Tamer than the M4, more cramped than the Gran Coupe, the 440i Coupe reps a subtle brand of great driving.
– Detroit, Michigan
In many ways the BMW 440i Coupe should embody the qualities that driving enthusiasts love most about the brand: handling chops, pace, and elegance in a uniquely German wrapper. And for just a few days of driving it – Southeast Michigan was inundated with snow for most of the time I was loaned the rear-drive car – it represented those things fairly well.
Still, I can’t help thinking that most purists or thrill seekers who might otherwise be interested in the 4 Coupe would enjoy the 2 Series a bit more. Or, prefer the added practicality of the four-door 4 Series Gran Coupe to the small style trade-off versus the two door.
In the landscape of coupes, especially from a luxury brand, a starting price just under $50,000 isn’t all that shocking. Remember, please, that you can spec your Mustang GT to that sum these days. And of course it’s well shy of true performance car stickers like the burly M4 or a Mercedes-AMG C43, for instance.
My test car also kept options in check where German cars are concerned, with just about $8,500 in add-ons adding up to an as-tested price of $58,295. For that sum, $2,000 is allocated to the Premium Package with its navigation and heated seats, while $1,100 was spent on the head-up display alone. Even at a comparatively small $300 and $500 respectively, Apple CarPlay compatibility and a wireless charging mat feel like they should be standard in this pricing spectrum.
Our ranking works on a ten-point scale, with a score of five being dead average. That seems correct for the 440i, then, as the coupe strikes me as neither overly sexy nor weird looking. Rather, it’s a neat, sleek, but slightly anonymous design on today’s roads. Maybe not great news for someone looking to stand out, but if you’re turned on by demure cars, this Bimmer should be right up your alley (and it’s bound to age well).
Once again BMW’s very comfortable, supportive, and adjustable seats help to crank up the interior score. Though visibility is marginally compromised, the low-slung seating position keeps me planted when I’m throwing the car from corner to corner, and lets me look cool in the process.
BMW interior styling is restrained and feels to be of good quality, with great fit and finish. Even the non-M-branded steering wheel feels great and chunky in the hand.
BMW’s iDrive 8 is one of my favorite suites of in-car software these days, and the very legible, bright screen makes using it really simple. The 4 Series also gets points for a head-up display that lets me see useful data without looking away from the road.
There aren’t a tremendous number of “surprise and delight” tech bits here, however, and I’m still sore about having to pay extra to make my iPhone take over the head unit.
Ride and handling balance is more grown-up feeling here than in the smaller, nippier 2 Series, but still quite satisfying on a good road. It’s important for me to mention that my car was fitted with an excellent set of Pirelli snow tires, too. That rubber worked wonders, allowing me to pilot the rear drive car through a fairly severe snow storm, but were obviously less sticky at pace in the dry.
The 440i comes with a turbocharged inline-six that delivers 320 horsepower and 330 pound-feet of torque. In the case of my car, that power gets delivered through a six-speed manual transmission, which certainly increases the levels of involvement, and enjoyment. Still, those output figures are fairly tame in 2018, as is the BMW-estimated 0-60 time of 4.9 seconds.
Many of BMW’s active safety features are cost-add options for the 440i; Active Driving Assistant (frontal and city collision mitigation, with pedestrian warning and lane departure warning) especially seems like a reasonable way to spend $500. At $500 a pop, active cruise and blind spot detection aren’t terribly expensive, but the score does get lowered for the fact that they aren’t standard.
And, on a second-to-second basis, the low-slung coupe shape does hurt visibility a touch.
For the segment and the relative power of the engine, you can certainly do worse than 32 miles per gallon on the highway, 21 city, and 25 combined. Naturally most people buying the coupe variant of the 4 Series, and with the bigger engine, no less, won’t be overly dismayed here.
Photos: James Bradbury / Motor1.com