By on June 24, 2014

418d

 

A vast number of new cars sold in the United Kingdom end up going to fleet buyers, with strict guidelines dictating what can and cannot be purchased for a company fleet. One of the main stipulations is “no coupes”. But BMW seems to have found a way around that.

The 3-Series is already a popular “executive car”, especially as a company car for upper management. BMW UK claims that 60 percent of 3-Series buyers are from corporate fleets. But the new 4-Series coupe will obviously fail to pass muster. But with the 4-door 4-Series Gran Coupe (aka fastback), BMW is betting big that it will emulate the 3-Series’ success.

Just-Auto reports that the Gran Coupe will get an exclusive 418d trim level targeted at fleets. The 418d will make 143 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque, but also emit 121 grams of CO2 per km (just shy of the magic 100 gram mark), enabling better fuel consumption and more favorable road taxes.

 

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56 Comments on “BMW’s Fleet Special...”


  • avatar

    A “4-door” has never been, nor ever will be a “coupe”

    Thank You Mercedes CLS.

    • 0 avatar
      MarionCobretti

      THe CLS is only the most recent offender. The Rover P5 was sold as “4 door coupe” decades earlier. http://www.motortrend.com/classic/features/12q3_1970_rover_coupe_classic_drive/

    • 0 avatar
      Chris FOM

      Actually it’s been a coupe for quite some time. It’s only in the US, and only relatively recently, that “coupe” has become synonymous for “2 doors.” I far prefer this nomenclature anyway, because we already have a term for a car with 2 doors: we call it a “2 door.” That allows coupe and sedan to be far more descriptive terms for other characteristics of the car rather than redundant terminologies for the number of doors it has.

      • 0 avatar
        dtremit

        A “Coupe” has meant two doors since it was a type of horse-drawn carriage.

        And not all two-door cars are rightly called coupes. Two door sedans are not coupes.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          There really aren’t any set rules as to what can be called a “coupe”. The word is derived from the French “coupé” which literally means “cut”. In cars it’s typified as a cut down sedan or saloon.

          Arguing about the specifics of what a coupe can or cannot be is like arguing that a Dodge Charger can’t have 4 doors.

          • 0 avatar
            dtremit

            Not that it’s going to change anyone’s behavior, but there’s actually an ISO standard defining a coupe as a two door car.

            To argue that there is not an overwhelming historical precedent for “coupe” meaning a specific type of two door conveyance is just not credible.

            Doesn’t mean automakers can’t call things whatever they want. Mercedes could call a minivan a “family coupe” if they felt like it, and if they were persistent enough maybe it’d stick. But it won’t change the historical meaning of the word.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            “To argue that there is not an overwhelming historical precedent for “coupe” meaning a specific type of two door conveyance is just not credible.”

            Good thing I didn’t argue that. I’m aware of the precedents.

          • 0 avatar
            dtremit

            But that’s exactly what Chris FOM said, and what I was replying to.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            >But that’s exactly what Chris FOM said, and what I was replying to.

            My bad, the conversation chain easily gets muddled around here.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          Two-door sedan? The one that comes to mind is the Mercedes-Benz CL-Class.

          And I wasn’t aware that anyone aside from car enthusiasts actually paid attention to these terms. I’ve asked ten people whether or not they knew their Volkswagen CC’s were “four-door coupes”, and not one of them did.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          Not true – coupe just means close-coupled seating with a lower roofline. It has never had anything to do with the number of doors.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            Such fodder for the revisionists.

          • 0 avatar
            Sigivald

            Except in as close to unanimous common usage as I’ve ever seen, for my entire life.

            See, oh, this quote from the MotorTrend link above – “the first four-door vehicle to be officially badged a coupe, thus transcending traditional notions of body styles and laying the foundation for the current fascination with this body type”

            You know, “traditional notions of body styles”.

            Because in normal usage and tradition *coupes have two doors*.

            That you insist (below) that an e30 2-door is “not a coupe” is.. well, show us *other people* who agree with you?

            Because it begins to sound like an ideopathic definition, and nobody is obligated to accept those.

            (See also http://www.thefreedictionary.com/coup%C3%A9 – “A closed two-door automobile.”, saith American Heritage.

            Random House has the idea that a coupe is “shorter than the sedan”, nothing about roofline or seating, and unlike Heritage’s usage, I’ve never heard ANYONE define a coupe by comparative length.)

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            I think that the terms have had something to do with the number of doors since like the 1940s. I know back many decades ago the term “2-door sedan” existed. Still, I don’t think anyone tried “4-door coupe” in earnest until Mercedes. Although it looks like Rover gave it a shot in the 60s.

            Did BMW actually call the E30 2-door a sedan in its sales literature?

