2017 BMW 420i Gran Coupe(E)

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BMW, like some other manufacturers have recently been blurring lines between SUVs, Coupes and even sedans to appeal to a wider audience.


The BMW 420i Gran Coupe (4 door) is one product of this. It is agile and offers excellent ride quality.

Almost every new car has grown in size so delivering dynamism has gotten to be an increasingly tall order. Especially if marketing insists on sticking two more doors to a sporty model and calling it a “Gran Coupe”.

The Gran Coupe looks like a lower-sleeker 3-Series sedan. Only someone with keen eyes would likely tell the difference. 4,638mm length is just 14mm longer than the 3-Series sedan, but the lower roofline adds to the visual length and girth of the car.

The signature kidney front grille and headlamps carry BMW’s current design language, closely resembling 3-Series sedan’s styling, although slightly sleeker and wider. The only chrome bits to see on this Gran Coupe are the grille and some small bits here and there, while other trim is either body coloured or piano black. Behind the front wheel arches sit a set of prominent fender grills. This car looks good from any angle.

Everything in the interior of is adapted to your needs. Interior switchgear is largely mono-coloured, a very BMW trait. Switches might prove difficult to find initially, but as you get used to their placement you appreciate how they are ergonomically well located.

The tri-spoked steering wheel houses cruise control, mobile functions and audio controls. A set of metal paddle shifters peer out from behind the wheel.

The top surface of the iDrive system wheel doubles as trackpad, making it easier to use, especially for wayfinding applications. The iDrive makes available a full suite of settings. Lane change and departure warnings, head-up display and active cruise control are just a few you can toggle on/off.

Even though there are plenty of electric and electronic stuffs, BMW has opted to keep a mechanical handbrake lever. I found this very in keeping with a driver’s car.

Housed in the armrest in the centre console is an optional phone cradle which docks your mobile phone to the in-car entertainment system, allowing you to pair your contacts and playlist. Together with a discreet USB port, the dash is kept very neat and tidy.

Front seats are electric and there are adjustable thigh cushions which support you on long trips. Rear seat passengers get two air-conditioning vents.

There is something which makes the Gran Coupe shine. The automated boot is the same size as a 3-Series with 480 litres, but expandable by folding rear seats down and removing boot panels to provide a total of 1,300 litres.

The entry-level engine variant 420i Gran Coupe is amazingly agile for something with a wheelbase longer than a Toyota Camry, even if there are rare moments when you feel the rear axle is lagging behind the front.

The chassis feels sturdier around the bends, but continues to offer excellent ride quality. As with most BMW cars it offers a beautiful blend of directness and sharpness at the helm, yet it comes across as very forgiving, like an invisible bubble wrap shielding against lapses in driver inputs or tarmac quality.

The engine reinforces this feeling of effortlessness. Despite its modest displacement, the turbo four-cylinder petrol – one of BMW’s latest modular B-series engines – pumps a decent 135kW of power and 270Nm of torque.

Optional upgrades are the Luxury, Sport, and M Sport lines, and of course there is a wide range of all the expected BMW advanced technology safety and driving aid electronics and devices, such as adaptive headlights, head up display showing current speed and speed limit, dynamic stability control, active protection measures in dangerous situations.

Road noise is kept well at bay but a bigger-than expected whiff of wind (recently in Port Melbourne) and traffic noise gets through the windows.

On the road with this test car, you are constantly aware of this relativity, especially if you have just driven a far more powerful Italian sports sedan. The entry-level Gran Coupe is of course no match against something like the Maserati Quattroporte, but it is no less enjoyable to drive.

When you have a love for cars, you are able to identify with something that is special. The Gran Coupe is a car that suits the family; it is not as expensive and raw as an M-class car. It delivers on sheer passenger comfort and driving pleasure.
  • Engine: 1,998-litre four-cylinder TwinPower turbo-petrol
  • Power: 135kW at 5,000rpm
  • Torque: 290Nm at 1,350 – 4,600rpm
  • Transmission: Eight-speed steptronic
  • Fuel: 5.8 – 6.1L/100km (ADR Combined)
  • Fuel tank: 60 litres
  • CO2 Emissions: 134-141g/km2
$69,900 plus on-road costs