You still need to look past the grille, don’t you?
OK, so beauty is in the eye of the something or other – but even so, the new BMW 4 Series grille, carried across from the two-door coupe and convertible to this four-door Gran Coupe, there’s something that still doesn’t quite sit right. It’s growing on us, we’d admit, but we’re not quite ‘there’ with it yet.
Still, you’d be hard pressed to call this new 2022 BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe, especially in range-topping M440i xDrive form tested here, anything but desirable.
It’s perhaps a little less pretty overall than the previous 4 Series Gran Coupe (a model that, since 2013, has taken up half of all 4 Series sales), but it still casts a purposeful silhouette against the skyline.
Here, we get an early drive of BMW’s new four-door coupe ahead of its Australian launch in the coming months.
The M440i is the range-topper of the new 4 Series Gran Coupe range, and so it clocks in with a starting price of $115,900 plus on-road costs.
That’s a lot, especially when you consider that you can have the same styling for $75,900 if you’re prepared to sacrifice power and get a base 420i Gran Coupe.
2022 BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe pricing:
- 2022 BMW 420i Gran Coupe: $75,900
- 2022 BMW 430i Gran Coupe: $83,900
- 2022 BMW M440i xDrive Gran Coupe: $115,900
All prices exclude on-road costs
In terms of rivals, the Audi S5 Sportback is arguably the M440i’s closest competitor, and starts from $108,700 plus on-roads.
Further down the range, the A5 Sportback starts at $71,900 for the entry-level 40 TFSI S line. So the BMW is a little pricier, but it still packs plenty of kit. More on that in a bit.
BMW 420i Gran Coupe highlights:
- M Sport package
- M Sport suspension
- 19-inch alloy wheels
- Sport seats (front)
- Alcantara and faux leather seat trim
- Head-up display
- Parking sensors
- Reversing camera, reversing assistant
- LED headlights with high-beam assist
- Powered tailgate
- Powered front seats
- Ambient lighting
- 10.25-inch iDrive OS7.0 infotainment system
- Satellite navigation
- Wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto
- 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster
- 10-speaker sound system
- Wireless phone charging
BMW 430i Gran Coupe adds:
- Adaptive M suspension
- Keyless entry
- M Sport brakes
- Driving Assistant Professional
- Leather seat trim
BMW M440i xDrive Gran Coupe adds:
- M Performance tuning
- Heated front seats
- Lumbar support
- Laser headlights
- 16-speaker harman/kardon surround sound system
- Instrument panel in faux leather
- Powered glass sunroof
- 19-inch alloy wheels
- M Sport Differential
- Cerium Grey exterior highlights
As is the case with most luxury-branded vehicles, an array of cost options, packages and personalisation items are available. Read our full BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe price and spec breakdown here.
The 4 Series hasn’t been crash tested by Euro NCAP or ANCAP, but the related 3 Series scored five stars when it was tested in 2019.
It scored 97 per cent for adult occupant protection, 87 per cent for child occupant protection, 87 per cent for vulnerable road user protection, and 77 per cent for safety assist.
Standard safety equipment across the 4 Series range includes:
- AEB with pedestrian/cyclist detection
- Forward collision warning
- Lane departure warning
- Blind-spot monitoring
- Rear cross-traffic alert
- Rear collision prevention
Vehicles with the Driving Assistant Professional package gain:
- Adaptive cruise with stop/go
- Lane-keep assist
- Steering and Lane Control Assistant (active centring)
- Evasion aid
- Front cross-traffic alert
As with the regular two-door 4 Series, the Gran Coupe’s cabin is lifted more or less directly from the 3 Series.
Does that make it a bit over-familiar, especially given the M440i’s six-figure price tag? Yes, a little, but any disappointment is quickly forgotten when you realise how well-laid out the cabin is (thank God for physical air conditioning controls) and how beautifully built it is.
The digital dials look clear and handsome (although not everyone loves their sweep-around-the-outer-edges styling) and even if the big touchscreen lacks the latest eighth-generation BMW iDrive software, then at least for the most part it’s easy enough to use.
Mind you, between touchscreen, steering wheel, iDrive click-wheel and even gesture control options, it can get a bit confusing over whether you should touch, click, push, or just waggle your hands around in the air.
The M440i’s best bit of interior tech is the upgraded head-up display, which projects driving, navigation and infotainment data onto the windscreen.
Oddly, it’s a little less practical than before — although still a decent 470 litres, the boot is actually 10 litres smaller than that of the old one. BMW has carved out more legroom for rear seat passengers, though.