      • 0 avatar
        iNeon

        Chris FOM- Please explain the differences between a 2-door sedan and coupé. I’ve been told my neon is a 2-door hardtop sedan before, but could never understand why that made it different than the coupé(the pedantry needs to extend to the accented e, if we’re going to be super formal about this nonsense) it was sold to me as.

        Also, how is my PT wagon a van or sedan? Chrysler called it a sedan in marketing materials, the DMV calls it a van. I call it a wagon, which is really just a vertical hatchback.

        Was the Volkswagen 1600tl a 2-door fastback coupé, or sedan?

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          A coupe has a lower roofline and less back seat room. For two perfect examples of two doors that are NOT coupes, see the e30 3-series, and the A2 Jetta 2dr. Both are 2dr sedans and have the exact same roofline and rear seat room as the 4dr versions.

          Both the 2dr and 4dr 4-series are coupes when compared to the 3-series sedan.

        • 0 avatar
          Chris FOM

          A 2-door sedan will generally have a flatter roofline (closer to a traditional notchback, although such rigid lines aren’t very common these days), framed windows, and a full B-pillar. The coupe has a fastback profile, frameless windows, and no B-pillar. Drop the windows in a true coupe and there will be nothing between the A and C pillars. The 4-door coupes have the profile and frameless windows along with a much reduced (but necessarily still present) B-pillar while only having the door count in common with sedans. They really do straddle the line and are differentiated by more than just the profile.

          Incidentally, although it’s never used anymore, there’s even a bodystyle called the half sedan where the B pillar extends only up to the bottom of the window but not all the way to the roof.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        From Wikipedia

        “A coupé or coupe (from the French past participle coupé, of the infinitive couper, to cut) is a closed two-door car body style with a permanently attached fixed roof, that is shorter than a sedan of the same model, and it often has seating for two persons or with a tight-spaced rear seat. The precise definition of the term varies between manufacturers and over time. The term was first applied to 19th-century carriages, where the rear-facing seats had been eliminated, or cut out.”

        From Merriam-Webster

        cou·pé
        noun kü-ˈpā, 2 often ˈküp a 2-door automobile often seating only two persons; also : one with a tight-spaced rear seat

        From Dictionary.com

        coupe
        1 [koop] Show IPA
        noun
        1.
        Also, coupé. a closed, two-door car shorter than a sedan of the same model.

        Now, the meanings of words can change over time, but for now a coupe is still two doors

    • 0 avatar
      Signal11

      Really?

      I am of the opinion that a cut roofline can be a coupe. But maybe that’s just me.

      But we get it. You’re old and you don’t like change. Those of us who are comfortable with change will just stay off your lawn. =/

    • 0 avatar
      Signal11

      double post

  • avatar

    Do I have this correct?: BMW defied decades of size-specific nomenclature to divide their C-class/A4 competition into the 3-series (denoting 4-door models) and the 4-series (denoting 2-door models) only to turn around and offer a 4-door 4-series?
    It boggles the mind.

  • avatar
    spreadsheet monkey

    This will sell like crazy in the UK. On this side of the Atlantic, we have bought into the whole “basic German car = high prestige/status” thing far more than you ‘Mericans have. BMW in particular is treading a fine line between sales volume and perceived exclusivity with models like the 418d.

    • 0 avatar
      sproc

      Does that reflect greater consumer financial responsibility in general across the pond, or is it just more people on the low end stretching to afford a car like this?

      • 0 avatar
        spreadsheet monkey

        A bit of both. Most of these cars are leased. The monthly lease costs are competitive with Ford/GM competitors because of the (relatively) low depreciation, which itself is achieved thanks to BMW maintaining tight control of used car supply via its CPO program. The average Brit would rather lease a basic 318d than a loaded Ford Mondeo (Fusion), and consequently the 3-series has been a regular in top 10 sales charts for the last few years.

        BMW has also successfully gamed the CO2 emissions based taxation system, calibrating the gearing and engine management systems to achieve great results in the (highly unrealistic) test conditions, again making its cars more appealing than their Ford/GM competitors when total cost of ownership is considered.

    • 0 avatar
      romanjetfighter

      Doesn’t surprise me, with Brits’ emphasis on status, provenance, and history.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Really, all of their GC models just have the amount of headroom a sedan SHOULD have. They just use a more bougie, ridiculous name.

    I think it should be changed!
    BMW 418d SE Sedan Correcte

  • avatar
    juicy sushi

    I am not sure how this doesn’t just cannibalize 3 series sales, but if it means more margin by appealing to complete idiots then vive la free market…

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      BMW would like nothing more than for the 4GC to cannibalize 3 Series sales. The 4GC sells for a higher price with essentially the same cost of manufacture.

      • 0 avatar
        juicy sushi

        Oh, I get that. I just think it’s silly at the same time.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          Why is this silly?

