BMW strikes Celtic Tiger gold with heady mix of performance and luxury, writes Ian Mallon
SAY hello to my little friend, which actually isn't really that little.
This is the BMW 4 Gran Coupe, another odd-shaped Beamer to get the curiosities flowing and the pulses racing.
Not that there is anything wrong about 'odd', it's just that getting used to all these newly-developed BMWs takes a bit of time.
Once you do get used to the shape of things to come as BMW sees it, then you get a picture of a future in which many different alternatives are being offered out to a consumer who seems to want more and more choice.
The 4 Gran Coupe is luxury coupe deign mixed with family-friendly practicality, all wrapped up with a bit of snarl and aggression.
And this is a car of all things to all men, or women, be you the young executive, or the mum on the school run.
From the outside it screams 'Sports' but inside it is extremely cavernous in size for all the family.
One thing about the Coupe is that it offers such a novelty factor for the more traditional BMW driver, and that comes thanks to a very German sales and marketing strategy.
Give the customer what they want, then give them some more, and then some more again.
Take the 4GC as an example - a car not too dissimilar to the coupe, the convertible, the 3 Touring, the 3 GT.
Yes, I'm being a bit glib here, but the point is that BMW is bringing some serious choice to customers, with a few tweaks along the way. In this case it's a four-door coupe.
These newly-shaped Beamers will be everywhere once more cash makes it into the pockets of our luxury car-obsessed consumer.
That will happen sooner rather than later - already I see that there is a new BMW showroom opening in Naas, Co Kildare - nothing of a coincidence here given the massive amounts of investment in the area from such cash-rich companies as the Kerry Group.
As Ireland continues to develop from the sick old man to the affluent young buck of Europe, more and more tech whizzkids will find themselves revving around in these things.
Back in the bygone age of the Celtic Tiger, the 5 Series was the carriage of choice, a car that not only marked success in the workplace, but was equally at home on Yummy Mummy schoolrun.
Are we really going back to those days, when a Beamer was every second car in the parking lot at the local shopping centre? Maybe not, but who knows what future prosperities will bring? Anyway, let's get down to the business end of the Gran Coupe, and what do you get for your buck, or in this case, more than fifty thousand of them.
The Gran Coupe certainly looks and sounds like a proper performance car, even though this one is a modest 1995cc, which bangs out a decent 184bph.
It has the full-on quality feel of a car of substance, with all the expected bells and whistles to give the ultimate luxury experience.
It performs extremely capably, handles fine - but not as great as previous models, a minor victim of BMW's perfectionist quality of recent years.
Suddenly the future for BMW doesn't seem so odd-shaped after all.
The BMW 4 GC starts at €51,040.
Honda's fuel-sipping 1.6 i-DTEC engine in the new Civic Tourer has won this year's MPG Marathon - returning an awesome 97.9mpg (2.9l/100km) in the rigorous two-day event.