Firstly, and most immediately, it is an especially pretty car. From any angle, it is lithe and taut and superbly defined. In 35i spec it’s also scarce, coming with the recently upgraded 3l turbocharged straight six good for 225kW and 400Nm. And, in Gran Coupé form, it’s rarer still, a coupé with four doors, a looker that’ll transport the kids as well. No, you don’t see many of these, and, frankly, more’s the mystery.
Because 435i GC has been a pretty immaculate all-rounder, existing in a cleverly very packaged space that will suit pretty much all requirements excepting those that require off-roading or gravel travel, at which, of course, the 435i is entirely hopeless. It will, for example, do the school run. We got three kids in just fine and the car turned the heads of many a jealous dad at the school gates.
As a result of being a hatchback, it’s got an enormous boot, quite capable of taking the whole family away for the weekend, if at a squeeze. It’s also immensely practical in daily use. You can spec live traffic information, which will adjust your route home if it receives warning of poor traffic conditions. That completely changes how you use sat-nav – not for when you’re lost, in fact, but for when you’re going home.
You just get the system to establish the traffic situation and advise you around it. It’s superb. Finally, it’s an absolutely stonking car to drive. Every day of your life you’ll get a kick out of the way this thing goes, stops and turns. It’s quick, properly quick, and it’s firmer and more planted in the corners than its already rather competent 3-Series siblings. Steering and chassis balance is really just deliciously good.
On a fast, winding road, this is a car that would worry some much smarter name plates. So, perhaps an investment for the long term? Certainly, if you can find one. It does, at least, have the benefit of being an investment in the right now too.