The formula for the BMW 4 Series is a simple one, really. Take one regular 3 Series, remove the rear doors for a sportier, coupe body style and slap a 4 Series badge on the back. The 440i Coupe we have here – with the exception of the barnstorming M4 – is the flagship model in the 4 Series line-up.
To the untrained eye, the changes to this latest version are rather subtle. The exterior has been gently redesigned, with some fancy LED lights appearing at the front and rear of the car. Inside, BMW has worked to improve the cabin’s ‘perceived quality’, adding three new upholstery colours to the options list, as well as three new choices for interior trim strips.
Looks and image
While it might be a familiar shape, there’s no denying that the facelifted BMW 440i is still an incredibly smart-looking car. It cuts the right balance between muscular athleticism and reserved refinement, giving it a near-perfect Q-car appearance – particularly on the smaller wheels and winter tyres that were fitted to our test car.
Open the door and lower yourself into the snug seats and you’ll find a cabin that oozes quality in that classic BMW fashion. Everything feels purposeful and solidly put together, while the controls all fall easily to hand. Hard, scratchy plastics are tough to find, with only a small amount adorning the lower reaches of the doors.
However, while the BMW’s interior might look the part, the seats fitted to our test car were on the firm side, which left us feeling rather stiff after an afternoon blatting around the German countryside.
Space and practicality
Up front, the driver and passenger will find head and shoulder room more than abundant. While this might be a sports coupe, you’ll feel a long way from claustrophobic. Aside from the rather unforgiving seats, complaints should be kept to a minimum in this department.
Yes, the 440i does have a set of rear seats – although you’ll find them close to useless when it comes to ferrying around anyone other than children. Stick to the 3 Series if you want properly useable back seats.
Boot space is abundant, with the 440i offering up a respectable 425 litres of storage capacity – more than enough to swallow a couple of suitcases.
Behind the wheel
There’s no denying that the 440i is an incredibly capable car. On the German autobahns that made up a good portion of our test route, it was a fast, refined and relatively comfortable long-distance cruiser. The powerful engine and responsive throttle made overtaking and getting up to speed an absolute breeze, yet wasn’t too noisy or intrusive at high speeds.
Pulling off the motorway and heading into the mountains, an unexpected and heavy bout of snow did mean we had to proceed with caution and weren’t able to push the 440i to the limit. That said, though, the BMW held the road well through sharp bends, and although the steering did feel rather numb and uncommunicative, it quickly and confidently changed direction as we navigated our way up the winding mountain road.
The Sport drive mode was also a huge amount of fun. This firmed the steering up a touch, and also made the throttle far more responsive. The eight-speed automatic transmission’s gearing was also slightly altered, with the ‘box holding on to gears for that much longer. Changing gears via the paddles on the steering wheels also made the 440i that much more engaging to drive, although you needed to prepare yourself for a considerable kick in the back while upshifting.
Value for money
Prices for the 440i start at a considerable £43,430 – meaning it isn’t exactly a cheap car to buy. That said though, it is only available in the M Sport trim, which does include a fair amount of goodies as standard, such as 18-inch alloys, M Sport suspension, satellite navigation, more aggressive body styling, leather upholstery and LED headlamps and tail lamps.
A particular highlight is the 440i’s infotainment system, which is arguably one of the best currently on sale. The dash-mounted display is incredibly fluid and very easy to read. The head-up display that is included as part of the BMW Professional Plus package is also a nice touch, showing information such as speed and sat-nav prompts directly in the driver’s line of sight, and reducing time spent with your eyes off the road.
Who would buy one?
The BMW 440i is targeted at successful, middle-aged buyers who want the sportiness that its 3.0-litre six-cylinder engine provides, without the high-performance set-up of the M4. To many, the 440i will offer the perfect balance between everyday drivability and high-speed fun.
The BMW 440i has many, many things going for it. The engine is sublime, it looks great, the interior is a lovely place to be and the infotainment system is second to none. Sure, there are a couple of flies in the ointment – such as its firm seats and rather uncommunicative steering – but on the whole, the 440i is an incredibly desirable car.
FACTS AT A GLANCE
Model: BMW 440i M Sport Coupe
Base price: £43,430
Engine: 3.0-litre six-cylinder petrol
Max speed: 155mph
0-60mph: 5.0 seconds