2015 BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe is a sharper, slightly compromised 3 Series Sedan

By adding two doors to the 4 Series Coupe, BMW may have built a better 3 Series. But is this Gran Coupe really necessary?

Antuan Goodwin Reviews Editor / Cars
Antuan Goodwin gained his automotive knowledge the old fashioned way, by turning wrenches in a driveway and picking up speeding tickets. From drivetrain tech and electrification to car audio installs and cabin tech, if it's on wheels, Antuan is knowledgeable.
Expertise Reviewing cars and car technology since 2008 focusing on electrification, driver assistance and infotainment Credentials
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Antuan Goodwin
2 min read

Watch this: 2015 BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe

GENEVA -- BMW has proven that it will explore just about any niche that it can in order to deliver to its drivers that Goldilocks car configuration, but the newly unveiled BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe has me wondering if the automaker isn't just messing with us.

Recently, BMW split the BMW 3 Series line in two. Models with four or more doors kept the 3 Series badge and two-door models were redesignated the 4 Series. However, the new 2015 BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe that debuted at the Geneva auto show this week has four doors. It is a sedan variant of the 4 Series Coupe. But the 3 Series was already the sedan variant of the Coupe, right? Confused? Let's take a closer look.

BMW adds a sedan to its new line of coupes (pictures)

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The Gran Coupe slots into the sliver-thin space between the 4 Series Coupe and the 3 Series Sedan. The chassis and drivetrain underpinning the Gran Coupe are identical to the rest of the 4 Series line, starting with the two available engine options. The 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder of the 428i is good for 240 horsepower and 255 pound-feet of torque. The 3.0-liter turbo inline-six in the 435i produces 300 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque. The only transmission choice that we'll get in the States is an eight-speed automatic, but drivers will have a choice between rear-drive and BMW's xDrive all-wheel drive system.

2015 BMW 4 series Gran Coupe
The 428i and 435i Gran Coupe will feature the same engine and drive train options as the Coupe. Josh Miller/CNET

So, why would you chose a 4 Sedan Gran Coupe over the nearly identical 3 Sedan?

4 Series models are 0.6 inch longer, 0.6 inch wider, and 1.6 inch lower than their 3 Series counterparts. The Gran Coupe is no exception, striking a slightly more athletic stance than the Sedan. However, the GC sacrifices about a half-inch of front and rear headroom, and a bit of rear legroom, and gains about 130 pounds of curb weight when compared with the Sedan. It also starts at about $2,400 to $3,000 more than an equivalent 3 Series sedan, depending on the trim level chosen.

2015 BMW 4 series Gran Coupe
The Gran Coupe should have a sharper suspension than the Sedan, but it's also heavier. How will this affect performance? Josh Miller/CNET

The minor differences in styling may be subjective, but the new 4 Series Gran Coupe starts to seem like a big ol' bag of compromises when compared with the good ol' 3 Sedan. Then again, the Gran Coupe wins back a bunch of brownie points with the 4 Series' sharper, more aggressive suspension tuning and with its liftback configuration, which should grant easier access to the trunk.

Gran Coupe or Sedan? It's a race that's just too close to call for now.

The 2015 BMW Gran Coupe 428i starts at $41,225, including the $925 destination charge. Adding xDrive all-wheel drive bumps the price up to $43,225. The most powerful 435i Gran Coupe will set you back $46,725 when it hits your local dealership this summer.

See CNET's full coverage of the Geneva auto show