Editorial: Should I Buy The BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe or 3 Series Gran Turismo?

4-Series | February 5th, 2014 by 10
Bild-Vergleich-BMW-4er-GC-Gran-Coupe-F36-3er-GT-F34-06

One has to wonder if the marketing arm of BMW didn’t imbibe a bit too much JW Augustiner Bräu Maximator when they decided to fortify …

One has to wonder if the marketing arm of BMW didn’t imbibe a bit too much JW Augustiner Bräu Maximator when they decided to fortify the 3 sedan with a 3 Gran Turismo and now a 4 Gran Coupe. That’s three (count ‘em, 3) midsize four door offerings if you don’t count the 3 Series Touring.

While the 3 Series sedan follows a traditional three box approach, with BMW’s signature long hood – short front overhang and a well defined rear deck lid, the 3 Gran Turismo and 4 Gran Coupe eschew the three box look for a fastback look with a minimized rear deck. From an American’s perspective, the styling harks back to the early Plymouth Barracuda, Ford Torino, and AMC Marlin. And both the 3 Gran Turismo and 4 Gran Coupe utilize a pair of rear doors and a rear hatch.

Editorial: Should I Buy The BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe or 3 Series Gran Turismo?

But if you flash pictures of the 3 Gran Turismo and 4 Gran Coupe to a casual observer they’ll have a hard time telling them apart. While the 4 Gran Coupe’s dimensions, wheelbase, width, and length track closely to the 3 Series sedan, the 4 Gran Coupe is over an inch lower. The 3 Gran Turismo, however, adds to all dimensions of the 3 Series sedan including wheelbase but not width.

BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe vs. BMW 3 Series GT – Photo Comparison

One would think the 3 Gran Turismo’s dimensions would be similar to the 3 Series Touring, but they aren’t, the Touring’s dimensions mimic the sedan’s. So the 3 Gran Turismo is the ‘big brother’ of the group. And that is a good starting point for discussing the truly significant differences between the offerings.

Editorial: Should I Buy The BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe or 3 Series Gran Turismo?

Imagine that the marketing arm looked at the potential of a single 3 Series sized offering and wondered how it would be made to fit various demographics. But, beyond tuning the handling, what if they could also ‘tune’ the shape and structure of the individual offerings. Thanks to BMW’s efficient production processes, they could.

So the 3 Gran Turismo becomes the spacious luxury touring car, without the full utility of a Touring, but retaining significant utility with a hatch. The buyers of the 3 Gran Turismo are looking for an all weather highway machine, that, while it handles well, places an emphasis on passenger comfort, particularly on back seat spaciousness. This is where the extended wheelbase comes into play with the 3 Gran Turismo.

Editorial: Should I Buy The BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe or 3 Series Gran Turismo?

And to ensure a comfortable ride, BMW tunes the suspension specifically for the car’s purpose. In the US, the 3 Gran Turismo is available in xDrive variants only. The dampers are also specific to the 3 Gran Turismo. In addition the roll center (along with the center of gravity and seating position – H point) are higher than on the 3 Series sedan. And the anti-roll bars on the 3 Gran Turismo are thicker than on the 3 Series sedan.

The 4 Gran Coupe on the other hand is available with the Sport Suspension and also benefits from additional front suspension stiffening. The 4 Gran Coupe uses the same diameter anti-roll bars as the 3 Series sedan. The additional front suspension stiffness should enhance steering feel also. While an M4 Gran Coupe isn’t likely, an M435i Gran Coupe would be welcome.

Maybe an idealistic way to view the three is; 3 Gran Turismo, spacious luxury with sporting attributes; 3 Series sedan luxury and sport; 4 Gran Coupe sporting with luxurious attributes. Of the group I prefer the sporting focus and style of the 4 Gran Coupe. And with that I think I’ll rummage around the fridge and see if there isn’t a Bauarbeiterhalbe of JW Augustiner Bräu Edelstoff handy.

Editorial: Should I Buy The BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe or 3 Series Gran Turismo?

  • CDspeed

    I’ve been thinking about it and I just don’t think the 4-series Gran Coupe makes sense. It’s so close to the 3-series why bother, and if you like the hatch why not buy a 3-series Gran Turismo? The 3GT is more car for the money, more interior space, more trunk space, and the 3GT as a power spoiler. The 4-series Gran Coupe would make sense if BMW had separated the 4-series from the 3-series a bit better. The 5-series and 6-series look nothing a like, they don’t even share their interiors, the 3 and 4-series share a lot. A 2-series Gran Coupe would have been better and could have been a great Mercedes CLA rival.

  • Nguyen Ketu

    In terms of comfort I’d choose the 3 series GT because it has more space inside.
    But in terms of looks and beauty, the 4 series gran coupe is way better.

    • http://www.bmwblog.com Horatiu B.

      That’s a good way to simplify the options.

  • dOMASk

    I like front end of 3GT more,but overall silhouette n rear end looks better on 4-series

  • Jim C

    just as they are trying to identify the difference between the 3 and 4.. the mush it up with this?… do they “drive” the same???

  • jason bourne

    Neither.

    They’re both aberrations.

  • Marley71

    Let me start by saying “I’m wrong!”. Of course I’m wrong, how can anyone have “the right” opinion?

    Imagine there had only existed a 3 series sedan, touring, and coupe. In addition to the 5/7 series and X/Z ranges of course.

    The person who is torn between the 3 series sedan and coupe would gravitate to the 4GC.
    The person who is torn between the 3 series sedan and touring would gravitate to the 3GT.

    It seems quite the simple proposition to me? But as I said in the beginning “I’m wrong!”.

  • Giom

    All these opinions would be a lot more educated if they were made by ppl that has actually seen both cars together. Even spent some time driving them around. Just saying.

  • Raul

    The 4-series is certainly distinct from the 3-series. It has lower center of gravity, lower (swoop-ier) roofline, throatier exhaust, tighter steering. So it addresses many of the issues that “bug” us longer-term 3-series fans who own F30s. If I had had the patience, I would have waited for the 4-series GC. Although it is annoying more $$$

  • Lucky Stars

    I see this as the best of both worlds it is possibly a better looking 3 series sedan with the absolutely awesome hatch for practicality. There is no other car out there with this combination, since wagons to most are not attractive. Not since the mazda 6 hatch has there been this choice and to me it is compelling, will have to see one in person though, not sure it is enough to cancel my custom build mercedes E class.

BMWBLOG

NEWSLETTER