by without the launch of another BMW niche-filler so it should really have come as no surprise that we now have a 4 Series Gran Coupé to unveil. BMW is certainly aiming to make the most of its various platforms and this Gran Coupé version of the 4 Series now means we have six F3x models – a 3 Series Saloon, a Touring and Gran Turismo and a 4 Series Coupé, Convertible and Gran Coupé. And while you might think that it’s becoming awfully crowded within this segment you could just about argue that each version of the F3x range offers something slightly different… BMW had a huge amount of success with the 6 Series Gran Coupé with many thinking the four-door coupé actually looks better than the two-door on which it’s based, so it shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise when BMW decided to offer a four-door coupé version of the #BMW-4-Series .

    Externally the 4 Series GC is identical to the twodoor up until the A pillar but aft of that the doors are different (although still frameless like the Coupé) while the roof line rises somewhat to aid rear headroom before the roof tapers down to a Coupélike rear end. One area where the 4 GC differs to its larger 6 Series brother is that where the Six has a traditional boot the Four receives a hatch like the 3 Series GT. Anyone who has noticed the plethora of Audi A5 Sportbacks on the road these days will know exactly the target BMW has in its sights with the 4 Series Gran Coupé.

    In terms of dimensions, the 4 Series GC is identical to the Coupé in width, wheelbase and length but stands 12mm higher thanks to its raised roof structure. It’s still a sleek-looking piece of kit, but where the 6 Series GC benefits from being longer than the Coupé, giving the car a very elegant profile, the 4 GC can look a little bit too much like a 3 Series Saloon from some angles. Perhaps once we’ve seen the car in the flesh and been able to do a full comparison with a 3 Seires side-by-side the nuances of their different designs will become a little clearer. Where the 4 GC really does differ from the F30 3 Series Saloon is in their interior accommodation.

    Where the Three is a full five seater, the Four is being marketed as a 4+1 as the two rear seats are heavily sculpted with the one in the middle looking somewhat uncomfortable for anything approaching a long distance. In other respects, though, it is practical with 60:40 folding rear seat backrests (40:20:40 is an option) and that huge tailgate/hatch (that’s electrically operated as standard) means that you’ll be able to load bikes and bulky items without too much of a challenge. In terms of space, the GC is more practical that the Coupé, adding 35 litres to the car’s boot space which at 480 litres is the same size as that of the F30 Saloon.

    It goes on sale in the UK on 21 June and will initially be offered with five different engines, with two more coming on line later in 2014. The launch line up will include two diesels ( #BMW-418d-F36 and #BMW-420d-F36 ) and three petrols (420i, 428i and 435i) and these will be joined by the two six-cylinder diesels ( #BMW-430d-F36 and #BMW-435d-xDrive-F36 ) in due course. The power units should be familiar from the 3 Series but to briefly recap, the entry level model (in terms of price) is the #BMW-420i-F36 with 184hp and 199lb ft of torque, a 7.5 second 0-62mph time and 44mpg. The #BMW-428i-F36 uses the same 2.0-litre turbocharged engine that offers 245hp and 258lb ft of torque which makes it appreciably quicker – 0-62mph takes a scant 6.1 seconds while returning 42.8mpg. Until the arrival of the #BMW-435d xDrive the 435i will be the performance model and the turbocharged ‘six is good for a 5.5-second 0-62mph time and nigh-on 35mpg economy.

    In this company, the detuned 2.0-litre in the 418d looks somewhat lacklustre on the performance front, taking over nine seconds for the benchmark sprint, but its trump card is obviously its economy – an impressive 61.4mpg on the combined cycle. Move one notch up the diesel range and for an additional £800 you can be slipping behind the wheel of a 420d and with an additional 41hp and 44lb ft of torque it’ll slip comfortably under the eight-second barrier for the 0-62mph dash yet will still return 60mpg. Spend another £3000 and you can have that 420d with xDrive, too.

    You can see the full range of specs and pricing below but most of you will be wanting to know how the Four GC stacks up against the Three Saloon. If we take the 320d/420d (both in SE trim) as a valid comparison the 4 Series initially looks to be rather expensive at an additional £3020. However, the Gran Coupé retains the high level of standard kit that you’ll find in the Coupé so it’s packing significantly more kit than the Saloon. All GCs will receive front and rear PDC, Dakota leather upholstery, heated front seats, Servotronic steering, a Sport multi-function steering wheel and Xenon headlights. Add that lot to a 320d SE and the 3 Series comes out at £5 less expensive, so there’s really not much to choose in terms of pricing… so long as you’re happy with those options. There will be the usual trim structure of SE, Sport, Modern, Luxury and M Sport and the further you go up the range the more kit you get. All models bar the SE gain 18-inch alloys, the 428i (and above) have electric front seats and the 435i, 430d and 435d xDrive also receive metallic paint. Luxury and M Sport models will come with BMW Business satellite navigation as standard.

    No doubt the BMW forums will be aghast with boistrous debates on what some will no doubt view as ‘another stupid niche filler’ but we reckon the 4 Series Gran Coupé actually makes a lot of sense. Dynamically it should sit somewhere between the Coupé and Saloon in terms of sporting pretensions – BMW says the suspension and damping have only been adjusted marginally to take into account the higher centre of gravity and that it matches the torsional stiffness of the two-door – and should be a much more focussed steer than the 3 Series Gran Turismo which is a much more comfort-orientated machine. The 4 Series Gran Coupé will be shown to the public for the first time at the Geneva motor show and we can’t wait to have a good look around it to see how it stacks up in the flesh.

    F36 4 Series Gran Coupé – UK launch models

    418d 420i 420d [xDrive] 428i 435i
    ENGINE: Four-cylinder, turbo diesel Four-cylinder, turbo petrol Four-cylinder, turbo diesel Four-cylinder, turbo petrol Six-cylinder, turbo petrol

    CAPACITY: 1995cc 1997cc 1995cc 1997cc 2979cc

    MAX POWER: 143hp @ 4000rpm 184hp @ 5000-6250rpm 184hp @ 4000rpm 245hp @ 5000-6500rpm 306hp @ 5800-6400rpm

    MAX TORQUE: 236lb ft @ 1750-2750rpm 199lb ft @ 1250-4500rpm 280lb ft @ 1750-2750rpm 258lb ft @ 1250-4800rpm 295lb ft @ 1200-5000rpm

    0-62MPH: 9.2 (9.1) seconds 7.5 (7.6) seconds 7.7 (7.5) seconds [7.7 (7.5)] 6.1 (6.0) seconds 5.5 (5.2) seconds

    TOP SPEED: 132 (132) mph 147 (147) mph 147 (144) mph [145 (142] 155 (155) mph 155 (155) mph

    ECONOMY: 61.4 (61.4) mpg 44.1 (46.3) mpg 60.1 (61.4) mpg [57.6 (58.9)] 42.8 (44.8) mpg 34.9 (37.3) mpg

    EMISSIONS CO2: 121 (121) g/km 149 (142) g/km 124 (121) g/km [129 (127)] 154 (147) g/km 189 (174) g/km

    PRICE (OTR): From £30,995 From £29,420 From £31,795 [£34,795] From £32,815 £41,155

    Figures in brackets () refer to models fitted with the eight-speed automatic gearbox. Figures in [] refer to #BMW-420d-xDrive .

    The 4 Series Gran Coupé can look a little bit too much like a 3 Series Saloon from some angles. In profile the Gran Coupé’s higher roof line can be clearly seen; rear seats are of the 2+1 variety; all models feature a fully electric rear hatch.
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