As a child that grew up in the back of various BMW 3 Series models, I’ve always had a fondness towards the brand. Somewhere towards the end of high school however, that fondness faltered, I couldn’t stand the E60 5 Series with its little wheels and the E46 M3 never got me excited. If it wasn’t for the E92 335i, I might have lost my way altogether. These days I’m more than happy to admit that I’m well and truly engrossed, and the BMW 430i Gran Coupe continues to fuel my passion for the Bavarian manufacturer.
To give you some perspective, I’ve sampled a lot of the BMW range in the past few years, too many to list in fact, and every time I step out of one, be it an entry 3 Series, M4 or X6M, I think about the consistently high standard of product. You see the thing is, whether you go the 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel or the 4.0-litre twin turbocharged V8, you can rest assured you’re getting a great product from BMW.
Stepping straight out of the Mercedes AMG C 63 S into a BMW 430i Gran Coupe was always going to be interesting. Honestly, I was expecting to find the BMW a little flat after the AMG – perhaps that’s why I enjoyed it so much because it was anything but.
The Gran Coupe is essentially the perfect sedan. It’s a touch bigger than both the 3 Series and 4 Series Coupe and introduces additional space in the rear by way of a coupe style rear boot. What you end up with is a BMW sedan that feels much roomier inside than its 3 Series cousin and an abundance of storage space in the rear when the seats are collapsed.
The BMW design team have done a stellar job with the recent exterior updates to the 3 and 4 series sedans. Personally, I think it’s the 3 Series Touring which we drove last year and the Gran Coupe which are the strongest looking variants. The rear coupe styling balances beautifully with the raised bonnet and the car’s on-road presence is striking, to say the least, especially in Estoril Blue with M Sport Package on 19inch wheels.
Interestingly, BMW prices have come down quite a bit over the last 10 years, and the updated 4 Series has had roughly $10k taken from its sticker price with the addition of more standard features. The M Sport Package comes standard on the 430i GC which starts at $79,990, while the Luxury line, which offers a more sedated appearance is available as a no-cost option. My car was fitted with a Sunroof, Innovations Package (Seat Heaters, Cruise Control, Parking Assistant and harman/kardon Sound) plus Metallic paint for a total of $87,935.
The new turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which we sampled at last year’s updated 3 Series launch is a dream. The Gran Coupe packs 185kW of power which propels it to 100km/h in 5.9 seconds as it scrolls through the seamless 8-speed transmission. It’s not the type of power that throws you into your seat, but it’s more impressive than one would expect from such a practical sedan.
Perhaps it was my driving (good chance it was that) or the slightly stiff ride but the 430i Gran Coupe always felt quick to me, and obviously more so with Adaptive M suspension and Sports settings dialled in. What I loved was the ability to grip the M Sports steering wheel, flick the left paddle, and give the GC a red hot go, then wind it down and relax back into the plush Dakota leather seat and cruise – it’s this balance of enjoyment that BMW has perfected in recent years.
As I briefly alluded to above, I thoroughly savoured every minute of my time in the BMW 430i Gran Coupe. As a stickler for cars that I can get a surfboard in easily, the GC tickled my fancy as both an aspirational everyday sedan and a driver-focused sports car.