BMW 430d xDrive M Sport Gran Coupe: Review


Explaining what the 4 Series Gran Coupe is to a 'civilian' is like attempting to rationalise Bonfire Night to someone not born to a tradition of letting off fireworks and burning effigies to celebrate foiling a centuries old treasonous plot. About half way through you realise 'this sounds ridiculous...' but feel compelled to see it through, the resulting blank face and awkward pause leaving both parties feeling a little confused.


Anyway. Here we are. A four-door saloon/coupe derived from a two-door coupe itself based on ... a four-door saloon. Motivation to book the 430d came in after a meeting with BMW's PR man, to which he arrived in a 435d xDrive Gran Coupe and did a pretty convincing sales job. Looking at the stats later this didn't seem entirely lacking in substance. The flagship diesel's 313hp/465lb ft compares well with the 440i's 326hp/332lb ft, this sledgehammer to nut drivetrain dealing out its 4.8-second 0-62 and monstrous mid-range with silky-smooth six-cylinder refinement. Indeed, by the numbers it's the fastest 4er Gran Coupe you can buy. Pity they don't have one on the press fleet then.

430d as runner-up prize it is then, 258hp and 413lb ft the consolation. M Sport spec gains us sports suspension, M bodykit, M branded alloys and a few dedicated trim pieces, further tarted up with an optional £1,650 M Sport Sport Plus package adding M Sport brakes and 19-inch wheels. Over Luxury this spec fits with the Gran Coupe's sportier profile, our car also coming with the smooth-talking eight-speed auto as standard. File under 'nice car' rather than something inspirational to dust off for a Sunday morning blast along the lanes. Nice enough to give you just a tingle of excitement on the daily commute though?

Hatching a plot
Actually yes. It's a bit of a surprise to press the boot release and realise it's basically a 4 Series hatchback in all but name, this possibly the most practical 3 or 4 Series body shape this side of those lumpy GT crossover things. The look isn't quite as cohesive or attractively proportioned as its 6 Series Gran Coupe big brother but it's a better looking car in the metal than in pictures. And suckers you by feeling convincingly a little sportier and more special than any 3 Series equivalent. You pay accordingly, a 430d xDrive M Sport's base price nearly £4,000 more than the equivalent 330d xDrive saloon.


The 'what if' factor of not getting into a 435d does slightly temper the otherwise appealing qualities of the big six up front. Refinement is excellent though and there are no 'for a diesel' excuses to be made for its smoothness or relative willingness to rev. If there's a disappointment it's in the linearity of the power delivery and absence of that fat wedge of torque that is so useful in the cut and thrust of motorway driving. Indeed, you'll find you often need to drop a gear or two to generate any meaningful progress once that elephant racing artic finally pulls in and releases you from the 50mph crawl.

As experienced in our 435i long-termer, BMW's M Sport damping leaves a little to be desired, the £515 Adaptive M Sport suspension on our test car retaining a brittle edge in all of its modes. That and a bit of tyre roar are the only real downers on the otherwise superb long-distance cruising ability. For all the fuss made about Audi interiors BMW's current ones - suitably gilded from the options list - maintain a quality, clarity and ease of use that comfortably sits at the top of the class. A lot less chintzy than the Mercedes equivalent too.

All in all this adds up to a car of quiet competence and the ability to sooth and look after you on the long haul home. Beyond its motorway comfort zone it has just enough additional poise and pizzazz to remind you of BMW's sporting genes too. It's an undemanding car but has an understated ability to make progress that leaves you refreshed rather than ragged. The xDrive four-wheel drive adds an unobtrusive level of all-weather security too, with a default neutral stance that has just enough rear-driven balance to stay true to the brand values. Or you can save £1,515 and stick with rear-wheel drive.

As tested a pleasant car rather than an astonishing one then. Still want a go with that 435d though...


BMW 430d XDRIVE M-SPORT GRAN COUPE
Engine
: 2,993cc 6-cyl turbodiesel
Transmission: 8-speed auto, four-wheel drive
Power (hp): 258@4,000rpm
Torque (lb ft): 413@1,500-3,000rpm
0-62mph: 5.2sec
Top speed: 155mph (limited)
Weight: 1,690kg
MPG: 52.3mpg (NEDC combined)
CO2: 142g/km
Price: £42,460 (£48,560 as tested, comprising Interior Comfort Package of sun protection glass, extended storage and sliding arm rest £460; M Sport Plus Package of M Sport brakes, 19-inch wheels and Harman/Kardon sound system £1,650; heated steering wheel £155; Adaptive M Sport Suspension £515; electric sunroof £895; folding/dimming mirrors £300; split/fold rear seats £170; Adaptive Headlights £860; Head-up Display £825; internet £95; online entertainment £325; Enhanced Bluetooth with voice control £350)

 

 

 

 

Photos: Dan Trent

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Comments (90) Join the discussion on the forum

  • QuattroDave 19 May 2016

    Reading the early reviews of the 330d when it came out (before the 335 arrived) I thought the estate 4wd option would be every car a person could ever need,

    However I now see that pretty much every bugger has had the same idea, cruising up and down the M3 lately also all bmw's that passed me were either 330d or 335d's. I can only assume they're attractive on company car schemes and have good lease deals.

    For me the sheer volume of them on the roads has put me off somewhat. Over three Southampton-Reading trips in the last week I did not spot a single 320d or lower spec engine, they were all the top two!

    Clearly good for BMW but sadly it's put me off a bit. I'll be sticking with my V8 petrol a while longer!

  • 9k rpm 19 May 2016

    4K extra for a hatchback is a lot.

    Shame they couldn't test the 435d the x35d engine is a masterpiece I'm loving it in my month old 335d M sport touring which hasn't got the adaptive dampers and the ride is great.

    I still have my V8 M3 and they are a lovely contrast to one another.

    Edited by 9k rpm on Thursday 19th May 11:33

  • cerb4.5lee 19 May 2016

    QuattroDave said:
    For me the sheer volume of them on the roads has put me off somewhat. Over three Southampton-Reading trips in the last week I did not spot a single 320d or lower spec engine, they were all the top two!
    I think it depends what neck of the woods you are, where I am almost all 3 series are 320d or lower and it's very rare that I see a 330d/335d.

    I can't believe how quick this 430d is at 5.2 secs and I was pretty happy back in 2006 with a E90 330d that did it in 6.7 secs, performance moves on very quickly for sure.

  • 9k rpm 19 May 2016

    I see a lot of 320d but haven't ever seen a 335d round here seen a few 435d coupes. I think you will see a few more 335ds as the lease deals end or last year were brilliant (build times were 5-6 months). You could get a 335d for very little a month more than a 320d.

  • cerb4.5lee 19 May 2016

    9k rpm said:
    4K extra for a hatchback is a lot.

    Shame they couldn't test the 435d the x35d engine is a masterpiece I'm loving it in my month old 335d M sport touring which hasn't got the adaptive dampers and the ride is great.

    I still have my V8 M3 and they are a lovely contrast to one another.

    Edited by 9k rpm on Thursday 19th May 11:33
    My V8 M3 was one of the reasons I wanted my 640d because I hated the fact that nothing happens in the M3 below 6k revs...but I certainly wouldn't say no to having both.

    Running a V8 M3 and a 335d is a lovely combo. thumbup

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