BMW 428i Grand Coupe Sport – The first 10,000 kilometres
Story by Y G Siow
The miles swept by in the blink of an eye. The first 10,000 kilometres behind the wheel of the F36 BMW 428i Grand Coupe (4GC) Sport is best described as driving with an edge.
Bavaria’s response to the Audi Sportback range more than lived up to expectations and punched well above its weight in performance and handling, fuel consumption and day-to-day practicality.
The 4GC’s distinctive four-door, sweeping hatchback, coupled with the instantly recognised blue and white BMW badge at front and back, continued to turn heads long after it was launched here in the third quarter of 2014.
The Grand Coupe’s sculpted high waistline, shark-like visage and aggressive stance endowed it with a natural road presence despite its lower profile compared to its F30 3-Series’ sister platform (the F30 3-Series stands at 1,429mm tall compared to the F36’s; the F36 4GC stands at 1,389mm).
Any concerns about the Grand Coupe’s ability to deal with Singapore’s occasional flash floods were quickly put to rest by the car’s 22cm wading depth – only three centimetres lower than the taller (and larger) BMW F10 5-Series.
The automatic opening and closing tailgate (standard) activated either by key fob (from as far away as 150m in an open air carpark); or more importantly – when my hands were full with supermarket plastic bags – up close with a sweep of a foot under the rear fender. (I cannot imagine ever owning another car that doesn’t come with this truly thoughtful feature.)
At the rear, the 4GC’s ample 480 litre boot space made available courtesy of its high and wide-opening tailgate, was more than enough capacity to hold a full trolley’s worth of household supplies during weekly supply runs from the supermarket.
The 40/60-split rear bench easily accommodated occasional purchases of long, flat-packed wardrobes as well as chests of drawers from Ikea, boosting rear storage capacity to a whopping 1,300 litres.
This oil change marked the end of the first phase of what was arguably one of the best BMW driving experiences to date. It also triggered reflection on day-to-day demands of driving in Singapore – both on congested surface roads, as well as on long stretches of expressway.
Under the hood, the Grand Coupe’s twin-scroll turbo plant puts out 245 horses, providing more than adequate oomph for the stop-go demands of congested downtown driving. Alas, uneven road surfaces, all too common in Singapore, challenged daily ride comfort. Every speed bump, manhole cover and poorly resurfaced road was faithfully transmitted to an otherwise sublime driver-oriented seating position.
With 350 Nm of torque, the 4GC’s electronic throttle quickly delivered from revs as low as 1,500 rpm, enabling me to quickly close gaps in traffic. When needed, the car effortlessly spirited me from traffic snarls.
On expressways, the five-door hatch was in its element, delivering swift, stable lane changes away from all too common road hogs and occasional boy racers. A gentle tap on the throttle and they were all left behind with great aplomb.
The heads-up display provided a quick and convenient reference on speed and was especially useful on stretches of road/expressway monitored by speed cameras, including overhead bridges where camera-toting traffic wardens were known to wait in ambush.
In times of emergencies, the Bavarian marque’s dinner plate-sized front and rear disc brakes were more than up to the task of shaving speed with no brake fade, even after stop-go downtown traffic jams and highway driving. The 4GC’s on-the-road fuel consumption was a reasonable 10 – 10.1 litres/100 km, not far from the manufacturer’s 8.9 – 9 litres/100 km specs for urban driving.
The 428i Grand Coupe Sport presented a reassuringly safe yet engaging driving experience. It was well-equipped to deal with the realities of daily life; commuting to and from work, shuttling family and friends; as well as obligatory supply runs and errands to take care of house and home.
If you’d ask me, this is probably one of the ideal choices for the individual with responsibilities and who is seeking sheer driving pleasure from point A to B.