About that face…

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

You may’t please the entire folks the entire time, however that will not cease some people — or vehicles — from making an attempt. Take the 2021 BMW M440i xDrive, for instance. The newest iteration of 4 Collection nonetheless prioritizes on-road sharpness, however in a continued effort to infuse as a lot refinement into the expertise as attainable, some components of the script get misplaced within the shuffle.


Fast as heckNeutral handlingGT-style inside consolation

Do not Like

Rocket J. Squirrel faceFront-axle heftHypersensitive brake pedal

Why the lengthy face?

There is no sugarcoating it — the 2021 BMW 4 Collection appears to be like bizarre as hell from the entrance. Its newly bucktoothed countenance is certain to polarize Thanksgiving Zoom conversations, but when sparking dialog is the purpose, then mission achieved, BMW. Sure, the honkin’ new grille supplies a cooling profit when its energetic shutters are broad open, however it’s nonetheless an acquired style. Fortunately, the remainder of the outside is kind of nice, borrowing the silhouette and numerous shapes from the bigger and prettier 8 Collection.

The 4 Collection’ inside strikes a distinction to its shell, as a result of it is… nicely, it is the identical cookie-cutter inside seen on some other fashionable Bimmer, which appears shocking for one thing with such a singular face. Nonetheless, that does not imply it is unhealthy, as a result of it is not. In actual fact, it is plush as heck, even with the usual vinyl topping on the door panels and dashboard. The leather-based surfaces are smooth and heat, contrasting the colder aluminum on the beltline and heart console.

For a coupe, the M440i is a lot helpful. The rear seats, whereas a bit tight on headroom, are able to holding grown people for longer stretches of time, they usually’re fairly cozy, in addition. Each door panels have massive pockets with further cup holders, the glove compartment is decently sized and the cubby underneath the armrest is nice for pocket tchotchkes. An optionally available wi-fi charger ($500) lives behind the console’s cup holders, which is not my favourite spot from an accessibility standpoint, however it’s an excellent utilization of the out there house. Pop the trunk and you will find a 12-cubic-foot cargo maintain, which is lower than a 3 Collection however greater than the two-door rivals from Audi, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz.

A sports activities automobile heavy on grand touring

Sports activities vehicles collect reward for bringing the driving force in tight reference to the automobile and, by extension, the world round them. Against this, grand tourers are supposed to be plush, comfy hustlers that may pile on the pace, however in a approach that prioritizes effortlessness and disconnect from all these little annoyances. The 2021 BMW M440i tries to be each, which implies it succeeds in some locations however falls quick in others, leaving me a little bit confused as to its true intentions.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

From the sports activities automobile aspect, the M440i packs a helluva lot of hustle. Its 3.0-liter turbocharged I6 produces 382 horsepower and 364 pound-feet of torque, sufficient to tear to 60 mph from a lifeless cease in about 4 seconds, which is as fast as some absolutely fledged M vehicles. I really feel each little bit of it on the ol’ booty dyno, too; it is enjoyable to smash the fuel and let the eight-speed computerized shortly discover the right gear for max driver, with a little bit kick within the again when upshifting underneath heavy throttle. In contrast to the latest iterations of M3 and M4, the M440i truly sounds good whereas it is ripping round, too. When thrown right into a nook, this all-wheel-drive coupe displays starkly impartial dealing with, by no means actually feeling discombobulated or able to kick the arse finish out at a second’s discover.

In actual fact, that is the purpose at which I begin to see the traces blurring from sports activities automobile to GT. As a substitute of wanting to interact in lurid drifts, the M440i’s profound front-axle heft incurs greater than a touch of understeer. Composure is not restricted to the traction, both; the optionally available adaptive suspension ($700) numbs the driving force to the street beneath even in its most aggressive Sport Plus setting, solely ever hitting exhausting over potholes that ought to actually simply be prevented within the first place. In Consolation mode, it is downright luxurious — nice if you wish to overlook your cares, however not a lot if you wish to throw the factor round some forest switchbacks. The steering is a little bit sleepy and lightweight on feeling, too.

