2014 BMW 428i Gran Coupe road test review | Genre setting
DON'T get the traditionalists started. Just the name will have enthusiasts shaking their heads.
A four-door coupe. They'll say it's not possible, but modern day marketing gurus and designers are pushing and prodding the boundaries.
BMW has been unleashing a steady flow of new and intriguing variants into the market and this 428i Gran Coupe is another interesting proposition which fills a niche between sedan, hatch and two-door sports car.
While not a massive step up in size from the four-door 3 Series Gran Turismo, this is essentially a 4 Series Coupe with two extra doors and additional cabin space.
The range starts with the 420i from $70,000 plus on roads, but for an extra $11,000 you can get into this 428i with some extra punch under your right foot.
Step into any BMW and you'll find a familiar design and feel.
Plaudits are deserved for simplicity and ease of use, especially once you have mastered the iDrive system which is controlled by a large dial on the centre console.
Sports front seats offer reasonable support in all directions. The rear outer pews are flatter although not unwelcoming. As always the centre rear seat occupant has to deal with the transmission tunnel, along with a firmer pew - although this is more designed as a four-seater.
Analogue gauges offer a clear and quick reference for the driver. We've become accustomed to the cool head-up displays, which projects your speed and sat nav instructions just below your eye-line onto the windscreen, but that's a $1700 option on this model.
On the road
With more dynamic intent than the base model petrol and diesel variants, the 428i does enjoy a squirt.
The turbocharged four-cylinder feels more like an old-school six-potter with its power delivery and the 0-100kmh sprint time of six seconds is proof of its ability. Anything six and below is pretty useful for those who like to punt along, and with a 10mm lower ride height than its siblings, the 428i doesn't shy away from some vigorous bends in the driver's elbows.
Choosing between ride modes via the Adaptive M suspension enables the driver to flick between Eco Pro for fuel saving, comfort to iron out the bumps, sport for quickening the pulse, and sport-plus which limits the intrusion of safety gadgets for additional fun.
That enables the coupe to walk the line between refined daily driver while also keeping the boy-racer within pleased.
The sports steering wheel has paddles, but most will find the eight-speed automatic box does a stellar job by itself with no need for manual intervention.
What do you get?
Buyers can choose between Sport, Modern or Luxury "lines", and there is an array of no-cost options to achieve the look and feel you're after.
There is a solid standard specification list, including 19-inch alloys, automatic lights and wipers, dual-zone climate control air-con, nine-speaker stereo, sat nav with 22.3cm colour screen, USB and auxiliary plugs, Bluetooth phone and audio access.
Safety is five-star, aided by parking sensors front and back, cruise control with braking function and a rear-view camera.
Mercedes-Benz has the smaller CLA250 Sport ($64,900), while Audi has the A5 Sportback TFSI $75,400.
Across the range are two brilliant features for an active owner: an automatic tailgate and 40:20:40 split fold rear seats.
Popping the boot can be done via the key fob and dropping the large lid is just a matter of hitting a button.
With a 4638mm length and 1825mm width, it shares the wheelbase and track of the 4 Series Coupe, but the roofline is 12mm higher and extends a further 112mm towards the rear. Boot space is a reasonable 480 litres, more than capable with a weekly grocery shop.
Drop those seats and you have 1300 litres of space.
Having the three-piece fold functionality is perfect for sporting equipment, enabling easy transport of awkward-sized gear - perfect for an adult's bike, in our case, without removing a wheel.
Fuel consumption won't break the bank, achieving about seven litres for every 100km.
Servicing can be more of an imposition, although there is a $1090 option to cover the basics for five years and avoid any nasty shocks come maintenance time.
Beauty always remains in the eye of the beholder, but we think this 4 Series is the contest winner against the not dissimilarly priced 3 Series GT.
The 428i has a commanding look and feel, garnering attention for its tidy lines and emits prestige from all angles, aided by the big alloys and dual exhaust pipes.
Those wanting more athletic attention can opt for the $2000 for the M Sport pack.
Easy to drive, comfortable, ample space and enough prestige trinkets befitting the badge, it's an enjoyable steer.
Our time in the 428i Gran Coupe was a tremendously enjoyable experience. One of the best BMWs we've experienced in recent times, especially taking family needs into consideration.
Model: BMW 428i Gran Coupe.
Details: Four-door five-seat rear-wheel drive luxury coupe.
Engine: 2.0-litre in-line turbocharged four-cylinder generating maximum power of 180kW @ 5000-6500rpm and 350Nm @ 1250-4800rpm.
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic.
Consumption: 6.4 litres/100km (combined average).
Performance: 0-100km in 6.0 seconds.
Bottom line: $81,000.
What matters most
What we liked: Good looks, fun and easy to drive, fuel economy, nice turn of speed.
What we'd like to see: Head-up display as standard, fuel gauge filler side indicator.
Warranty and servicing: Three years/unlimited kilometre warranty. Roadside assist runs for three years. All BMWs have "Condition Based Service", but usually it's every 25,000km or annually. BMW Service Inclusive lets you take care of your service costs up-front for five years or 80,000kms, whichever comes first.