Let's face it. There was absolutely nothing wrong with the way the last BMW 4-Series. It was great to drive and beautiful to look at. But BMW isn't content with resting on its laurels, and they wanted more drama, four doors, and a hatchback to expand their lineup. To us, that seems a bit backward since they turned the 3-Series coupe into the 4-Series back in 2013. But BMW wants to go big and bold for its M cars, and they don't care that the grille is polarizing. Does everyone else feel the same way?
The M440i Gran Coupe is the latest car to get the big grille treatment, which has been applied to the M3, M4, and the 4-Series cars as of 2021. The M440i Gran Coupe is actually a brand new model to the 4-Series lineup, and it's a bit of an outlier in that it's a 4-Series with four doors and it's not a true BMW M car because it does not have a BMW Motorsports-sourced engine. But that doesn't mean it's not cut out for better-than-average Bimmer performance.
Here are the specifications of our test car:
- Price: $58,200 (base MSRP); Destination & Handling: $995; Total Price: $67,520
- Engine: 3.0-liter BMW M Twin-Turbo Inline 6-cylinder with eBoost 48V mild hybrid technology
- Transmission: 8-speed Sport Automatic with paddle shifters and Launch Control, Variable Sport Steering, M Sport Suspension, xDrive all-wheel drive system,
- Output: 382 horsepower, 369 lb-ft of torque
- Standard Features: M Sport differential, Driving Dynamics Control (Eco Pro, Comfort, Sport), Auto Start/Stop, 18" M aerodynamic bi-color wheels, M rear spoiler, Aerodynamic Kit, power-folding and heated side mirrors, Shadowline exterior trim, Aluminum Tetragon Interior Trim, Anthracite Headliner, BMW TeleServices, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, BMW ConnectedDrive Services, HiFi Sound System with 205-Watt digital amplifier and 10 speakers, SiriusXM, M Sport Steering Wheel, 12.3" digital instrument cluster, 10.25" central information display, iDrive 7.0 with controller and Voice Control, Dynamic Cruise Control, Remote Engine Start, Advanced Vehicle and Key Memory, Comfort Access Keyless Entry with hands-free trunk, Multi-Zone Automatic Climate Control, Front Sport Seats, Power Glass Moonroof, auto-dimming rearview mirror and driver's side exterior mirror, LED headlights, Active Protection System, Active Guard with Frontal Collision Warning and Automatic City Collision Mitgation/Braking, Active Driving Assistant with Active Blind Spot Detection, Lane Departure Warning, and Speed Limit Info, Park Distance Control Front and Rear.
- Options: San Remo Gren Metallic Paint ($550), 19" Double-Spoke Bi-Color Wheels, Canberra Beige Perforated SensaTec; Open Pore Fine Wood Oak Grain trim; Cooling and High-Performance Tire Package ($2,400); Driving Assistance Professional Package ($1,700); Parking Assistance Package ($700); Premium Package ($1,750); M Performance; M Sport Brakes with Red Calipers; SensaTec Dashboard ($350); Harman Kardon Surround Sound System ($875)
The Styling is Good (For the Most Part)
If you never saw the M440i Gran Coupe from the front, you'd think it was quite an attractive premium sedan. The proportions are spot-on from the profile view with properly muscular haunches, sporty-looking short front and rear overhangs, handsome front fender vents, and that gorgeous green paint job. We would have to say it looks pretty sexy and aggressive from this angle.
The same goes for the muscular rear end and those great LED signature taillights. The slim decklid spoiler extends from that protruding trunklid that leads to the slightly building taillights and the chunky bumper and big exhaust ports. We're so glad the openings aren't faux exhausts with the real pipes pointed down sight unseen.
Just take a look at that stunning rear 3/4 view that gives the M440i Gran Coupe a positively menacing look. The two-tone 10-spoke wheels accentuate the aero body trim perfectly. The steeply raked rear glass is thanks to that excellent Gran Coupe hatchback that's both truly useful, as well as stunning. Altogether, it might be one of the best back ends on a current Bimmer.
