Just as the BMW 6 Series spawned a four-door Gran Coupe model, so too has the new 4 Series. It’s set to compete with the highly successful Audi A5 Sportback, combining the looks and sporty image of a coupe with better practicality. And with identical prices to the two-door versions, this new Gran Coupe should definitely give buyers something to think about.

Depending on the angle you approach it from, the car looks almost exactly the same as the 4 Series Coupe – and that’s because from the nose to the windscreen, it is. The overall width, length and wheelbase are also unchanged from the two-door, but there’s a higher, elongated roof.

There’s no increase in the wheelbase, although the rear doors – with frameless windows like those in the front – give good access to the back of the cabin, where occupants benefit from more headroom thanks to the 12mm higher roof. The boot is 35 litres larger than the 4 Series Coupe’s as well – the 480-litre capacity is identical to that of the A5 Sportback and the 3 Series saloon.

Other than that, the specification mirrors the two-door model, with a generous list of standard equipment and the usual five trim levels – SE, Sport, Modern, Luxury and M Sport.

Prices start at £29,420 for the 420i SE petrol model, while the 418d and 420d diesels are likely to be the most popular, at £30,995 and £31,795 respectively. In July, the six-cylinder 430d and 435d diesels arrive, while xDrive four-wheel drive is available with certain engines, helping the Gran Coupe compete with Audi’s quattro models.

We tested the £37,335 428i M Sport, equipped with the excellent eight-speed automatic transmission. In this guise the new car really looks the part, and the four-cylinder turbocharged engine under the bonnet has the performance to match – if not the soundtrack.

But while the on-paper figures for performance and efficiency are impressive, the engine is so linear and smooth that it’s almost too effortless to be exciting. Indeed, even this relatively sporty version rarely feels as sharp as some might expect. Only when you toggle the Drive Performance Control switch into Sport or Sport Plus modes does the car begin to come alive.

That reduces steering assistance, speeds up the gearchanges, sharpens throttle response and, if the adaptive M suspension is fitted, increases body control by firming up the suspension.

However, even in this mode the 4 Series Gran Coupe is only modestly sporty to drive. The flip side is that it remains resolutely comfortable, even on optional 19-inch alloy wheels and
low-profile Bridgestone Potenza tyres.

The majority of buyers will approve of this change in direction from BMW, where the car is, by default, a refined, comfortable and efficient cruiser. Keener drivers will need to carefully specify their 4 Series Gran Coupe for it to live up to their expectations.

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