New BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe 2021 review
Refresh brings styling and tech updates to stylish four-door BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe
The 4 Series Gran Coupe is an accomplished car, but then, so is its 3 Series cousin. There’s more style on offer, and you pay a premium for it. However, tech updates, a sharp look yet not much drawback in practicality are appealing. Factor in a blend of six-cylinder power, personality and performance mixed with a chassis that serves up comfort and agility, and the M440i Gran Coupe is a strong four-door coupe contender.
Style sells, which is why the SUV image is popular. If you want a premium model that’s more dynamic than an SUV and sleeker than a saloon – a car that makes a statement – four-door coupes like BMW’s 4 Series Gran Coupe offer just that.
The German firm has revamped its svelte four-door for 2022 with styling and tech that fall into line with the 4 Series Coupe’s, and offer just as much dynamic promise.
On this top-spec M440i xDrive model you’ll notice the oversized kidney grilles – a BMW trademark – but look past them and you’ll discover more subtle, bespoke styling details for the Gran Coupe, including integrated door handles, a more sculpted bonnet and big air vents in the front wings.
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This most potent 4 Series Gran Coupe gets specific chassis tweaks, including bespoke settings for the stroke-dependent dampers and an active differential on the rear axle to boost agility. The engine is a 3.0-litre turbocharged six-cylinder petrol with 48V mild-hybrid tech that adds an 11bhp boost for a total of 369bhp and 500Nm of torque.
With launch control and four-wheel drive, the M440i will go from 0-62mph in a claimed 4.7 seconds, and it seems good for that on the move. In fact, it feels lovely, like a true, old-school BMW in many ways. Six-cylinder power helps, but unlike the M3 and M4, the M440i’s engine feels less aggressive, more relaxed and laid back in its character. There’s still plenty of performance, with forced induction aiding the mid-range punch, but the car revs sweetly without the ‘always-on’ feel of its full M-car siblings.
It delivers a delicious, musical soundtrack; with emissions laws robbing us of fruity exhaust sounds – and EVs doing away with them altogether – it’s a pleasure to listen to.
It’s matched well by an eight-speed automatic gearbox that swaps between ratios unobtrusively to make the most of the engine’s torque and boost efficiency when cruising. It’s snappier and sharper to shift in the sportier settings, but changes in Sport Plus when taking manual control with the steering wheel paddles are just a little grabby.
The chassis has one or two weak points, but they’re minor. The steering is light in Comfort so you might find it more engaging in Sport, with a little more weight, but in either setting there’s little feedback.
It’s therefore reassuring that the M440i’s chassis is nicely balanced (perfect 50:50 weight distribution helps here), with the rear-biased M xDrive system helping deliver strong traction but also a sense of fun that you can access on the road. When you want to cruise in refinement, the Gran Coupe is just as willing. Our German test route didn’t throw up many bumps, but the M440i still felt supple, with smoothly damped suspension movement that allows the wheels to flow with the road. Whether it’s as competent at delivering these attributes on more challenging UK roads remains to be seen, but the signs are positive for a sporty saloon car.
Except the 4 Series Gran Coupe isn’t a saloon like its 3 Series sibling. Instead, there’s a powered hatch and a 470-litre boot that’s only 10 litres down on the 3 Series’, and the hatch means it’s easier to load larger items. Yet it’s pricier than its more pragmatic cousin, to the tune of £4,795 in top-spec M440i trim.
The coupe-style roofline means the Gran Coupe cuts a sportier look, too, but this doesn’t unduly affect rear headroom, while there’s more than enough legroom.
Inside, there’s the same level of tech you’ll find on any other 4 or 3 Series, including a 12.3-inch screen, with over-the-air software updates here, plus wireless Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Amazon Alexa integration.
But then, at £55,695 you’d expect it to be loaded with tech. The digital dash backs this up, while quality is almost uniformly great. Dual-zone climate control, LED lights, leather sports seats, a reversing camera and cruise control feature, on top of this car’s sporty bodykit and 19-inch wheels.
Beyond the price, there’s a downside to the M440i; claimed economy of 35.3mpg means it won’t be cheap to run, not least because you’ll see closer to 30, or more like 25mpg if you exploit the performance.
The 420i and 420d models start to look more appealing here, but if you’ve got your heart set on a sleek, six-cylinder BMW with lots of performance and practicality, this M440i Gran Coupe is hard to ignore.
|BMW M440i xDrive Gran Coupe
|3.0-litre 6cyl turbo petrol
|Eight-speed automatic, four-wheel drive