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    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.