What is it?
Though BMW might be pushing on with its electrification plans, it has always been known for making big, luxurious and powerful saloon cars. This M440i Gran Coupe that we’re looking at today is one such vehicle, aimed at bringing cross-country refinement as well as some serious go-faster touches.
Essentially a four-door version of the two-door 4 Series, it could be claimed that the M440i Gran Coupe is an exercise in niche filling. Is that really the case though? We’ve been finding out.
As we’ve mentioned, the 4 Series Gran Coupe is a four-door version of the 4 Series Coupe, which in itself is a two-door version of the regular 3 Series. Confused? We don’t blame you. But what the 4 Series Gran Coupe aims to do is take the dynamic looks of the Coupe and stretch them to provide a little more space and make entering and exiting the rear of the car a bit easier.
This particular car is the range-topping M440i, which is the most powerful version of the 4 Series you can get before heading to the full-fat M4.
What’s under the bonnet?
The M440i uses a 3.0-litre turbocharged straight-six engine with 369bhp and 500Nm of torque. Thanks to BMW’s xDrive system you get all-wheel-drive too, with power sent to the wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission. Thanks to all of that power, the M440i will manage 0-60mph in 4.8 seconds and carry on to a top speed of 155mph.
But thanks to the inclusion of 48-volt mild-hybrid tech, it’s not as petrol-hungry as you might expect. BMW claims up to 37.2mpg – but we saw more than that during our time with the car – while CO2 emissions stand between 172 and 185g/km depending on wheel size. It does mean that the M440i will be cheaper to run than you might think for a car of this type.
What’s it like to drive?
There are two distinct sides to the M440i. There’s the cruiser, which is happy to sit on the motorway and while away the miles, offering great in-car refinement and a well-judged ride that gets rid of the bulk of the on-road imperfections.
Then there’s the performance side of the car, which really does come out when driving on twistier roads. There’s no compromise to that ride, which still feels perfectly supportive enough to manage the car’s weight through the bends. The push given by the petrol engine is very impressive too, with any acceleration accompanied by a noticeable exhaust note.
How does it look?
The M440i has some real presence on the road, with the Gran Coupe’s sleek dimensions helping it to hunker down towards the road. There’s still the ever-contentious front grille which almost looks larger than ever, but thankfully the blackened out design of the one on our car meant that it wasn’t quite as stand-out as it is on other BMW models.
The Coupe-led design approach is really noticeable too, with the rear handles on the M440i being the only clear giveaway that this car is a four-door – if they were removed, it’d look just like the regular 4 Series Coupe.
What’s it like inside?
BMW seems to be on a roll with its cabin of late, blending old-school, top-notch build quality with really sharp and easy to access displays. That’s definitely the case with the M440i, which offers up a spot-on driving position with loads of adjustment and plenty of high-end materials which boost the overall look and feel of the cabin.
There’s a decent amount of room for those sitting in the back, though the sloping roofline does eat into headroom somewhat. There is also a very useful 470 litres of boot space to play with and you can increase it up to 1,290 litres by folding the rear seats flat.
What’s the spec like?
As an M Performance car, the M440i gets plenty of equipment as standard. Features such as adaptive suspension and an M Sport differential are all thrown in from the off, as is a full M Sport styling pack with an M Sport leather steering wheel.
All cars get an 8.8-inch infotainment display as standard, too, and it’s operated via either the touchscreen or the traditional rotary dial. Particularly when connected to Apple CarPlay we found ourselves favouring the latter, as it was a little more intuitive when used with these smartphone mirroring systems.
The M440i Gran Coupe feels like a touch of old-school BMW. A big engine up front, comfortable suspension underneath and a well-made cabin all combine to create a feeling of all-rounder ability. It’s even relatively efficient, which means that those long cross-country jaunts shouldn’t cost too much. It might be a classic recipe, but the M440i still feels very relevant in today’s motoring world.