The M440i Gran Coupe boasts a great shape from the side with short overhangs, a nice roofline and a properly luxurious and beefy look from the rear. It’s a little anonymous, yes, but overall, the style is handsome from these angles. As much as I try to warm up to the front fascia, however, I just can’t.
Opening the rear hatch — one of the Gran Coupe’s biggest selling points — reveals 16.6 cubic feet of space, which is actually a smidge less space than the M340i sedan. But the magic happens when you fold the seats down, where there’s 45.6 cubic feet of space available, or as much as a Hyundai Kona. In a world where sedans have to compete with the daily usability of SUVs, this cargo room is superb and provides a real packaging win over the two-door 4 Series coupe and 3 Series sedan.
This functionality, combined with a lovely turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six engine, makes a strong case for the M440i Gran Coupe being the best pick of the 3 Series and 4 Series bundle. The 48-volt mild-hybrid system helps fill in a few power gaps and pulls the car along with great punch. What’s odd, however, is the M440i Gran Coupe is thirstier than the M340i, with EPA estimates of 22 mpg city, 29 mpg highway and 25 mpg combined. That’s down 1 mpg combined from the M340i, as well as a 3-mpg difference on the highway.
For whatever frugality the M440i misses, it makes up for it with performance. There’s 382 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque on tap, sent to all four corners via BMW’s xDrive all-wheel-drive system. There’s always a surge of power ready when tipping into the throttle, and the eight-speed automatic transmission always selects the right gear with quick downshifts. May I add, the sounds the transmission makes when upshifting provide earfuls of delight as gears blip by in an instant. The 48-volt hybrid system does its job well, filling in the minor performance gaps created by a turbo engine and smoothing out the stop-start system’s action.
My tester is equipped with BMW’s adaptive M suspension, which allows the car to alter ride quality and handling behavior at the press of a button. Normal mode provides loads of comfort, but soft handling — a fair compromise for daily driving. Sport mode, my favorite, dials in a stiffer ride quality, but delivers far more composed cornering capability. I found the suspension’s Sport setting to be perfectly suitable for around-town driving as well.
What really gets the M440i down are the brakes. The pedal suffers from inconsistent, squishy feel and too little initial bite. That’s despite standard M Sport brakes with a fixed hydraulic setup, mind you. This isn’t the only BMW that suffers from this sensation.
Like all 3 and 4 Series models, the M440i Gran Coupe’s cabin is a nice place to be. This particular car features a lovely cognac color with the brand’s synthetic leather dashboard material and ash gray wood trim. It’s a great contrast from the dark pearly blue of the exterior, providing a warm vibe good for the gray days of winter.
Ahead of the driver sits a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster and to the right, a 10.3-inch touchscreen with crisp graphics. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are along for the ride, and both connect wirelessly. For me, the controller on the center console remains the best way to operate iDrive thanks to its simple actions. My tester also boasts a wonderful and booming Harman Kardon surround sound system and a premium package that adds a heated steering wheel and front seats, head-up display and appealing ambient lighting throughout the cabin.
The options pile up on the tech side with a bundle of driver-assistance and active safety gear. BMW’s hands-free Parking Assistant Plus and a handy 3D surround-view camera system are part of an aptly named Parking Assistance Package ($700). The Driver Assistance Package ($1,700) also tosses in adaptive cruise control on top of automatic emergency braking, blind-spot detection and a slew of standard other assists. The adaptive cruise control impresses with smooth operation on the freeway, even in pouring rain at night. Other appreciated pieces of tech include various USB-A and C ports and a wireless phone charger.
The M440i Gran Coupe starts at $59,195 after a $995 destination charge, though my tester checks out with a $68,925 price. That includes thousands of dollars worth of options like the extra $2,400 spent on the M-badged performance equipment and additional comforts from the $1,750 Premium Package. If you can live without the extras, you certainly don’t need to spend nearly $70,000 to bring home the core competencies the M440i Gran Coupe exudes. I should also note, this car was part of an early ordering glitch BMW identified, so it missed out on power seats. However, BMW slashed $995 off the MSRP in return, as it did with customer cars. The automaker has since rectified the ordering issue.
The M440i nails the ability to serve as a true everyday driver with bountiful cargo space, plentiful power and lots of creature comforts. The “four-door coupe” segment is a niche, but the M440i serves it well. Consider it the master of this particular niche.