The second generation of the BMW 4 Series is now complete. First there was the coupe, and then there was the convertible. Last but certainly not least, the volume seller of the portfolio will soon arrive in the form of the G24 4 Series Gran Coupé. The F36 4 Series Gran Coupé it’s replacing was unveiled in 2014 for the 2015 model year, and went on to become one of the most popular versions of the 4 Series, responsible for the longevity of the Series’ sales. It’s not particularly difficult to understand why a four-door 4 Series is recipe for success: slick styling with sedan functionality.
The outgoing 4 Series was available with four different engines in the U.S., and the B48 four-cylinder and B58 six-cylinder which arrived with the previous generation’s LCI (lifecycle impulse) are carried forward to the new model just like the coupe and convertible, and come with the same updated power ratings. There’s the four-cylinder 430i, with 255 horsepower from 5,000 to 5,600 rpm and 295 pound-feet of torque from 1,550 to 4,400, and the range-topping M440i xDrive, with 382 horsepower from 5,800 to 6,500 rpm, and 369 pound-feet of torque from 1,800 to 5,000 rpm.
Like the engine and ZF eight-speed automatic drivetrain, technology, driver assistance, and equipment, both standard and optional, largely align with the Gran Coupé’s four-door and roofless stablemates. Styling is just as contentious as well, and given the amount of time, money, and attention BMW has devoted to the i4 and iX, it’s no wonder why the 4 Series Gran Coupé had its debut a week after the i4—they clearly have a lot in common, even though the i4’s performance and price more closely align with the G80 M3.
Dimensionally speaking, the G24 4 Series Gran Coupé has grown 5.9 inches in terms of length, 2.1 inches taller, and one inch wider than the F36. The numbers align closely with the i4, which is two tenths of an inch shorter than the G24, identical in terms of width, and two tenths of an inch shorter taller. The i4’s wheelbase is four tenths of an inch longer than the Gran Coupé’s, but the conventional model has over half an inch more ground clearance (thank the lack of a floor-mounted battery pack), and and has a turning radius of nearly one foot less. The G24’s trunk volume of twelve cubic feet comes in short of the F36’s seventeen, and weight is up across the board. The G24 430i weighs 3,792 pounds, compared with 3,680 for the outgoing model. It’s the same for the M440i xDrive and the 440i xDrive, which have curb weights of 4,169 pounds and 3,922 respectively, but the horsepower and torque increase is likely to make up for the added mass.
As far as aerodynamics are concerned, even with the grille everyone loves to talk about, the new 4 Series Gran Coupé is slipperier than the old one. The 430i boasts a drag coefficient of 0.28, a slight improvement over the 0.29 of the previous generation. The M440i xDrive’s Cx remains the same at 0.30, but the i4, which is said to have a drag coefficient of as low as 0.24, illustrates just how much of a difference the design of things like the bumpers, wheels, and other pieces can make.
The M440i xDrive is actually considered a mild hybrid, thanks to a 48-volt, eleven-horsepower electric motor which also acts as the starter. The system is similar to what arrived with the G30 5 Series LCI, but whether or not BMW adds something like a 430e to the Gran Coupé lineup is anyone’s guess at this point. BMW says the 430i will accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds, while the M440i xDrive gets it done in 4.4 seconds. The 430i is one tenth of a second slower than the i4 eDrive40, but the M440i xDrive is a full half second slower than the i4 M50, according to BMW’s numbers.
Speaking of acceleration, the M440i xDrive isn’t far behind the M3 (the gap between the M440i xDrive Gran Coupé and the i4 M50 is larger), but it raises another important point. That is BMW’s unlikeliness to add an M4 Gran Coupé to the lineup, even though such a model would tickle the enthusiast’s fancy. The M3 already fills the four-door position in the portfolio, and is available in six-speed, Competition, and M xDrive form (only the latter two can be had together). BMW M is also working on an M3 Touring, which won’t be sold in the U.S.—naturally.
Nevertheless, it’s still clear the entire coupe-based sedan idea has taken off for the German manufacturers, as BMW now offers a Gran Coupé from 2 Series through 8 Series.
Production of the new 4 Series is schedule to commence in July, and the first cars expected to arrive in August of this year. The starting MSRP of the 430i is $44,800 plus $995 destination, while the M440i xDrive starts at $58,000. Production of the 430i xDrive and the rear-wheel-drive M440i is slated to begin at a later date.—Alex Tock
[Photos courtesy BMW AG.]