BMW 3 Series 2014 Review
In Europe the phrase ‘grand touring’, later shortened to GT, was coined in the 1930s to describe cars owned by wealthy people for fast point to point travel while cosseting their passengers in luxury.
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Just to confuse matters no end, BMW has just introduced the 4 Series Gran Coupe five-door hatch alongside the 4 Series Coupe two-door and the 3 Series GT four-door hatchback.
There’s also a 3 Series sedan, wagon and 4 Series convertible – and they’re all on the same platform and share the same engines and transmissions. Talk about leveraging one platform. Talk about niche marketing. But the Gran is here and someone will no doubt love it.
A bit like a shrunken 6 Series Gran Coupe but with a hatch opening in the back, the 4 offers a point of difference. That would be highly desirable to some – more exclusivity.
The Gran is essentially a 4 Series Coupe with two extra doors and the boot opening extending to include the rear window, and the side windows remain frameless.
It has a longer and higher roofline to accommodate the extra doors and offers more rear headroom in the possible three seat rear bench pew. Boot space is generous and expandable with split-folding rear seats. Exterior styling is similar to other 3 and 4 Series models with a sexy roofline thrown in.
We cannot help but think that there are too many models on offer here especially with the similar 3 GT cluttering the line-up. That style didn’t work in 5-Series GT and probably won’t on 3GT. The 4 Gran is a sweeter looking device with more on road presence.
RANGE / PRICING
The starting point of the 4 Series Gran Coupe lineup is the $70,000 420i, 2.0-litre petrol with 135kW/270Nm output and 6.1L/100km economy. It will put away a 0-100kmh sprint in 7.6 seconds. Those numbers for the 420d, 2.0-litre diesel are 135kW/380Nm, 4.6L/100km and 7.5 seconds.
For the 428i 2.0-litre petrol they are 180kW/350Nm, 6.4L/100km and 6.0 seconds and the range topping 435i 3.0-litre six cylinder petrol is good for 225kW/400Nm, 7.6L/100km and 5.2 seconds.
There is a progression of standard features up through the range but all get an eight speed auto transmission with paddle shift and launch control, leather, dual zone climate control, electric seats park distance control, reverse camera, bi-xenon headlights and auto headlights and wipers.
All get auto stop/start too along with other efficiency boosters such as regenerative braking, on demand engine ancillaries and EcoPro mode that adjusts vehicle settings to maximise fuel efficiency.
When selecting a 4 Gran you can pick between Sport Line, Modern Line and Luxury Line all with different specification, look and feel. Other packages are available to further customise the 4 Gran. The top of the range 435i model even gets M adaptive suspension along with a swag of standard kit.
The 4 Series Gran Coupe is one of the first to access BMW’s ConnectedDrive, which provides access to a comprehensive range of in-car services and apps for impressive connectivity. All models in the range come equipped with a permanent SIM card installed with BMW Teleservices and Intelligent emergency call activated.
Of course it wouldn’t be a BMW without option packs and two particularly appealing ones are the ConnectedDrive Lifestyle and Freedom packages that deliver additional services through the ConnectedDrive system.
All 4 Series Gran models’ maintenance requirements are controlled by BMW’s Condition Based Service (CBS) program which identifies the condition of a vehicle based on actual use, realising the full potential of a vehicle and minimising costs.
Under the CBS system, sensors and advanced algorithms monitor and calculate the conditions in which the vehicle is used including mileage, time elapsed since the last service, fuel consumption and how the vehicle is driven.
The information captured is used to determine the vehicle’s maintenance requirements, identifying that either an annual vehicle inspection or an oil service is due. Driver assistance features are standard on all models with more on the higher spec cars or optionally available.
The drive experience carries no surprises, with the established driver-focused handling credentials of the existing 3 and 4 Series models carrying through to the Gran Coupe. The engine lineup is impressive no matter the spec, with performance, efficiency and price being the only deciding factors.
So, if you want your 3-Series BMW with more style, here’s the answer, a practical five-door coupe with a point of difference.
|435i||3.0L, PULP, 8 SP AUTO||$32,990 – 60,000||2014 BMW 4 Series 2014 435i Pricing and Specs|
|428i Luxury Line||2.0L, PULP, 6 SP MAN||$31,998 – 40,888||2014 BMW 4 Series 2014 428i Luxury Line Pricing and Specs|
|428i Modern Line||2.0L, PULP, 8 SP AUTO||$37,555 – 49,990||2014 BMW 4 Series 2014 428i Modern Line Pricing and Specs|
|420d Sport Line||2.0L, Diesel, 6 SP MAN||$29,586 – 42,888||2014 BMW 4 Series 2014 420d Sport Line Pricing and Specs|