There’s one a part of the automobile that greatest exemplifies the M440i’s lack of ability to determine what it desires to be, and weirdly sufficient, it is the brake pedal. A touch of foot will induce a head dip because the brakes instantly chunk down, which is nice for fast reactions wanted throughout spirited driving however fairly annoying when puttering round city. Nonetheless, after that preliminary seize, the pedal throw is lengthy and straightforward to modulate, which is nice for easy stops however not the sensation (or lack thereof) you need while you want a number of stopping energy in a rush.

Regardless of the automobile’s want to torque its technique to the horizon, it is fairly straightforward on the fuel tank, and by extension, your pockets. The EPA charges the M440i xDrive at 22 miles per gallon metropolis and 31 mpg freeway, numbers that I had no challenge assembly and sometimes beating. A few of this thrift comes from the 48-volt mild-hybrid system, which may ship little energy boosts however is generally meant for increasing stop-start capabilities and enhancing general effectivity. You will by no means know it is there.

The 4 Collection’ inside is decidedly much less polarizing.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

Acquainted, welcoming tech

The M440i’s exterior may be like nothing else earlier than it, however the tech contained in the automobile is blissfully acquainted — and fairly nice, in addition. The dashboard sports activities a touchscreen working BMW’s iDrive infotainment system, which regardless of its info density is fairly straightforward to get used to. It is responsive, whether or not or not I am utilizing the touchscreen itself or the rotary dial on the middle console, and if the usual UI is not your cup of tea, each wi-fi Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are normal. Analog gauges are normal, however my tester’s Govt Package deal ($3,700) provides a 12.3-inch digital cluster, along with increasing the center display from 8.8 inches to 10.3. The map in the course of the IP is basically ineffective, until I’ve turn-by-turn instructions working, however all the knowledge is displayed cleanly in a approach that minimizes distraction. A head-up show included with the package deal additional reduces wandering eyes.

The Govt Package deal additionally comprises BMW’s gesture management, which is constantly extra annoying than it’s helpful. Why would I spin my finger round in circles, wildly various the audio system’ quantity, after I may simply barely alter the dial proper subsequent to the place my hand already is? If I dare speak to my passenger, an errant right-hand expression often modifications the channel or mutes the audio. Since almost each audio management is already out there on the steering wheel, it is solely extra distracting to begin waving my digits all willy-nilly. Simply… put this one to relaxation already.

For the reason that rear seats are literally considerably tolerable, it was very good of BMW to incorporate USB charging ports again there, along with the USB-C port underneath the middle armrest and the USB-A port simply forward of the cup holders.

On the protection entrance, normal equipment consists of computerized emergency braking, lane-departure warning, blind-spot monitoring and a rear cross-traffic alert. This M440i additionally carries the $1,700 Driving Help Professional package deal, which beefs up the driving force aids with a radar-based adaptive cruise management and lane-keeping mixture that allows transient stretches of hands-off driving in site visitors jams, with LED indicators on the steering wheel telling me when to retake management. It is an important system, and it really reduces the tedium of stop-and-go freeway site visitors.

The M440i appears to be like a lot better from the rear.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

Right down to brass tacks

Regardless of crossovers and their sloped-roof crossover-coupe brethren, there’s nonetheless an energetic neighborhood of two-door patrons, so the M440i is not precisely alone in its phase. The Mercedes-AMG C43 provides a little bit extra luxurious expertise — till the usual suspension rattles your bones into mud, that’s. The Audi S5 Coupe is not as new because the Bimmer, however it’s enticing and correctly kitted out with each fancy appointments and a few correct tech. This is not precisely a bargain-friendly phase, although; with solely a handful of choices, my $59,495 M440i xDrive Coupe swells to a yikes-inducing $70,470.

The 2021 BMW M440i xDrive Coupe is a powerful automobile, despite the fact that it’s kind of confused. It could actually sort out many grand-touring duties with aplomb, and it isn’t half unhealthy in switchbacks, however in making an attempt to enchantment to so many various corners of the business without delay, it finally ends up being a jack of all trades however a grasp of none.


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