From £29,7009
More power doesn’t always make for a better car, but the BMW 4 Series 440i is one of the best four-seat coupés out there

Our Verdict

BMW 4 Series

The facelifted BMW 4 Series has improved on an already solid proposition but can it hold off the likes of the latest generation Audi A5 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupé?

  • First Drive

    BMW 440i Coupe 2017 review

    The assumption was that a few minor tweaks to the 2017 BMW 440i Coupé wouldn't make much of a difference. It turns out they do
  • First Drive

    2016 BMW 4 Series 440i M Sport review

    More power doesn’t always make for a better car, but the BMW 4 Series 440i is one of the best four-seat coupés out there

What is it?

If you’re a bit of a badge snob who likes the numbers affixed to the back of your car to really mean something, prepare to be thoroughly disappointed. As with its 1 and 2 Series, BMW has enhanced is spiciest non-M car offering, the 435i. to create the BMW 4 Series 440i.

However, as those purists will no doubt be muttering, there’s no 4.0-litre lump under this car's bonnet. Instead, there’s a breathed-on version of the familiar 3.0-litre turbocharged in-line six. Power is now up by 20bhp to a wholesome 322bhp and there’s improved economy and emissions, too.

Other than the revised powerplant, this 4 Series is exactly as it was in 435i guise. With the Mercedes-AMG C 43 Coupé having been released recently and a new Audi S5 on the horizon, can the older 4 Series still cut it?

What's it like?

Despite only coming in M Sport trim, the 440i isn’t a car that shouts about its blistering straight-line pace. Apart from a pair of widely spaced exhaust tips, some sizeable brake discs and that potentially controversial badge, it could be a humble 420d with a few options boxes ticked.

That subtlety continues when you thumb the starter button: there’s a brief burst of revs but none of the histrionics some rivals employ. While a six-speed manual gearbox is standard, our test car came with BMW's familiar ZF eight-speed automatic. We might like changing cogs ourselves, but the auto's silky shifts in Comfort mode and punchy changes when you start selecting gears yourself are predictably impressive.

It certainly helps the 440i’s dual personality. Left in Comfort, the engine is happy spinning at around 1500rpm, offering a pleasing response to even small throttle inputs. Keeping pace with other traffic requires little effort, and better than 32mpg isn’t too hard to achieve. Stop-start is standard but even this doesn’t hurt refinement, with the six-cylinder unit shutting off smoothly and restarting with little fuss.

So what about the other half of this car’s personality? Once throttle pedal meets carpet, the ’box smartly shuffles down a ratio or three and the rev counter needle soars towards the redline. Some may have complained that the M4 doesn’t make a great noise from inside, but this isn’t something you could say about the 440i. Whether it’s the lower boost pressure or different pipework coming off the cylinder head, it certainly gives this 4 Series quite the set of lungs.

As the engine passes the middle of the rev range, the creamy whirr becomes more of a mechanical howl that could belong to a classic six devoid of forced induction. It isn’t obnoxiously loud and it's a noise you’ll want to revisit time after time. As for the performance, no one realistically needs to get to motorway speeds any quicker than this.

The handling should prove familiar to anyone who has sampled a 435i in the past couple of years. The optional adaptive dampers allow relaxed high-speed cruising in Comfort mode and keener responses in Sport or Sport Plus. With no four-wheel drive option, the tail can be persuaded to follow a different path to that of the front tyres, but a relatively long wheelbase helps the process remain predictable, easy to catch and jolly good fun.

We do have a couple of complaints, however. The steering, while precise, is a little numb and ride comfort could be better. Although 19in wheels may fill the arches well, the tyre’s skinny sidewalls transmit road imperfections into the cabin with a jolt and a thump. We’d retain the standard 17in wheels and keep the looks even stealthier than they already are.

The interior remains the same as before, meaning plenty of high-quality materials, lots of room up front, reasonable room for rear-seat passengers and, of course, BMW’s iDrive system to make navigating the infotainment system easy. The boot is big enough for a couple of sizable suitcases and there are nets and luggage hooks to prevent your shopping rolling around should you indulge in a spot of hoonery.

Should I buy one?

Compared with lesser 4 Series models, the 440i certainly isn’t cheap. You need more than £40,000 to buy one outright, economy will nosedive if you enjoy yourself and it’ll be more expensive to tax than almost any other variant. Given the performance on offer, though, we’d argue that it doesn’t seem that pricey, especially when you consider that an M4 is around £15,000 more expensive.

