CHATHAM, Mass. – BMW, with a history of transforming sedans into exciting vehicles, continues this tradition with its redesigned 2022 BMW M440i xDrive Gran Coupe, the latest iteration of the sport sedan originated with the mid-60s BMW 2002.
This second-generation of the four-door sleek hatchback might have grown 5.9-inches longer, 1-inch wider, 2.1-inches taller than its predecessor (to a length of 188.5 inches, 72.9-inches wide and 56.8-inches high), but it is still a relatively “small” car by U.S.-market standards.
Within the coupe-like profile, BMW has engineered a driver’s car sporting superb handling, excellent fuel economy, luxurious comfort and modern technology. Where the original sport sedans might have been somewhat minimalist (in terms of amenities) performance machines, the M44i xDrive Gran Coupe makes no-such compromises in providing a taste of the BMW “ultimate driving machine” philosophy.
Mild hybrid + turbocharging = efficient power
BMW is known for its iconic straight-six (cylinder) engines; the Gran Coupe’s 3-liter TwinPower Turbo, 24-valve unit coupled with eBoost 48-volt mild-hybrid technology produces 302 horsepower and 369 pounds-feet of torque.
The mild-hybrid tech — a 48-volt starter-generator acting like an electric-drive unit — assists the engine, allowing it to operate within an efficiency-optimized load range as frequently as possible. It also offers the driver an electric boost that can put an additional 11 hp for instantaneous acceleration help.
The power used for the electric boost drive is recouped almost entirely through regenerative braking and stored in a separate battery that also supplies the electric energy for the 12V on-board power supply, enabling exceptionally efficient operation.
The other primary components of the powertrain are an automatic eight-speed sport steptronic transmission with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters and xDrive fulltime all-wheel drive (AWD).
This system splits drive torque between the front and rear wheels as required via an electronically controlled multi-plate clutch in the transfer case interlinked with the powertrain and chassis systems. The rear-biased set-up produces the driving experience expected of a BMW.
The powertrain provides performance – 0-60 miles per hour in 4.4 seconds – and efficiency – 31.3 miles per gallon during my heavy-footed time behind the wheel (federal Environmental Protection Agency rating of 25 mpg combine, 22 city and 29 highway).
This fuel efficiency came while I drove a bit faster than I usually do, especially on the highway, thanks to the very German-vehicle characteristic of becoming more settled, relaxing and reassuring as the speed climbs (Autobahn engineering?).
A balanced chassis
The M440i xDrive Gran Coupe’s chassis provides the foundation for the driving characteristics described in the last paragraph. Engineering details like a near 50:50 weight distribution front-to-rear, a rigid body structure, carefully tuned shock absorbers, two-joint spring strut front suspension and five-link rear are components which work in this car. Technology like dynamic traction control with dynamic stability control and M Sport differential are part of the package.
The brake system consists of M Sport four-wheel ventilated discs (14.7 inches in the front, 13.5 rear), anti-lock, dynamic brake control and cornering brake control.
The review unit came with the Cooling & HP Tire Package ($2,400) adaptive M Suspension and 19-inch M double-spoke bi-color style 861M wheels with performance non-runflat 240/45R-19 (front) and 255/R40-19 tires.
Full suite of driver-assist systems
The M Gran Coupe’s advanced driver-assist system (ADAS) roster starts with frontal-collision warning, city collision mitigation with braking; lane-departure warning including corrective steering; active blind-spot detection; rear cross-traffic alert and rear collision preparation. The BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe is fitted with standard frontal-collision warning, city-collision mitigation with braking, lane-departure warning, active blind-spot detection, rear-cross traffic alert and rear collision preparation.
Also on tap for me was the Optional Driving Assistant Professional Package ($1,700) which includes functions such as extended traffic jam assistant for limited access highways, active cruise control with stop & go, active lane keeping assistant with side collision avoidance, evasion aid and front cross-traffic alert and the active driving assistant which combines active cruise control and active lane keeping assistant into one easy to use function.
The Assisted View in the instrument display gives the driver an overview of the activated systems and their functionality. The central area of the cockpit display is reserved for a three-dimensional mock-up of the vehicle and its surroundings. This is where the driver can see an image of the cars, trucks and motorcycles detected by the cameras and sensors in the driver’s current lane, along with those in any adjacent lanes.
Luxury, technology and comfort for Gran Coupe occupants
The comfortable, grippy, bolstered multi-adjustable sport seats were heated, as was the steering wheel, both features part of the $1,750 premium package which also brought a terrific head-up display (and ambient lighting).
The automatic dual-zone climate control system which, in what is highly unusual, allows both front passengers to choose where they want the air to flow for optimal personal comfort.
The included BMW Live Cockpit Professional features a 12.3-inch high-resolution instrument cluster behind the steering wheel plus a 10.25-inch center control display. The instrument display provides enough room to accommodate an excerpt from the (standard) navigation map, media content, status indicators for the driver assistance systems or Assisted View (3D visualization of the surrounding area). Information such as lateral acceleration during high-speed cornering can be displayed here as well.
The center touch-screen display provides the heart of vehicle systems and the infotainment system, all of which can be controlled via the touch screen, dash or steering-wheel buttons/switches, the iDrive 7 console-mounted rotary knob or voice command.
The comprehensive infotainment system includes WIRELESS Apple CarPlay compatibility as well as sound pumped out by the optional ($875) Harman Kardon surround-sound audio system.
All in all, a very inviting interior for any type of exhilarating drive. Exhilarating is the best way to describe virtually all but the most pedestrian drives in the BMW M440i xDrive Gran Coupe.
The price for an advanced sport sedan entrusted with the performance M brand echos its place in the sport-sedan pantheon. The BMW M440i xDrive Gran Coupe base price is $58,200 and with options like Parking Assistance Package and the others discussed, as well as the $995 destination charge, totaled $67,520 for the review car.
I barely scratched the surface of all the fun, features and surprises this car provides, all proof that the company credited with pioneering the sport-sedan concept still knows how to get a driver’s blood boiling.