M6 Gran Coupe
After World War II, BMW made a name for itself in the automotive space thanks to their ultra-successful passenger sedans. The most famous of which was the BMW 5 Series released in 1972.
Four years later, the Munich automotive company launched their first luxury coupe, the BMW 6 Series. With their successes well-written in automotive history books, BMW attempted a blend between the two body styles to give birth to the “Gran Coupé” nomenclature.
Designed by Nader Faghihzadeh, a protégé of Chris Bangle, the Gran Coupe sought to bring the ebb and flow of a coupe mixed with the practicality of a sedan. This meant sleek, sloping roof lines and with four doors for easy entry and exit of all occupants. From a distance, the very first Gran Coupes necessitated a second look because the unique roof shape outline on an extended body did not initially seem familiar.
The first ever Gran Coupe joined the BMW 6 Series coupe and convertible as an additional family member. The F06 BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe introduced a pair of rear doors and an extended wheelbase for the rear occupants. It delivered a comfortable ride in sporty style. Its success convinced BMW to produce a smaller Gran Coupe with a similar ethos.
4 Series Gran Coupe
The resulting F36 BMW 4 Series was now the entry model in the Gran Coupe segment. Externally, it had coupe lines, whilst on the inside, a BMW 3 Series-sized interior meant adequate space for all occupants. It was a sleek looking four-door that made other road users give it a second look because of its unique yet crisp shape.
Dynamically, the Gran Coupe models handled with aplomb. There was such finesse in the body control around the corners that it would take the best drivers at the limit to tell apart the Gran Coupes from the Coupes.
The greatest win, however, came at the end of the journey when the front occupants did not have to exit the car and flip their seats forward in order for the rear passengers to egress.
To better understand BMW’s naming convention used today, all Gran Coupes are even numbered. In 2020, these come in the forms of the BMW 2 Series and BMW 8 Series models, and we probably can expect the latest BMW 4 Series to follow suit as well.
M8 Competition Gran Coupe
BMW’s latest offering of the Gran Coupe body-type comes courtesy of the BMW 8 Series model range. Launched as a ‘four-door sportscar’, the Gran Coupe embodies interior luxuries akin to those seen in the BMW 7 Series, whilst being a sharp and smart looking grand tourer.
There are three variants available locally for the BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe starting with the BMW 840i, BMW M850i xDrive and the monstrous 625hp BMW M8 Competition Gran Coupe.
To ensure that there is ample space for the rear occupants, a number of dimensional changes were made to the BMW 8 Series Coupe’s body. The wheelbase was extended by a massive 200mm, overall vehicle height increased by 61mm and the width grew by 30mm.
The BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe is in fact a four-seater with a large central section running down the centre of the interior. Here, rear occupants will be able to find a standard four-zone climate control to suit their individual needs. Nestling into the well-bolstered seats, the sporty look and feel will give the occupant a sense of comfort and safety in their journey.
M235i Gran Coupe
With the two-door coupe version for the BMW 2 Series model range on the horizon, BMW has released the first-ever BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe before the two-door coupe. Based on BMW’s advanced UKL platform, the brand has seen to it that the proportions of a coupe are still maintained, a far more demanding task in a smaller vehicle size.
With frameless doors and crease lines along the length of the car, the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe definitely deceives the eye to make one believe it is a coupe from a higher-class of car. Furthermore, the car has a responsive front-end that is keen to turn-in when the driver demands it to. On the limit, the chassis is balanced and inspires confidence.
Two variants of the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe are currently on sale – the BMW 218i Gran Coupe and the top-of-the-range BMW M235i xDrive Gran Coupe. The BMW 218i Gran Coupe comes with a punchy 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbocharged engine that is able to return a frugal fuel consumption figure of 5.7l/100km. Both front and rear LED lights help to complete the presence of this baby Gran Coupe.
At the other end, the 306hp 2.0-litre turbocharged powerplant in the BMW M235i xDrive Gran Coupe brings together BMW’s most powerful four-cylinder engine in a compact, feisty package. Coupled with its nimble handling, this car will set hearts racing with its depth of abilities. The century sprint is dispensed in just 4.8s.
All BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe models come equipped with actuator contiguous wheel slip limitation (ARB), an innovative piece of technology that was first pioneered in the full electric BMW i3.
Essentially, this system monitors front wheel slip and correspondingly brakes the wheel that is ‘slipping’. The unique detail of this feature is how feedback to the brakes is perceived to occur up to ten times faster than conventional traction control systems.
The Gran Coupe models have created a unique market with their hybrid design of incorporating the distinctive sloping coupe line along with four-doors for sedan practicality. The history books have been rewritten with this family friendly coupe and a new leader has undoubtedly been called to power.