Interview with Paloma Schmidt-Bräkling, Product Manager BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe

Interesting | April 13th, 2014 by 0
BMW 4er Gran Coupe F36 Projektleiterin Paloma Schmidt Braekling 750x500 Interview with Paloma Schmidt Bräkling, Product Manager BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe

The 2014 Geneva Motor Show hosted the world premiere of the new BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe. The four-door 4 Series Coupe will go on …

The 2014 Geneva Motor Show hosted the world premiere of the new BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe. The four-door 4 Series Coupe will go on sale this summer and will extend the gorgeous looking 4 Series family. To find out more about the 4 Series Gran Coupe and how it fits in the line-up, we sat down with Paloma Schmidt-Bräkling, the BMW AG Product Manager.

BMWBLOG: What’s the idea behind the 4 Series Gran Coupe and how did it come into existence?

Paloma Schmid-Bräklingt: We thought that in our BMW portfolio we don’t have a combination of sportiness, elegance and functionality right now, so we wanted a car that is as sporty as a 4 Series Coupe but has a bit more of comfort, because some people want or need more daily usage – that’s why we wanted a four-door coupe of the 4 Series, which is as dynamic as we know the 4 Series are, but has its plus in comfort.

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BMWBLOG: Besides the obvious differences between the Gran Coupe and the 4 Series Coupe, is there anything else that is different?

Paloma Schmidt-Bräkling: The proportions are equal, they’re 1 mm longer so we have two doors more and we have a much larger trunk – 35 liters more – and more headroom and legroom in the back, without growing a bit. So we have just a bit more roofline – we have a 12 mm higher roofline, and therefore we stretched it to 112 mm longer. Therefore with this 112 mm we could grow so much in the trunk. We think the dynamic of the car is comparable to the two-door coupe, while the functionality is compared to a sedan.

BMWBLOG: How would you describe the customer for the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe?

Paloma Schmidt-Bräkling: Imagine that you have always driven a two-door coupe, you’re the super sporty driver and now you have a family, and want to have a bit more daily usage or you just want to participate in outdoor sports, mountain-biking, skiing. I think those are the people who will sit in our car: sporty guys with sporty families, young families who need more space but want to have a sporty coupe.

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BMWBLOG: Is there a specific market that demanded the 4 Series Gran Coupe?

Paloma Schmidt-Bräkling: I think everybody demands the 4 Series Gran Coupe but our biggest markets will be US, Germany and China – so all the continents; therefore we think it’s a concept for every region.

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BMWBLOG: How would you differentiate between the 4 Series Gran Coupe and the 3 Series Gran Turismo?

Paloma Schmidt-Bräkling: If you compare the proportions, the 3 Series GT is huge compared to the 4 Series Gran Coupe; it is nearly a 5 Series from the length perspective. So if you see them one next to another you can’t compare the two cars. Everybody asks me the question, but if you really see the cars next to each other, I think no customer will say “I like both; I don’t know which one to choose”. People who want very coupe lines, sporty, dynamic character will choose the Gran Coupe, and the people who will need more space than you have here will choose the Gran Turismo, because there the legroom in the back and the trunk is fantastic for a 3 Series.

BMWBLOG: Is the 4 Series Gran Coupe offered in xDrive variants?

Paloma Schmidt-Bräkling: Yes, we offer the xDrive on the 28i from US, from SOP (start of production), for both manual and automatic.

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BMWBLOG: What’s the engine range for the German market?

Paloma Schmidt-Bräkling: Entry level is 418d, and the range is up to 435i. For the first time we offer the BMW Individual, from the start of production, for all the 4 Series and also for US. This is quite important for us because we think our customers like to individualize their cars and the 4 Gran Coupe is as elegant as it is. You can do really nice things with the super nice colours and leathers of the BMW Individual Program. And the M Sport package and the xDrive are available from SOP, so every customer can now just order his beautiful Gran Coupe.
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BMWBLOG: From the competitor’s perspective, what’s the closest car to a Gran Coupe?

Paloma Schmidt-Bräkling: The closest for us is the Audi A5 Sportback, not available in the U.S. but in Europe it’s a model which is quite famous. And that’s it, no really direct competitor in the United States.

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BMWBLOG: Will an M4 Gran Coupe make sense – is there room for an M4 Gran Coupe?

Paloma Schmidt-Bräkling: We always act on the market demand. For now we think that the 4 Series Gran Coupe with 435i is a very good engine, a very sporty car, and let’s see if the market says “we need something sportier” – then we’ll see.

BMWBLOG: Performance-wise, is it closer to the 4 Coupe?

Paloma Schmidt-Bräkling: Yes. We are nearly as dynamic as a 4 Series Coupe.

BMWBLOG: Are there any options on the car that are not offered on the 4 Coupe?

Paloma Schmidt-Bräkling: Specific is the Carbon Black, the exterior color which is only available for the 4 Series Gran Coupe. We also offer the Ivory White which is in our positioning specifications in the interior. And we think that the positioning is right, what we want to tell our customers – in the outside super sporty – M Package, this Carbon Black, which is a combination of black and blue – and in the interior with white leather, which is very elegant and sporty.

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BMWBLOG: Tell us about the tailgate, you mentioned to us earlier that’s an interesting design of the future.

Paloma Schmidt-Bräkling: Yes, for me it is. The cherry on the top is the tailgate, because it’s automatic and it’s standard automatic opening and closing so this is best in the segment, when you compare to the competitors in the market, the other brands; and we have a comfort access system optional, which can close and open by a gesture, and we have a trunk of 480 liters, equal to the 3 Series sedan. So you really have space in the back.

BMWBLOG: Paloma, thank you so much for your time!

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