Friday, October 13, 2017

Bucket Seat: BMW 420i Gran Coupe

From a person that never saw the point of a Gran Coupe when it was first released to someone who swears its the best possible form of car on the market now, one can only imagine how eagerly I was awaiting my chance to test the revised BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe. Having attended the launch a few months back and getting the opportunity to thrash it around some of the twisty testing roads that Mpumalanga had to offer, it already showcased some great attributes but I needed to spend more time with it, figure out what makes this revised model so much more special than the original. BMW spent a lot of time expressing how with this new model, that Four Means More, and having looked at market trends from buys of the 4 Series, scrutinizing everything from what engine was more popular to what extras were most wanted in the cars, they could suit the revised model to what they think the buyer would want. 


If one has to take a quick glance at the car, not much has really changed in the design of the Gran Coupe, the car has grown by millimeters here and there thanks to a redesigned chassis but it isn't easily seen with the naked eye but can be experience when inside the car. The most striking features of the revised design is the lights, both the front and back lights have seen a make-up artist and had some details and eyeliner added to them, the results are outstanding. The cars now have ditched Xenon technology and have opted for LED, with the new 4 Series coming with Bi-LED lights as standard with the option to upgrade to the Adaptive LED lights which is more evident with it's hexagonal design, which is quite prominent and give the car so much character. The 420i GC which I had on test had the standard Bi-LED head lamps which also look great. On the inside, some nice touches were added, with extra chrome detailing, give the car a more premium feel. 


The original 420i engine didn't leave much to the driver in terms of excitement or performance, the new engines that come from the 3 Series have been introduced into the 4 Series range and has made a load of difference. The engine packs quite a punch and pushes out 135kW with 290Nm of torque to get it going. The car was extremely responsive in all driving modes, Sport + is the most fun mode to drive it in but it has that usual problem of making the car extremely thirsty. Driving around in Eco Pro mode isn't as bad as it seems and I had it in this setting for most of my time. Don't expect a fast response to the throttle though as it tries to minimize high revving and long accelerations for obvious reasons, it even warns you when you're over doing it. 


When having a look at the 4 Series, there is one thing you have to remember the car is a Coupe, the Gran Coupe is still essentially a coupe but with 4 doors. So the ride and stance of the car still remains true to its Coupe heritage. The car sits much lower than your regular sedans and this just makes thins so much more better for the driver. The passenger also gets a good kick from this as well being at this low seating position, almost makes it feel race car-ish. Seating configuration is suited for 4 people as the car does have bucket seats both in the front and back but you can seat 5. As mentioned before, BMW have given the entire line up new chassis which have been redesigned to give the driver a better driving experience, with stiffer suspension, modified dampers, updated ABS which is very evident with the shortened breaking distance. The cars boot is quite big and with the ease of the automatic tailgate makes it very easy to pack an unpack the car.


Normally when getting a test car from BMW, we used to getting a press car with loads of extras, unfortunately this time around, we were given the bare essentials if you would like. How I said earlier about BMW noticing trends in their customers? Well they chose to equip the car with the extras that were most chosen when buyers purchased their cars. So nothing fancy but still enough to get excited about. Most essentially is the professional Sat-Nav which comes with the large infotainment screen. The layout of the menu has changed and is taken from the new 5 Series with tile formats. Not entirely sure if the hand gestures package is offered in the 4 Series though. Bluetooth telephone and Audio streaming should be a norm now but BMW still has the audio streaming as an optional extra but I think that might change soon with Apple Car Play connectivity and Android Mirror screening. 


As I said from the beginning, this derivative of the 4 Series is my favourite and there's nothing that can change my mind about it. Yes the price of the 4 Series has gone up from the last but that is why BMW was drumming in the 4 Means More tag line, essentially saying that the 4 Series has become more of a premium luxury sports coupe with it offering the customer more as standard and actually works out to their benefit. This car will definitely make my 10 car garage, simply because  how it fuses practicality and sportiness in a car. There's not many sportbacks out there that can do this with so much ease and fun. 


 Gear Box
 8 Speed Automatic with paddles shift
 Top Speed
 250Kph (electronically limited)
 7.5 Seconds
 R651 400

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