Previously on EngageSportMode we’ve talked about the confusing nature of BMW’s ever-expanding model lineup. Much like Mercedes-Benz ten years ago, BMW seems hell-bent on filling every single niche possible in the passenger car market. The biggest change in the Munich firm’s strategy has been to introduce its new numbering system, with even numbers representing sporty coupé models, with the odd numbers left for the more straight-laced saloons and estates (sorry, Tourings). So just what on earth is a 4 Series Gran Coupé with
five four doors meant to be?
Realistically, it was only a matter of time. We’ve already been down this road 18 months ago with the 6 Series Gran Coupé, and the M variant of that too. We’ll also most likely have to travel it again with the 2 Series as well. Don’t get ESM wrong, we understand that brands have to diversify and explore new ideas; BMW couldn’t stay producing similar looking saloons forever. Just ask Jaguar … But with the 4 Series Gran Coupé ESM really finds itself struggling to understand why BMW needs this, the 3 Series Saloon and the Gran Turismo version in the same lineup. But before we attempt, or fail, to get to the bottom of this conundrum, just what is the 4 Series Gran Coupé when it’s at home then?
BMW would like you to know that the new 4 Series Gran Coupé is officially a sporty ‘four door’ which combines the looks of a coupé with the practicality of a saloon. It’s based on the regular 4 Series Coupé two door, which in itself is an offshoot of the four door 3 Series saloon. So here we have a four door derivative of a two door, which was originally based on a four door. Confused? Well done if you’re not, which probably also means you’re from BMW’s marketing department – hello there! ESM also takes a little bit of an exception to the Gran Coupé being referred to as a ‘four door’ when one of the press images shows this:
Yes, in the vernacular of the rest of the car world that would be a hatchback, thus making it a five door. But according to BMW, it is not a hatchback, it’s a boot. Like a sedan, or a coupé has, and certainly nothing like the big rear aperture of the 3 Series Gran Turismo. Nothing like that at all. It is, however, powered and can be opened automatically. Size wise, the Gran Coupé sits on the regular 4 Series platform, which means it measures just over 4.6 metres long; and just 14mm longer than the 3 Series saloon. The wheelbase of all the 3 Series and 4 Series models is the same at 2.8 metres, which would lead us to believe leg room is probably quite similar. Oh, and the boot capacity of 480 litres is identical to the Saloon, and 35 litres bigger than the normal Coupé. Although that’s down on the 520 litres of the slightly larger 3 Series GT. This isn’t getting any clearer really is it? (more…)