Think of the 2018 BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe as an elegant cross between the regular 4 Series (which includes 2-door coupe and convertible styles) and the now-iconic 3 Series sedan. It brings plenty of practicality, thanks to rear passenger doors and a handy hatchback (with fold-down rear seats that open up some serious cargo space), while simultaneously looking sleeker than any other compact BMW with four doors. Especially when compared with the oddly proportioned 3 Series Gran Turismo hatchback.
The Gran Coupe shares the 2-door 4 Series coupe’s length, width and wheelbase (although the roof is half an inch higher). Its rakish roof means less headroom than a 3 Series offers, yet the Gran Coupe costs more. Such is the price of "4-door coupe" styling. However, this is no time to be griping about names or quibbling about money. We have an excellent car to celebrate.
What’s New for 2018?
The nose and tail receive some tweaking that includes new LED lighting at both ends. The suspension and steering have been recalibrated for sportier responses. Parking sensors front and rear join a rearview camera and keyless entry/ignition as standard equipment in the entry-level model. A configurable digital instrument cluster is available as part of a new Executive package, while the options menu is revised. And the iDrive infotainment system is updated to the latest version.
What We Like
Strong and efficient engines; excellent interior materials; cutting-edge cabin technology; sporty driving feel; versatile hatchback trunk
What We Don’t
Costs more than a 3 Series; less rear headroom than a 3 Series
The 430i Gran Coupe uses a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine that develops 248 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque.
An 8-speed automatic is the sole transmission.
When driving the rear wheels only, this engine is rated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) at 24 miles per gallon in the city, 34 mpg on the highway and 27 mpg in combined driving.
BMW’s optional xDrive all-wheel-drive system changes these figures to 23 mpg city/33 mpg hwy/27 mpg combined.
The 440i Gran Coupe — also available as a rear-drive model or with all-wheel drive — has a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline 6-cylinder engine generating 320 hp and 330 lb-ft of torque.
The 8-speed automatic is again standard, and the EPA estimates fuel consumption at 21 mpg city/32 mpg hwy/25 mpg combined with rear-wheel drive, or 21 mpg city/31 mpg hwy/25 mpg combined with all-wheel drive.
Both engines have a stop/start function to save a little fuel when idling.
Standard Features & Options
The 2018 BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe is a 5-seater available in 430i or 440i versions. All-wheel drive is a $2,000 option.
The 430i ($44,095) comes standard with 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights/taillights/fog lights, keyless entry/ignition, a sunroof, a power hatchback, heated/power-folding/self-dimming side mirrors, steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a self-dimming rearview mirror, rain-sensing wipers, Driving Dynamics Control (offering four settings for throttle sensitivity and steering effort), 8-way power-adjustable front seats, leatherette upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, ambient cabin lighting, a rearview camera, parking sensors front and rear, Bluetooth, iPod/USB/auxiliary connectivity, a 9-speaker audio system with HD Radio, and BMW’s iDrive infotainment system with a 6.5-in screen.
The 440i ($50,495) adds the 6-cylinder engine, plus a Nappa leather-wrapped steering wheel, a hands-free powered tailgate, satellite radio and a Harman Kardon 16-speaker/600-watt Surround Sound system.
Both versions may be customized with options packages. The Luxury and M Sport add styling flourishes, special wheels and upgraded interior decor. The M Sport also includes an adaptive sport-tuned suspension and a sport steering wheel.
A new Executive package adds adaptive LED headlights with automatic high beams, a full-color head-up display, parking assistance, a digital driver information display and side-/top-view cameras. A Driving Assistance package includes forward-collision mitigation with pedestrian detection and lane-keeping assistance.
The Track Handling package upgrades the brakes, adds special 18-in alloy wheels (or 19-in alloys) and installs an adaptive suspension and a variable-ratio sport steering system.
Additional options include a heated steering wheel, heated front/rear seats, navigation, an 8.8-in widescreen iDrive display, Apple CarPlay, wireless device charging, Wi-Fi, blind spot monitoring and adaptive cruise control.
Trunk space measures 17 cu ft. behind the rear seats (which is four cu ft. more than the 3 Series sedan’s trunk). Folding those seats down results in an impressive 45.9 cu ft., just seven cu ft. away from the 3 Series wagon.
The 4 Series Gran Coupe comes standard with stability control, 4-wheel antilock disc brakes (with automatic collision preparation) and eight airbags (front, front-side, front-knee and full-length side-curtain). Activating the wipers also activates a drying function for the brake discs.
This vehicle has not been crash-tested by any agencies in the United States.
Behind the Wheel
From a driver’s perspective, the 4 Series Gran Coupe is similar to the 3 Series. But the seating position is a little lower, imparting a slightly sportier feel. As usual, the gauges are crisp and understated, with BMW’s trademark red illumination casting a soothing glow at night.
An attractive high-resolution information display and the beautiful 8.8-in central screen are must-haves for those who want the best gadgets. And the iDrive controller interface (augmented by a touchpad with the larger display) has improved by leaps and bounds in recent years.
The standard front seats provide plenty of scope for adjustment, though their mediocre lateral support makes the optional sport seats a natural upgrade for enthusiasts.
Rear accommodation is one of the few weak spots. The stylish rear roofline means taller passengers may rub their heads on the ceiling. Still, there’s more people-carrying capability than in the regular 4 Series coupe.
The 4 Series Gran Coupe delivers a master class in driving dynamics. The suspension is never stiff (even in optional sport-tuned form), but provides the kind of control found in a sports car, with quick reflexes and minimal body roll. Remarkably, the ride around town remains quiet and supple.
The 440i’s turbocharged inline six is stunningly quick, yet the 430i’s 4-cylinder engine isn’t far behind, while being more affordable and more fuel efficient. Either way, the shifts from the 8-speed automatic are fast and slick. Or you can change gears yourself using the steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles. Chances are you’ll want to do that more and more.
Other Cars to Consider
2018 Lexus IS — The current IS has bold looks that have worn well. Its sharp handling and rich interior make it a natural Gran Coupe competitor.
2018 Mercedes-Benz C-Class — The C-Class is stylish enough to make shoppers interested in the 4 Series Gran Coupe think twice, and the 362-hp C 43 AMG model has plenty of performance.
When going though the options list, select as many driving aids as possible. The 430i is nice enough, but the 6-cylinder engine in the 440i is too good to ignore.