That’s largely thanks to this car’s suspension specification – particularly its adaptive dampers, without which other 4 Series we’ve tested have certainly felt firmer riding and less comfortable, as we’ll expand on in a moment. And yet it can also mix it with a front-engined sports car for grip, handling composure and driver involvement.
Purposefulness, precision and verve bubble out of the M440i when it’s cornered quickly. A measured initial steering response prevents it from diving into bends, then good inherent balance and plenty of lateral grip keep your appointment with the apex and stop the car from washing too wide even when you feed in power.
As always, BMW offers fully enabled stability control, dynamic mode and full deactivation – and you don’t need to switch it off totally to be given the freedom to move the chassis around on the power.
The suspension works the contact patches evenly, and the drivetrain keeps torque at the rear wheels when you’re accelerating out of bends, only moving it forwards in any quantity when you’re beginning to blend attitude into the car.
Outright vertical body control just begins to come into question over the most testing crests and dips, but composure is quickly restored.
Comfort and isolation
Wider test experience suggests that adaptive M suspension may be crucial to the rolling comfort of the 4 Series. We’ve tested it before on BMW’s passive M Sport dampers and found its ride, both at lower speeds and on slightly uneven UK country roads, a little restive and excitable.
But the adaptively damped M440i tested here didn’t suffer with that problem – not, at least, on A- and B-roads, whose lumps and bumps were dealt with serenely enough.
A car such as this will always feel more at home on motorways, at higher speeds and when devouring distance, and this one is no exception. Nevertheless, those who anticipate plenty of cross-country driving ought to go for the suspension upgrade if their budget allows.
Even if you do, you’ll find the car’s low-speed town ride slightly fussy. It joggles its weight between either side of its axles in a way that would amount to head toss in a taller-profiled car but, even so, it doesn’t quite pass unnoticed here.
The car’s ride isolation, on 19in wheels and run-flat tyres, is respectable but not outstanding. There are more refined coupés out there for those who want them.