We recently spent some time behind the wheel of the BMW 420d Gran Coupe. It left us wondering about the sound of speed.

Towards the latter part of 2021 BMW unveiled the latest 4 Series Gran Coupe. In BMW speak that means a four-door with coupe-esque lines. The model range was introduced to our shores just a few weeks later towards the end of last year. We didn’t get to attend the national ride and drive event. However, a BMW 420d Gran Coupe test unit was recently loaned to us.

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Familiar face

The BMW Gran Coupe shares the controversial face with its Coupe and M siblings. Those oversized kidney grilles seem to have grown on most folk and not even garnered a second look. The overall shape of the Gran Coupe was what caught the eye of most people. The four-door coupe has lines that are swoopy and quite distinctive from the sedan and two-door coupe. Frameless windows add to the special feeling when you slip into the cabin.

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‘Our’ BMW 420d Gran Coupe was finished in a dark shade of metallic blue, which helps the grilles to blend in somewhat. It is also kitted with an M kit that adds an air of sportiness to the overall appearance. Among the highlights are 19-inch alloys shod with low-profile rubber, more of which in a bit.

Read about the all-new BMW X1 that is heading to SA at this link.

Known quantity

Anyone who has driven a BMW in the last two to three years will immediately feel at home. One is, however, aware that you fall quite far before settling into the seat, which makes the car feel more hunkered down and athletic, a sensation that continues when you are driving.

There is nothing massively different in aesthetic execution, it is stylish and simplistic in layout. BMW has struck a good balance between physical buttons and virtual controls that are found in the touchscreen infotainment system. There are also enough controls on the chunky steering wheel to never take your hands off.

There seems to be plenty of space for adults on the rear bench and BMW says the boot volume has grown to 470 litres in the latest generation Gran Coupe. That’s a handy volume for luggage on a weekend away for four adults. When there are only two passengers you can flip down the rear chairs to expand the space to 1 290 litres.

By the way, the boot is accessed by a powered tailgate that rises and closes at the touch of a button. The loading area is wide and deep, making it far more cargo friendly than the 3 Series or two-four 4. We didn’t try, but we’ll bet a mountain bike would fit in without much hassle.

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Engine options

The BMW 420d Gran Coupe is powered by a diesel engine, as you may have guessed. There are 420i and 440i petrol derivatives, too. The former has an inline four turbocharged engine while the latter has a force-fed inline six. We believe the 420d is the pick of the bunch, and we’ll try to explain why in a moment. 

The oil-burning unit is also an inline four that displaces 2,0 litres. It uses a turbocharger to ramp up power to 140 kW or power. A maximum 400 N.m of torque is on tap from 1 750 – 2 500 r/min. An eight-speed automatic transmission is the only option in the 4 Series Gran Coupe range.

On the road

Most BMWs have a sporting slant and the BMW 420d Gran Coupe also falls into this camp. This car was developed by folks who enjoy driving, you can tell from the way it responds to inputs. The suspension set-up does a pretty decent job of ironing out road imperfections. And over larger undulations there is a good balance of comfort and body control.  The 19-inch alloys, shod with Pirelli high-performance rubber, provide loads of grip, as a result, it takes a lot of lateral load to get them unstuck.

Silent achiever

If you are wondering about the title, firstly, thanks for reading this far. And secondly, we’ll get to it in a moment. The turbodiesel powerplant in the BMW 420d Gran Coupe seems like a perfect match for a car of this type, a junior GT, if you will. Its low-down grunt and long gearing make it an ideal car for cruising long distances. Handily it also returns low fuel consumption figures. The indicated figure during our time together hovered around the mid-six litre mark.

Thanks to the quiet nature of the engine you can also drive at a pace that would otherwise come across as a bit anti-social. People don’t hear the car coming as the engine isn’t howling along at high revs. We know the inline six in the M440i from other BMWs and, as good as it sounds, it can alert folks to your current antics from quite far away.

This not the case with the 420d. During a spirited drive we came across a sportsbike enjoying same corners we did, also at a decent pace. However, the response from the public towards the quiet BMW and the two-wheeler was quite different, even though we were not travelling at dissimilar speeds.


BMW has really streamlined its model offerings in the local market. There are just three variants to choose from, though we can’t quite work out why there isn’t an M4 Gran Coupe… (Answers on a postcard to…- Ed). 

If you require a BMW model of this size then the Gran Coupe seems to be the winner. It offers more practicality than the 3 Series with nearly the same level of coupe-ness as the two-door. We’d highly recommend that you sample the BMW 420d Gran Coupe, even if it wasn’t initially on your shortlist of models to choose from.

Model: BMW 420d Gran Coupe 

Price: R984 830

Engine: 2,0-litre inline four, turbodiesel

Transmission: eight-speed automatic, RWD

Max power: 140 kW

Max torque: 400 N.m

0-100 km/h: 7,5 sec

Top speed: 233 km/h

Fuel consumption: 4,9 L/100 km