We guess it’s just down to what you carry more of — people or luggage. If the answer is ‘luggage,’ then go and buy a 3 Series Touring.
The Gran Coupe is also the only 4 Series model with a fifth seat in the centre of the second row, although you wouldn’t want to be the one sitting in it.
If the M440i has a trump card in its glorious inline-six.
We’ve probably become a bit too used to mainstream BMWs coming with turbo four-banger engines, but the M440i reminds you that even as we enter the electric era, true Beemers come with sixes.
Obviously, being an M Performance model and not a full-fat M car, the M440i is down on power compared to the range-topping M4. That’s OK though — 275kW (in EU spec)is still what you might call ‘a lot’ and it’s backed up by 500Nm of torque that comes in early at 1900rpm and sticks around until 5000rpm.
Australian models will get a non-48V MHEV version of the 3.0-litre turbocharged straight six, developing 285kW and 500Nm. Drive is sent to an xDrive rear-biased all-wheel drive system in the M440i via an eight-speed automatic.
You don’t need to rev this engine out, either — a gentle tickle of the throttle is all you need to despatch any dawdling traffic in front of you — but if you do, your reward is a level of musicality that’s so sonorously wonderful, you start to think that this engine needs a funny roof and a spot next to the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Yes, in Sport mode it’s augmented by synthetic noise played through the stereo, but that doesn’t matter.
You can tell the instant that the M440i turns a wheel that it’s not a full-on M car, mostly because your fillings remain in place.
The extra 46mm in the wheelbase compared to the previous Gran Coupe doesn’t just mean more space for those in the back, it also means a more relaxed demeanour to the chassis.
In Comfort mode, there’s just enough underlying firmness to remind you that you’re driving something that’s actually a serious performance machine, but even in Sport — with the optional adaptive dampers fitted — the M440i never becomes harsh nor unyielding. In fact, it hits its brief as a high-speed, long-haul grand tourer perfectly.
That’s not to say it isn’t fun. In Sport mode, the steering — already full of feel and with nigh-on perfect accuracy — firms up a little more in concert with the dampers and goads you into chucking the M440i at a corner. Do so and you’ll find that the front bites firmly into the apex, while the M differential – carefully parcelling out power between the rear wheels — makes sure the rear of the car rotates just enough to help.
With xDrive all-wheel drive you’d have to be driving like a lunatic to get the M440i sliding on the public road, but there is a sense of playfulness to the rear end that underlines the fact that the xDrive system is rear-biased – in fact, it’s fully rear-driven until the system detects slip, only then diverting power to the fronts.
For those that need to know, the M440i is also rock-solid steady on a de-restricted stretch of German Autobahn at its quoted V-max of 250km/h. Thankfully, the upgraded M Sport brakes are equally up to the task when a camper-van pulls into the outside lane…
It’s actually a relatively frugal engine, this. Relatively being the operative word.
There’s a 48-volt mild-hybrid system in European models that adds a little extra overtaking boost and helps to make more of the stop-start system around town.
Claimed fuel use of 8.0 litres per 100km might not sound like parsimony, but considering the 4.7-second 0-100km/h time, it’s hardly too shabby. The Aus-spec model sans mild-hybrid assistance quotes 8.2L/100km combined.
In terms of servicing and maintenance, BMW Australia offers the Service Inclusive package across its line-up, which bundles the first five years or 80,000km of standard servicing for an upfront fee. For the 4 Series range, it’s priced at $1750.
The BMW line-up in Australia is also covered by a three-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty.
Do you love the looks? You’d have to, because if not you could save yourself $16,000 and have the same engine and all-wheel-drive setup in the M340i xDrive.
Or, if you’re feeling futuristic, you could wait for the all-electric i4 Gran Coupe. Starting at $99,900 for the i4 eDrive40 or $124,900 for the i4 M50, both are within reach of an M440i buyer and offer competitive performance with the added benefit of zero emissions – plus, it looks pretty much the same as the petrol-powered car.
Or you could just have this M440i and, to be honest, we’d be sorely tempted. OK, so the grille is the grille, but as we said it’s growing on us.
The performance, the noise and the brilliant handling don’t need to grow on us; we love them enough already, and even if this Gran Coupe is a tiny touch less practical than the old one, then it’s still useable enough in a day-to-day sense.
Really, the M440i had us at ‘inline-six…’
Click the images for the full gallery
MORE: Everything BMW 4 Series