Having been absolutely amazed by the BMW M4 on the track, it should come as no surprise the BMW M440i xDrive holds its own as well, despite taking a big step up in terms of comfort.
Every piece of the M440i xDrive fits together so well, without one area sticking out like a sore thumb.
It’s as if everything just works in harmony at the same level.
Driving the BMW M440i xDrive on the road is almost a subdued experience, hiding the potential performance that lays within.
The engine, gearbox and suspension are comfortable enough to lull you into a false sense that you are not in a performance car, but once awoken in sports mode, the BMW M440i xDrive comes to life.
In some ways it almost feels underwhelming in everyday use, but the engineering effort that has gone into making such a quick car feel so calm and at ease is the impressive part about the M440i xDrive.
I was really impressed by the 3.0 litre inline-six engine in the M440i, which is very similar to the engine in the Toyota Supra that we have already tested.
It has 285kW of power at 6500rpm and 500Nm of torque all the way from 1900rpm to 5000rpm. This gives it a very smooth and linear feeling to the power delivery and also good response across the rev range.
With such a wide and usable power band, you had the flexibility to be in a gear to high and be able have some response and performance.
For me it is one of those engines that nails the sweet spot between performance and everyday usability. I managed a 0-100km/h time of 4.77 seconds which is just off the claimed time from BMW of 4.5 seconds.
The brakes in the BMW M440i xDrive are really consistent and I could trust them at all times.
The pedal travel is a bit longer and softer than the M4, but even so, I could still attack with them and had no issues.
The front end of the M440i xDrive is outstanding, as it was in the BMW M4. This shows the chassis is fundamentally very strong.
It was so easy to rotate the car mid-corner, and this gave me a lot of confidence when pushing hard. I could even make small mistakes and adjust for it.
The front is really nicely balanced with the rear of the car, which is a challenge when the front is so strong. The rear would just give way a little but in a controlled and confidence-inspiring way.
The eight-speed transmission in the BMW M440i xDrive is well suited to the overall package.
It’s very smooth and user-friendly, and doesn’t feel like you are constantly chasing the correct gear, and it’s excellent for road driving while also being more than capable for track use.
The M440i’s differentials are really impressive and I loved the philosophy the BMW has gone with in designing them. Initially you feel as though you’re in a rear-wheel drive car, and as you ask for more it shifts to an all-wheel drive balance.
The cool thing is you can over-commit and it makes you look like a hero. All you have to do is add power and it will bring the car back to a neutral position. I was really impressed with the angles that it would recover from, and it reminded me of experiences I’ve had in the Nissan GT-R.
It took a little bit to get used to, but once I understood how it would react it became a lot of fun. You can be in a position where you think it will spin and it will still just pull it out by transferring the power and torque to the front wheels.
This is not as easy to achieve as it sounds and the way the M440i controlled slip across the front and rear axles, while changing the distribution front to rear, was spot on.
The suspension is on the softer side, yet still offers good support and allows you to build up lateral grip when loaded in the corner.
Although there was too much movement for outright performance, it was still very manageable considering the level of comfort.
Traction was very strong and I could be very aggressive on the throttle and that combined with the xDrive, meant that corner exit was excellent.
The steering is nice and precise and linear, which is a good attribute for a car that has relatively soft suspension.
The level of feedback is reasonable but feels like it has been numbed a little bit.
The Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tyres are a perfect package for the BMW M440i, offering good levels of track performance without sacrificing all round drivability.
BMW has gone with 225/40 R19 tyres up front and slightly wider 255/35 R19 rubber at the rear, and the staggered setup has played out well in terms of balance.
I achieved my fastest laps in the Sport Plus mode and with traction control and DSC off.
With the xDrive system, intuitive transmission and such good balance, I never had any ‘oops’ moments with this car and the harder I pushed it the more confidence I gained.
Seat position and visibility in the BMW M440i xDrive are excellent, the seats are comfortable and still offer a good amount of support on the track, but it is hard to compete with the BMW M4 seats for track use.
The dash layout works really well and is nice and clear.
For a car that is not the ultimate variant in the BMW 4 Series range, the BMW M440i xDrive was an absolute pleasure to drive on the track.
The constancy in lap times was impressive, with less than half a second between the fastest and slowest lap – the quickest being 58.90 seconds.
Now that is a decent chunk of time behind the BMW M4, which absolutely blitzed the CarExpert test track with a 55.55-second lap, but the impressive part is that the M440i still has the underlying DNA of what makes the M4 so good, with a much more friendly side for everyday use.
- Explore the potential of the xDrive differentials, it’s a pleasure to take to the limit
- You can be more aggressive than you think, the BMW M440i xDrive responds to being pushed
- Even though it’s not an M4, it can handle the track
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MORE: Everything BMW 4 Series