2015 BMW 435i Gran Coupe xDrive

2015 BMW 435i Gran Coupe xDrive

Yet another 3 series to choose from.

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It’s a good thing that the BMW 3 series is inherently a good car. Otherwise, folks might get pretty annoyed that yet again, the Bavarian Motor crew has filled yet another niche no one knew needed filling. As of this writing, there are seven different takes on the old stalwart of BMW’s ever burgeoning lineup- wagons, convertibles, coupes and now this Gran Coupe, which isn’t a coupe at all.

Those familiar to this space know we’ve spent time in the Gran Coupe realm before, although that was in the much bigger (and more expensive) 6 series/M6. Need a refresher of what the heck a Gran Coupe is? No problem: it’s BMW speak for swoopy, coupe-like styling proportions on the basis of a sedan profile; you know, the kinds of cars with four doors (once you wrap your head around that fact, you won’t wonder if we’ve lost our minds calling a 4 door a coupe.)

PROS: Easy on the eyes, holds more stuff than a regular 3 series sedan, Gran Coupe sounds cooler when you’re telling people about the car you drive.

CONS: Swoopy roofline cuts into rear seat headroom, you’ll have to constantly explain why your four door vehicle is dubbed a coupe, no manual gearbox available.

THE VERDICT: BMW will happily sell the masses something they didn’t know they needed; more body types do not necessarily make an already good car even better.

Where our 435i tester is concerned, this means a mashup of all the best the 3 series has to offer. You get the pleasing profile of the 4 series coupes (as well as the front end treatment, which is a good thing) with the added practicality of two more doors and a hatchback that grants wider and easier access to the rear cargo area. The rear seats fold down flat making the Gran Coupe a good choice for schlepping stuff- maybe not as good as the 3 series GT, or wagon, but certainly better than the regular sedan. A better looking, more practical version of a car we already are pretty fond of? Yes, please.

We’re also agreeable to the choices of drivetrain BMW will offer for its Gran Coupe range. Cue the underhood cameos of BMW’s silken inline-six and inline-four engines, each of them lashed to an 8-speed transmission that’s equally familiar. No matter the combo, they deliver smooth, efficient power- we tend to lean towards the six banger because it simply is one of the finest engines you can buy, at any price. What’s not so agreeable is BMW’s choice not to offer their slick manual gearbox for either engine- although we suspect that the typical Gran Coupe buyer isn’t too concerned with rowing their own and shredding apexes. xDrive can be had as optional kit on both.

It’s hard to complain about a car that gets the important stuff so right like the 3 series, even if some of the edge that we used to rave about ad naseum is dulled somewhat. The steering, the ride and handling and the unpopular decision to pipe engine noises into the cabin aren’t going to be talking points for any BMW nut. Despite the management’s attempt to open up 3 series sales to those that may not have considered it in the past, we have to ask: where does the slicing of the 3 series sausage segment stop? When will we have enough variants? Surely there’s a model they offer that will hit all the right targets for you- if not, well, stay tuned for the next permutation coming to a dealership near you.

2015 BMW 435i Gran Coupe xDrive – Specifications

  • Price as tested: $65,645
  • Body Type: 4-door, 5 passenger sedan
  • Powertrain Layout: Front engine/all-wheel drive
  • Engine:  3.0-litre inline-6 turbo, DOHC, 24 valves
  • Horsepower: 300 @ 5,800-6,000 rpm
  • Torque (lb-ft): 300 @ 1,300-5,000 rpm
  • Transmission: 8-speed automatic
  • Curb weight: 1,763kg ( 3,884 lbs)
  • Observed Fuel Economy: 12.8L/100km ( 18 mpg)