While its first public appearance is still set for the Geneva Auto Show in March, the covers have come off the new 2015 BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe. This stylish 4-door hatch blends all of the best features of the 2-door BMW 4 Series Coupe with its own sense of style plus more convenient access to the rear seats and cargo area. Like the Coupe, it will be available here in 428i and 435i iterations as well as Sport, Luxury and M Sport models and offer the choice of standard rear-drive or  optional xDrive intelligent all-wheel drive systems. 

Save for being half an inch taller, all key dimensions of the new 4 Series Gran Coupe -- including its 110.6-inch wheelbase - are identical the basic 4 Series sibling. Beyond mildly tweaked fascia detailing and the extra door count, the most notable visual changes to the Gran Coupe come in the form of its more sweeping roofline that resolves into a slightly taller and shorter rear deck. Also benefitting from BMW's same meticulous attention to aero detailing -- including Air Curtains, Air Breathers and full underbody fairings -- this new addition to the lineup boasts a better coefficient of drag (0.27 vs 0.28) than its Coupe counterpart.

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Like the 4 Series Coupe, the 2015 BMW 428i Gran Coupe is fitted with the automaker's 240-horsepower/2.0-liter TwinPower Turbo 4-cylinder engine while the 435i variant has the silky smooth 3.0-liter TwinPower inline-6 that cranks out an even more engaging 300 ponies. With the former also making 255 lb ft of peak torque from 1,250 to 4,800 rpm and the latter churning out 300 lb ft between 1,300 and  5,000 revs, both Gran Coupe models promise plenty of low- and mid-range responsiveness. Unlike the Coupe that offers a 6-speed manual transmission, all Gran Coupe models heading to America will come with paddle-shift 8-speed Steptronic automatic. BMW says the 428i Grand Coupe should be able to sprint from 0-60 mph in about 5.7 seconds while the 335i will need just 4.9 ticks to nail that benchmark speed. 

As with other members of its current lineup, BMW developed the new 4 Series Gran Coupe using its EfficientDynamics approach that matches lightweight design with other mileage-enhancing elements. Here, they run the gamut from Auto Start Stop and Brake Energy Regeneration to Eco Pro mode with "coasting" capability and demand-controlled operation of its engine-coolant pump and electromechanical Servotronic power steering. While final EPA figures are still pending, BMW expects the 428i Gran Coupe to return identical 23/35 mpg city/highway numbers as the 2-door 428i and that the same will hold true for its 435i sibling, which is expected to clock in with 22/32 mpg stats despite weighing 100 pounds more than the Coupe. 

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The new model's body structure has been reinforced to maintain Coupe-level rigidity and the aluminum-intensive suspension retuned to deliver the same degree of control and agility in base form as well as when upgraded with the optional adaptive and M Sport suspensions. Regardless of chassis spec, all Gran Coupes come with BMW's Driving Dynamics Control that revises the throttle response, steering feel, shift mapping and Dynamic Stability Control threshold settings (as well as the adaptive suspension) to Eco Pro, Comfort, Sport and Sport+ configurations at the touch of a button. 

The cabin treatment of the 4 Series Gran Coupe reflects the look and feel of the 4 Series Coupe. However, its elevated roofline actually provides rear passengers with slightly more headroom and the flat-folding the 40/20/40 split seatback expands capacity of its 17.0-cu ft trunk area to an impressive 45.9 cu-ft. While the rear hatch is power activated on all Gran Coupe models, an available Premium Package adds a Smart Opener function that pops the liftgate by a subtle foot swipe beneath the rear bumper. 

Like the 2-door 4 Series, the Gran Coupe also offers an abundance of standard or optional technology that ranges from BMW's ConnectedDrive, the new iDrive 4.2 setup and a new navigation package with 3D graphics plus a Touchpad-enhanced controller to the latest-generation high-res Head-Up Display. Other items on offer include Active Driving Assistant collision warning, Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go Function, Active Blind Spot Detection, Lane Departure Warning, Parking Assistant and Surround View Cameras as well as High Beam Assistant with intelligent control for cars fitted with the LED headlamps.

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The 2015 BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe will make its first American appearance at the New York Auto Show in April before arriving in dealers here early this summer. Pricing for the BMW 428i Gran Coupe will start at $41,225 with the 428i xDrive Gran Coupe opening at $43,225 and the 435i Gran Coupe commanding $46,725. While pricing has yet to be confirmed for the BMW 435i xDrive Gran Coupe that goes on sale later in the year, it's expected to carry the same $2,000 AWD premium. If so, look for it to sticker at $48,725. 

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