BMW M440i Gran Coupe — Practicable driving thrills

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

(March 13, 2022) We've been blessed with the opportunity to drive three variations of the BMW 4-Series in the past 18 months, all outfitted with the M performance 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged inline 6-cylinder engine that provides all the driving thrills and enjoyment you expect from the "Ultimate Driving Machine" company. It makes 382 horsepower ad 396 pound-feet of torque directed to all four wheels in the M440i configuration.

Our first foray came in a 2021 M440i coupe and then as spring turned to summer we got a M440i convertible just in time for a beach trip. It can't get much better than top-down cruising along the ocean with mild breezes keeping things comfortable inside and with the big engine up front providing a muscular music accompaniment.

This time around we test drove a more practical application of the 4-Series, the 2022 M440i Gran Coupe, a stylish four-door hatchback that can accommodate a fair amount of cargo as well as two rear-seat passengers with a least a modicum of comfort under the slopping roof.

The Gran Coupe, which has been redesigned for 2022, competes with such premium fastbacks as the Audi A5 Sportback and the Kia Stinger and can accommodate 12 cubic feet of groceries, roller boards and Home Depot supplies under the hatch.

The new enormous kidney grille on the 4-Series has seemed to be a love it or hate it styling exercise. Our first impression 18 months ago was "we'll have to get used to it." But as time goes by and we were driving our third iteration of the 4-Series, we have come to like the big grille. It seems to belong there, an integral part of the new BMW look.

The new car’s overall length of 188.5 inches is just a half-inch longer than the regular 4-series, but it's 5.9 inches longer than the previous-generation Gran Coupe. It gets an active air-flap control system and an almost entirely flat undertray to help improve its aerodynamic performance and boost efficiency. This setup yields very acceptable gas mileage on premium fuel rated at 22 mpg city, 29 highway and 25 combined.

In addition to the turbocharged 3.0-liter making 382 horsepower @ 5,800 rpm and 396 pound-feet of torque @ 1,800 rpm is a 48-volt electrical system, designating the 4-Series a MHEV (Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicle). In addition to aiding in fuel efficiency, the system provides a small 11-horsepower boost under hard acceleration. The MHEV system also takes advantage of BMW’s Brake Energy Regeneration, which uses a starter generator to recoup energy from braking back into the 48-volt battery. That energy can then assist the 12-volt system or be used for other functions.

We found the M440i's acceleration exhilarating and it took restraint to keep our foot out of the gas. The need for speed is certainly satisfied with a published 0-to-60 time of 4 seconds. And when the road starts curving, the M440i is more than capable of cornering well beyond the posted limits.

The 4-Series at the outset also comes in a less expensive 430i configuration that is propelled by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine producing 255 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. BMW says it's good for a 0-to-60 mph launch in 5.5 seconds for rear-drive and 5.3 seconds for all-wheel drive. And both engine configurations can be purchased as a convertible. For 2021, the convertible multi-piece folding hardtop has been replaced with a traditional soft top.

We found the interior of the Gran Sport a good place to live with excellent seats that weren't too bolstered for us old wider bodies, proving comfortable with easy adjustability. We think we could be content behind the wheel for extended periods. Two adults can fit in back, but may have to negotiate with the front seat passengers for legroom. And taller passengers might be scraping the sloping roof. But the Gran Sport is far more practical than either the coupe or convertible.

The 4-series comes with the same standard 8.8-inch and optional 10.3-inch infotainment screens as the 3-series sedan. Both displays run the latest version of BMW's iDrive 7 infotainment software, which pairs an intuitive interface with a console-mounted click-wheel controller for easy use while driving. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and in-dash navigation are standard while a 12.3-inch digital gauge display, onboard Wi-Fi, and a wireless smartphone charging pad are optional extras.

BMW offers a full range of standard and advanced safety features. Standard safety features include automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist, and blind-spot monitoring. Optional are such features as adaptive cruise control with semi-autonomous driving mode, and a 360-degree parking camera.

All this automotive goodness comes with a price. Starting price for the M440i Gran Coupe is $59,195 including a $995 destination charge. With several options including the M technology package our test car carried a bottom line of $67,625. For those who want the Gran Coupe experience at a lesser price, the 430i starts at $46,195 including destination charge.

2022 BMW M440i Gran Coupe


Base price: $59,195; as driven, $67.625
Engine: twin-turbo inline 6-cylinder
Horsepower: 382 @ 5,800 rpm
Torque: 369 pound-feet @ 1,800 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Drive: all-wheel
Wheelbase: 112.4 inches
Length: 188.5 inches
Curb weight: 3,792 pounds
Turning circle: 39.4 feet
Luggage capacity: 12 cubic feet
Fuel capacity: 15.6 gallons (premium)
EPA rating: 22 city, 29 highway, 25 combined
0-60: 4.0 seconds (Car and Driver)
Also consider: Kia Singer, Audi A5 Sportback

The Good
• Outstanding performance
• Refined interior
• Good range of standard safety
• High level of technology

The Bad
• Options are desirable, but pricy

The Ugly
• Polarizing big-tooth grille