Andrew Chesterton road tests and reviews the 2016 BMW 430i Gran Coupe with specs, fuel consumption and verdict.
The hardest part of choosing a new car isn’t necessarily deciding what you want, it’s deciding what you’re willing to go without. Want something practical? Then kiss curb appeal goodbye - it’s hard to make your neighbours jealous in something that has more seats than your local cinema. Want something sporty? Then forget about carrying anything bigger than a shoebox in the boot, which will at least be useful to store all the fillings jarred loose by your rock-hard suspension.
MORE: Read the full BMW 4 Series 2016 review
To nail all three (practical, good looking, sporty) is the motoring world’s Holy Grail, and every bit as elusive. But that hasn’t stopped BMW from trying. The 430i Gran Coupe takes the powerful look of the 4 Series Coupe, the surge of a turbocharged powerplant, and adds a pair of back doors and a lift-back boot that opens onto the kind of rear-seats-up luggage space that would put some wagons to shame.
The entire 4 Series line-up underwent a major overhaul earlier this year, with BMW cutting prices and increasing standard inclusions across the range. Part of that shake-up saw the old 428i replaced with a new 430i, which is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and paired with an eight-speed automatic. It gets more power than its predecessor, and yet it uses less fuel according to its official rating. The mid-spec 430i Gran Coupe sits above the 420i and 420d in the 4 Series line-up, and below the top-of-the-range 440i.
So, practical, sporty and easy on the eyes - has BMW pulled off a mission impossible with its 430i Gran Coupe?
While not the fastest in the 4 Series line-up, the 430i Gran Coupe is no slouch. The 2.0-litre, four-cylinder engine generates 185kW @ 5200Nm and 350Nm from 1450Nm, enough to propel you to 100km/h in a claimed 5.9 seconds.
That’s properly quick, helped along by a Sport mode-equipped eight-speed automatic that whips though gear changes with ease. It’s also available with a six-speed manual at no cost, which is an option exactly zero people are likely to take up. Still, BMW should be applauded for offering it as a possibility.
It’s here where the benefits of choosing the Gran Coupe begin to shine. For a start, there are four doors, so there’s none of that undignified seat-folding to allow your rear seat passengers to enter or exit. It’s comfy in the back, too, with plenty of leg and shoulder room. The sloping Coupe-style roofline does cut into headroom for rear passengers, however. Taller guests will suffer, as will anyone forced to ride in the middle seat, which has been designed as an in-case-of-emergency option only.
The window seats in the back house two ISOFIX attachment points, and are separated by a pull-down divider with two pop-out cup holders, which join another two for front-seat passengers. There is no room for bottles in the rear door pockets, though.
It’s the boot that is the real standout here, though (and how often can you say that?). It allows for 480 litres of storage with the rear seats up, and 1,300 litres with the seats folded flat. More importantly, though, it’s long, rather than deep, which makes it hugely practical.
The 430i Gran Coupe looks like it shouldn’t be practical, which is just about the greatest compliment you could possibly pay it. It’s part performance sedan, part slinky coupe, with a wide-and-low stance accentuated by design-led coolness like its frameless rear windows and swept-back headlights.
The BMW M Sport pack now comes standard, which adds 19-inch M Sport-alloys, chrome exhaust tips and a heap of M badging. It also brings a sporty feeling interior, including an M-stamped leather steering wheel.
Price and features
The Gran Coupe body style is available across the entire 4 Series range, with the four-door option costing the same as its two-door Coupe equivalent, and significantly less than the Convertible versions – which are also slower and thirstier than the hardtops, so you’d want to really love the sun to invest.
The BMW 430i Gran Coupe kicks off at $79,900, a $2500 price cut over the outgoing 428i, and adds a standard head-up display, lane departure warning system and bird’s-eye-view camera system over the outgoing model.
Beyond that M Sport Pack, you’ll get adaptive suspension, bi-xenon headlights and a nine-speaker stereo, too. What you don’t get, but probably should, is seat heating and active cruise control, which, along with an upgraded stereo and what BMW calls its parking assistant, arrives in a $3,185 Innovations Pack.
Also missing is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto – a standard feature on some sub-$20k hatchbacks. You get what BMW call “extended smartphone connectivity” instead, which allows you to control apps like Pandora through the (not a touchscreen) 6.5-inch multimedia unit, but the system lacks the familiar user interface you find with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.
The fun side of the 430i Gran Coupe’s split personality emerges when you leave the city in search of some twisting tarmac.
The model refresh brought with it some key safety improvements, which now see the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe range arrive with a rear-view camera, lane departure warning and front and rear parking sensors as standard, as well as six airbags (two front airbags, a head airbag in the front and rear and side airbags in the front).
You’ll also get BMW’s Surround View camera, which shows the car and its surrounding as though you’re either looking down on it, or looking at it from the side. It’s incredibly clever, and is designed to show you how close you are at the sides or at the front or rear from parking lines or any obstacles.
The entire 4 Series Gran Coupe range is equipped with BMW’s Driving Assistant, which will apply the brakes for you if it senses a collision, but won’t bring the car to a complete stop. It’s a system with which I’ve recently become very well acquainted, with the auto-brakes having recently saved me from a very expensive accident – and a very awkward phone call to BMW.
The BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe is yet to be ANCAP or Euro NCAP crash tested.
The BMW 430i Gran Coupe sips a claimed/official 5.8L/100km, though we got nowhere near that on our mostly urban test route, with the on-board computer reading 10-plus litres after an enthusiastic drive.
There’s also an engine Start/Stop system as standard, along with an Eco Pro driving mode, which disengages the engine and allows the car to coast when it can.
The fun side of the 430i Gran Coupe’s split personality emerges when you leave the city in search of some twisting tarmac. Gone is the load-carry wagon, replaced by a genuine performance sedan, complete with rorty soundtrack from that chrome-tipped exhaust.
Left it in Eco Pro or Comfort mode, and the 430i ambles along in relative – if a little firm - comfort, but select Sport or Sport + and the whole car tightens a notch or two, from the suspension to the gearbox to the responsiveness of the accelerator.
The steering in the sportier modes is sharp and direct, and the acceleration off the line is surprisingly addictive. The Gran Coupe is 30kg heavier than the two-door Coupe, but it doesn’t feel it as it pounces from corner to corner. And you’ll only really miss the performance of a more powerful model when you really stretch its legs, with power beginning to fade from about 80km/h onwards.
Through tighter bends, though, it’s more fun than something this practical has any right to be. And when you’re done, you can pop it back into Comfort mode and trundle off to Ikea.
The BMW 430i Gran Coupe is covered by a three-year, unlimited kilometre warranty. BMW also offers what it calls condition-based servicing, so while the official service intervals are 12 months, or 15,000km, your car will alert you if it requires attention sooner. The 430i falls under BMW’s capped price servicing program, which also allows you to prepay all your services for the first five years (or 80,000kms) for $1,340.