Eventually, you do have to look at the front end of the M440i Gran Coupe, and it's pretty clear that the grille doesn't fit with the rest of the car. Not only is the grille large, but it protrudes and has an aggressive mesh pattern that actually mimics the shape of the grille, itself. The rest of the front fascia is very nice, including the large tapering headlights, the large side intakes, and the creased hood. But the grille is unequivocally ugly, and you can't take your eyes off them. It really does ruin an otherwise stunning automobile.
The M440i xDrive is M-arvelous to Drive
What becomes very clear right away is that this thing was meant to be driven. The twin-turbo inline-six mill should provide plenty of punch all by itself, but the 48-volt mild-hybrid system adds the right amount of power to fill in any interruptions and makes the power delivery smooth and urgent. Throttle response is excellent, as is the steering's responsiveness and the car's handling.
The substantial 382 horsepower and 369 lb-ft. of torque help move the 4,169-pound M440i Gran Coupe with authority. It rockets to 60 mph in a mere 4.7 seconds, and the 8-speed automatic transmission never hunts for gears and downshifts on command. But the M440i never feels out of sorts or out of control. Everything is smooth and manageable, but you still feel that relentless pull of the powertrain and the traction of all-wheel drive. What's more, there's no noticeable turbo lag thanks to the mild-hybrid system, and the whole powertrain and drivetrain feel very well-executed.
If there was one issue we had with the M440i Gran Coupe's performance, it would be the feel of the M Sport brake's pedal. Although we had no problem bringing the car to a stop, the pedal has some initial mushiness that needs improvement. It's hard to drive a car hard if there's a lack of confidence in the pedal feel, and the M440i Gran Coupe suffers from not having immediate brake response in the first quarter of pedal travel. Otherwise, the car is fantastic to drive.
A Sedan/Hatchback That's Truly Practical
There's a lot to love about the M440i Gran Coupe's interior. Materials quality is generally very good with the exception of a bit too much hard plastic in the center console. But the synthetic leather seats are quite comfortable (this is a trend, even in premium vehicles, so get used to it, unless you're prepared to pay even more). Keep in mind that the Genesis G80 3.5T AWD comes standard with leather seating for $10k less than the M440i Gran Coupe. The Bimmer's seats are well-bolstered
The big 12.3-inch digital is stunning and very easy to read. The 10.3-inch touchscreen is similarly vivid and crisp. iDrive 7.0 is mostly very good to use with the exception of some control hunting to advance music. We still could not find a way to do so from the steering wheel. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard and work very well. .
We're not exactly fans of the overly large shift knob. It's easy enough to use, but it looks too much like a golf driver club head with its shape and too-glossy plastic. It is nice to have the start button right next to the gearshift, and the infotainment controls are also very well placed. The knob control for infotainment is large and easy to actuate with its knurled texture and perfect height. The head-up display is also excellent and provides all the relevant car data you need while driving including speed, navigation directions, music, etc. The customizable ambient lighting is also a wonderful addition to an already attractive interior
The rear seats have 34.1 inches of legroom, which is about half an inch more than the 4-Series coupe. That's not a ton of room, but two adults can sit in the outboard position without too much trouble. The Kia Stinger GT, which is priced far less than the M440i Gran Coupe ($51,400 for the AWD twin-turbo V6 Stinger GT2 versus $58,200 for the Bimmer), has 36.4 inches of rear legroom. The Stinger GT also gets about a half-inch more of rear headroom at 37 inches.
In terms of actual cargo space in the convenient hatchback, the M440i does really well. There's a large and very usable 16.6 cubic feet of space, but when you fold the rear seats down (they can split 40/20/40, very convenient), you get 45.6 cubic feet of space or as much as a small crossover. The M440i Gran Coupe makes a very strong case for a hatchback sports sedan over something like an Audi SQ5 performance crossover which has less power and an interior that can't match up with the M440i.
Overall, we quite like the M440i xDrive Gran Coupe, but the problem with the front end's grille is hard to ignore. Nobody will look at it and say it looks attractive from the front view, and that's a problem for a car that's close to 70 grand all in. When you pay this kind of money, you want to be noticed in a good way. It's too bad because the rest of the car is stunning, and it is truly practical and comfortable. It's sportier and quicker than the Genesis G80 3.5T, but the G80 wins handily in the looks department both inside and out.