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The BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe Is the Coolest Car Nobody Buys

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author photo by Doug DeMuro January 2017

I'm going to take a surprising position on an unusual car: I think the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe is cool. Not only that, but I think the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe is the coolest car available today that nobody really buys.

For those of you who are having trouble remembering all the models in BMW's rapidly expanding lineup, here's a little refresher. While I'd never think to attempt to explain the decisionmaking process behind BMW's latest creations, it seems they've adopted a strategy where odd-series cars (3 Series, 5 Series, etc.) are normal sedans or hatchbacks, and then even-series cars (2 Series, 4 Series, etc.) are coupes and convertibles. Except there are 4-door versions of these even-numbered coupes. They're called "Gran Coupe" models even though they're sedans.

Now, I love the look of the 6 Series Gran Coupe, as I think most of us do -- but its enormous size and similarly enormous price tag take it out of contention for me and most shoppers. But there's a smaller Gran Coupe, the 4 Series, that doesn't suffer from those drawbacks.

Here's the thing about the 4 Series Gran Coupe: It's basically a more practical, better-looking version of the 3 Series sedan. It has more interior room, more cargo room, and a sleek, modern, coupe-like design reminiscent of the Audi A7 or Tesla Model S. Summed up more succinctly, it's the 3 Series that people should be buying.

Except, unfortunately, they aren't. Although I don't have the exact breakdown, I do know that Gran Coupe models account for less than 30 percent of all 4 Series sales. Given that BMW sold about 36,000 4 Series models last year, that means the total number of Gran Coupes sold was probably fewer than 10,000 -- compared to a whopping 70,000-plus units for the 3 Series sedan.

Now, I admit, the Gran Coupe is a little pricey: It starts at $42,600 with shipping in 428i Gran Coupe guise. But it's not that much more expensive than a 3 Series, as the 328i sedan starts at $39,400 with shipping. More importantly, the 4 Series Gran Coupe offers rear- or all-wheel drive, several engine choices, and all the features and options you can get in a normal 4 Series or 3 Series sedan. Plus, it's sporty! Performance is roughly the same as a normal 3 Series -- so if you opt for a 440i Gran Coupe, you're basically driving a high-performance hot hatch. With available AWD. And BMW handling and roadholding.

In other words: If you're looking at a 3 Series, stop for a second and just consider the 4 Series Gran Coupe. I promise you'll like its appearance. I guarantee you'll appreciate the extra cargo space. And while a 3 Series is now one of the most common luxury cars on the road, I'm certain your Gran Coupe will be one of the few you see in your area. If you do happen to see another one, you can wave to the driver, knowing you both share an exquisite sense of taste and a high level of intelligence. Or maybe you both read Oversteer.

Doug DeMuro is an automotive journalist who has written for many online and magazine publications. He once owned a Nissan Cube and a Ferrari 360 Modena. At the same time.

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The BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe Is the Coolest Car Nobody Buys - Autotrader