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Napa and the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe

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BMW continues to expand their lineup with the introduction of the all-new 4 Series Gran Coupe. At first glance, adding a four-door variant to a badge that’s essentially a coupe version of another four-door vehicle (3 Series) doesn’t really click, but BMW’s been here before. They introduced their first four-door coupe with the 6 Series Gran Coupe, arguably one of the best-looking cars in its segment. The goal was to combine a sportier design with added functionality; something the German automaker’s looking to do again with the 4 Series GC.

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To really appreciate all that the 4 Series GC has to offer, BMW invited us out on a trip to Napa Valley. This gave us the perfect backdrop. We stayed at the Bardessono, had dinner at Thomas Keller’s French Laundry, went on a hot air balloon ride to see the Valley from above, and this was just the icing. The real enjoyment came from talking with key BMW design and engineer folks who came along for the trip. It really gave us an opportunity to dig into the process a bit more and needless to say, the 4 Series GC means something to these guys. And for all of us, we think it’ll mean something to us as well.

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You get the same length, width, wheelbase and track as its two-door sibling, while the roofline is 4.4 inches longer, with a more refined curve that actually sits a half-inch higher to give the folks in the back some additional head room. If you live for experiences, whether it’s road tripping with friends or hitting a coastal beach to catch some waves, the 4 Series GC might be the perfect companion. In size, the 4 Series Gran Coupe is not too far off from the 3 Series sedan but everything’s so darn functional. From the way the rear seats fold down flat or how the trunk can open by simply waving a leg under the rear bumper, no detail is without reason. Even if you look at the trunk space without the seats being dropped, you’re getting about the same cubic space as the 3 Series sedan. Each car has its own purpose though, and will appeal to different folks, but there’s something about the 4 Series GC that we’re having a hard time overlooking.

We like that the 4 Series GC also comes in a few variants. You’ve got Luxury, Sport, and even the M Sport option, each serving up key details that pull at everyone’s varied tastes. We personally love the sport trim as it gives you darker elements like the air intakes in the front spoiler and the air breathers as well as the double-spoke design of its alloy wheels. And if that’s not aggressive enough, then you can opt for the M Sport package, which delivers large air intakes up front and diffuser insert in the rear bumper. You also get M Sport suspension, a feature that really adds even more joy to driving the 4 Series GC.

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When we shifted from just admiring the car to actually running it through its paces, we got those ear-to-ear smiles BMW’s known to deliver. We made our way into the mountains, sweeping along winding roads that are equal parts energizing and fearful. Using the 428i Gran Coupe with xDrive definitely gave us some peace of mind but going rear-wheel drive and tacking on the M Sport suspension created a closer connection to the road, something that brings with it a boost in confidence as well. And when we hit the open coastal highways of Northern California, we were able to run through the gears via the paddle shifters on the steering wheel, powered by the car’s eight-speed sport Steptronic transmission.

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So there is a balance with this car around convenience and enjoyment that we just can’t shake. And for the folks looking to blend that with a few adventures along the way, the 2015 BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe is a companion worth considering. Look for the 4 Series GC to hit US showrooms in early summer.

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