          This is nothing new. 40 years ago virtually every American cars was available in 5-6 body styles. Toyota Corollas used to be available in 2dr, sedan, 2dr liftback, 4dr sedan, 4dr liftback, and wagon body styles. Why not have a choice? In this case, you have a car that has some style, with the added practicality of a hatch for those who do not want a wagon.

          As for the naming convention, it still makes more sense than the abominations of three letters that so many car companies come up with. A 4-series costs more than a 3-series, which costs more than a 2-series. That is all you really need to know.

      • 0 avatar
        GiddyHitch

        This is probably not the case. Given that the 4GC is likely to be a low volume model that requires an equal investment in development and tooling as the higher volume 3, the amortization amount per unit is higher and therefore the price is higher. People often only consider the cost of materials when complaining about “higher prices for fewer doors” without considering the capital needed to be able to shape those materials into new and differentiated (however slightly) shapes.

        • 0 avatar
          Chris FOM

          GM at least said that the break-even sales for the last-gen CTS wagon were incredibly small, fewer than 5 units. BMW’s an expert at the kinds of reskins, so I can only imagine that they’re not doing any worse.

  • avatar
    ajla

    BMW is just trolling people now.

  • avatar
    SomeGuy

    I’m sure the brand loyalists will justify it in some fashion.

  • avatar
    raresleeper

    If BMW’s austere interiors wouldn’t put you to sleep…

    …perhaps another random “coupe” offering will.

  • avatar
    slow kills

    Personally, I’d be all over some off-lease RWD diesel if it came with a stick.

  • avatar
    stuki

    Coupe or sedan, call it what they want, but a car that small should have two doors, not four. Particularly nowadays, with safety mandated thick ass pillars, the 3 series and it’s ilk by necessity places the B-pillar in the most uncomfortable place possible for decent visibility over ones shoulder. The 2 door 4 is much, much better in that way. As is more properly sized sedans, like the A8, or even Camcord.

  • avatar
    mkirk

    Talk about a Fleet Queen!

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    This is an admission by BMW that they’ve been full of Obama when they called their cars Gran Coupes. Now they’re making a legal argument that this eyesore is indeed a 4-door sedan after all.

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      What exactly does an American president have to do with a German company that builds an expansive (possibly excessive) number of body styles, and has taken advantage of this to target British fleet sales?

  • avatar
    Pan

    A “coupe” is a 2 door car with no back seat or a very small back seat.
    A 2 door sedan-type car is called a COACH.

  • avatar
    LuciferV8

    It’s like Starbucks’ sizing policy, in which we get a newspeak menu of three synonyms for large.

    I’m just waiting for BMW to go full retard and make the 7 series into some sort of 4-door “coupe”.

  • avatar

    So does the UK have tax laws or something that make company cars more of a thing in the US?

    I’m sure there are plenty of executive company cars in the US, but I can’t imagine it’s enough to make it worth a company here making a model just targeted at that market.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      The company car is a common tax dodge that is typical in Europe but not in the US. It’s cheaper to lease the company car than it is to earn income, pay taxes on it, and then use the after-tax income to buy one.

    • 0 avatar
      smartascii

      In several European countries, the tax on a new car purchased by an individual is astronomical. In Denmark, for example, it’s 180%. That is not a typo. The result of this is that a base 4-door Golf (with an 85 HP 1.2 liter) costs, at today’s exchange rate, $41,061. The identical car sold to a business costs $24,380. This doesn’t take into account that the average income tax rate on individuals, after deductions and other typical tax contortions, is 35%, and then almost everything you buy that’s not food has a 25% sales tax on it. Company expenses, are tax deductible, same as here, so you can see why the offer of a company car is a pretty valuable thing.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Denmark is an extreme example, not the norm.

        The heart of the matter is that employees in Europe get a tax shelter from leasing the car through their employers that Americans typically can’t get. In the US, we typically pay for car leases from our own personal after-tax income, without the benefit of a shelter.

    • 0 avatar
      spreadsheet monkey

      “So does the UK have tax laws or something that make company cars more of a thing in the US?”

      It’s by far the biggest “thing” impacting our new car market. The tax difference between running a 418d or a 435i as a company car would be hundreds, if not thousands of pounds per year.

      CO2 emission based taxation laws have massively driven the popularity of diesel cars in the UK in the last 5-10 years. That and $10 petrol (gas), of course. There are a lot of reluctant diesel drivers here who would prefer a petrol engine given the choice, but grudgingly put up with a diesel for the tax saving.

  • avatar
    romanjetfighter

    That’s a very long hood. I love the proportions.

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    the power is a bit weak but the torque is fine (320Nm+) and the weight is ok (3,300lb)

    9.2 sec 0-60 isnt great but i bet rolling acceleration is fine


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