With that in mind, the combination of straight-line pace, sharp handling, relaxed cruising ability and that excellent noise mark the 440i as one of the most talented four-seat coupés out there. Audi and Mercedes will have to make their S5 and C 43 Coupés particularly good to beat this.

2016 BMW 4 Series 440i

Location West Sussex; On sale Now; Price £43,925; Engine 6 cyls, 2996cc, twin-turbocharged, petrol; Power 322bhp at 5500rpm Torque 332lb ft at 1380-5000rpm Gearbox 8-spd automatic Kerb weight 1735kg; 0-62mph 5.0sec; Top speed 155mph; Economy 41.5mpg (combined); CO2/tax band 159g/km, 28%

Join the debate

Comments
14

22 August 2016
Great car but the Gran Coupe makes even more sense (and isn't available as an M4 or Alpina).

22 August 2016
whats it like without the adaptive dampers that virtually no one will order, meaning hardly available on the used market either. BMW's insistence on every press car having them fitted suggest not that great?

22 August 2016
jamesf1 wrote:

whats it like without the adaptive dampers that virtually no one will order, meaning hardly available on the used market either. BMW's insistence on every press car having them fitted suggest not that great?

I've not driven a 4 Series, but have the current (and mechanically identical) 3 Series and I can only say that I find it hard to fathom as to how this car was once class best, before the XE came on the scene. Way before the Jaguar arrived the 3 Series was cramped, unrefined with lots of wind tyre roar, cheap interior materials, rubbish build quality while the ride was harsh and jiggly. The steering seemed heavy and uncommunicative while the handling suffered from understeer, even when pushed at low speeds. A totally overrated car and I can only label the same conclusion at the 4 Series which I don't rate as more than 2.5/3 star car.

24 August 2016
I have experience with F31 320xd on 18in wheel with M suspension without adaptive dampers and the right quality is OK even for every day. When building my own 440i I voted for M adaptive dampers because I just wanted 19in wheel also because I am using the car every day.

Fact is, that I have no chance to test 4 or 3 series on 19in wheel without an adaptive suspension because simply there was no BMW in dealere's stock without it. So I carefully went through bimmer forum and finally decided for adaptive dampers.

Anyway, on everyday basis adaptive suspension is a great thing. If I have a 4 series just for fun for few days in month I would vote for non-adaptive M suspension.

No experience with standart non adaptive suspension on 3/4 series.

22 August 2016
I have a M135i without adaptive dampers. The M135i can be a bit fidgety on bad roads, but it grips and there is loads of confidence - you feel perhaps more than the comfort spec dampers, but it is more than comfortable and drivable. I looked at loads of forums before electing whether or not to go with the dampers (which I didn't really want to fork out for), and I have to say, you really don't need to.

Scrap I just don't get why there isn't an M4 Gran Coupe or a M3 touring...the latter particularly is a great shame!

Padding and Purring around the Globe!

22 August 2016
I have a M135i without adaptive dampers. The M135i can be a bit fidgety on bad roads, but it grips and there is loads of confidence - you feel perhaps more than the comfort spec dampers, but it is more than comfortable and drivable. I looked at loads of forums before electing whether or not to go with the dampers (which I didn't really want to fork out for), and I have to say, you really don't need to.

Scrap I just don't get why there isn't an M4 Gran Coupe or a M3 touring...the latter particularly is a great shame!

Padding and Purring around the Globe!

22 August 2016
I have a M135i without adaptive dampers. The M135i can be a bit fidgety on bad roads, but it grips and there is loads of confidence - you feel perhaps more than the comfort spec dampers, but it is more than comfortable and drivable. I looked at loads of forums before electing whether or not to go with the dampers (which I didn't really want to fork out for), and I have to say, you really don't need to.

Scrap I just don't get why there isn't an M4 Gran Coupe or a M3 touring...the latter particularly is a great shame!

Padding and Purring around the Globe!

jer

23 August 2016
But the rest of it is a bit familiar. Its going to be pretty firm without the adaptive shocks/hens teeth option.

23 August 2016
All the pundits have said that you really do need adaptive dampers to get the best from the various cars, not heard any pundits suggest that you are better 'orf without the damper things...TBH a company as focused as BMW appear to be for drivers should have this feature as standard especially on the top of the range model. Are steel rims an still an option?

23 August 2016
All this talk about how good it sounds -- that's great IF it's actually produced by the engine. So, does the 440i have faked engine sound through the speakers (which is appalling), or is it the real thing?

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