We take the high-power BMW 440i for a drive on Irish roads
Pros: Straight-six sound, engaging drive, stands out
Cons: Expensive, limited practicality
In recent years, BMW has welcomed a series of new models into its ranks, and the 4 Series is one such example. In the three years since it was first launched (2014), it has become one of the most popular cars in the coupe class thanks to a great drive, plush interior and undisputed good looks. With the brand new Audi A5, Lexus RC and Mercedes-Benz C-Class all updated and chasing its tail however, the 4 Series has a wealth of competition to ward off for 2017. We spent a week with the high power 440i version of the 4 Series recently to see if it can stay on top for the foreseeable.
What is it like?
The new 4 Series Coupe replaced the much-loved 3 Series Coupe, but it offers more grown up and pronounced styling. Our test car is a 440i M Sport, which means it is one of the highest specification 4 Series models that you can buy in Ireland (next to the M4), and as such it has lots of eye catching features including 19-inch M Sport alloy wheels, M Sport body styling, a vibrant Melbourne metallic red paint scheme and twin exhaust pipes at the rear. Entry level SE models are quite toned down in comparison to this, but the 4 Series Coupe is nonetheless a great looking car and stands apart from the rest of the range.
The BMW 4 Series Coupe feels very much like the firm’s popular 3 Series Saloon when you step inside, with a driver-orientated centre console, low-slung seating position and soft touch materials throughout. It isn’t hugely practical though, with few places to put items in the cabin and a limited 445 litre boot. All models get a nicely-integrated 6.5-inch free standing screen on the centre console that presents infotainment neatly, along with heated seats and leather upholstery, which lend the cabin a premium feel. Once again, our range-topping M Sport test car has a lot of extras inside including a superb Harmon/Kardon surround sound system, which are great but expensive options.
The highlight of our 440i test car is of course what is under the bonnet, as it’s powered by a frantic 326hp 3.0-litre straight-six petrol engine. 0-100km/h flashes by in just five seconds and it will top out at 250km/h if ever you find yourself on the Autobahn, while the straight-six sound that comes from the exhaust and which is to an extent artificially pumped into the cabin is simply gorgeous. Of course this engine won’t make sense for the majority of buyers, who will instead go for the more sensible diesel options in the range including the go-to 420D. We managed around 7.8-litres per 100 kilometres of driving in fuel economy (circa 30mpg) during our time with the 440i, while annual road tax comes in at a rather hefty €750. What the 440i lacks in economy, it certainly makes up for in driving thrills.
The 4 Series Coupe is wider, lower and has a harder suspension setup than the 3 Series Coupe which it replaced, so it offers great handling credentials out on the road. Few other cars in the coupe class come close to the 4 Series in cornering composure, and that’s emphasised further in our M Sport level test car which has optional M Sport suspension. On some of Ireland’s bumpier road surfaces, M Sport suspension is simply too stiff however and the regular version is better suited. The 4 Series Coupe is also now available with optional all-wheel-drive (xDrive) for more surefooted power delivery, but BMW purists will prefer the rear-wheel-drive version, which can easily oversteer in the high-power 440i.
Prices for the entry level SE model 4 Series Coupe start from €48,140 here in Ireland which is on par with its main rival the Audi A5 Coupe, but slightly more expensive than the Mercedes-Benz C-Class. Standard equipment is very good with front and rear parking sensors, LED headlights, heated front seats and a sports steering wheel, while an eight speed automatic transmission (featured in our test car) is standard on the larger six cylinder diesel engines. Our 440i M Sport test car is rather special and as a result I t demands a handsome price tag starting at €72,130, but it’s worth every penny for the extra performance that you get.
Carzone verdict: 4/5
Sure, the BMW 440i Coupe commands a hefty price and it isn’t the most economical choice in 4 Series range, but it offers exhilarating straight-six performance, pin point handling credentials and endless smiles out on the road. Most buyers in Ireland will naturally gravitate towards the sensible 420d diesel, which while not nearly as impressive as the 440i, is a solid performer in its own right and comes better equipped than ever before.
Test Car Details:
Model driven: BMW 4 Series 440i M Sport Coupe
Prices from: €48,140
Price as tested: €77,333
Annual Road Tax: €750
Engine: 2998cc six-cylinder petrol
Power/Torque: 326bhp / 450Nm
Top Speed: 250km/h
0-100km/h: 5 seconds
Transmission: 8-Speed Automatic
Body style: Coupe
Boot Space: 445 litres