Munich - Right before the first flakes of snow hit the ground, we get ourselves out of the cold Bavarian autumn wind chill and into the all-new BMW M440i Gran Coupe.
As four-door coupes go, BMW’s design language for its all-new 4 Series Gran Coupe might be the most polarising.
But it is with its daring design direction that the 4 Series sets itself apart from the competition. The upright orientation of the grille to me, truly makes an intense statement.
The four-door variant is the final piece in the puzzle for the 4 Series range of cars, and it is the most practical one among them.
Aside from the extended roofline at the rear for improved headroom for those seated at the back, the Gran Coupe differs very little in dimensions when placed beside the Coupe.
That said, you get the practicality of a sedan - with its four doors and seating for five - and a liftback style boot, which serves up more practicality.
I feel that the M440i variant of the Gran Coupe, which is the car we drove at launch, is possibly the most significant of the brand’s Gran Coupe lineup, since it is the one with BMW’s signature in-line six.
We took the 4 Gee Cee out of Munich city, building pace once entering the autobahn to head southward.
It is Autumn right now, and roads are wet, with vision compromised by the spray kicked up by the vehicles up-front.
While driving conditions may be challenging, within the cabin at German highway speeds, the Gran Coupe feels planted, giving you the confidence boost to keep your foot down.
The car’s insulation proves to be quite excellent, allowing for us social distanced-weary journalists to finally have a chance to ask each other our much-needed, “How have you been?”
A digitised cockpit, together with BMW’s Operating System 7 infotainment means greater flexibility in how you want your drive data displayed.
The voice activated system features a bag of tricks that is arguably the best in the industry, as it’ll even help switch drive modes or roll down your windows – and it all begins with the activation phrase, “Hey BMW”.
Our drive takes us to the twisties of the Jochstraße, in Bad Hindelang, a winding uphill course that was once very popular with Hill Climb events in the past; and we had the joy of putting the M440i Gran Coupe through its paces.
Turn by turn, the four-door coupe feels at home right away.
The inline-six up-front has just so much to give, whichever way the rev counter dances, as you work that 8spd ZF-sourced automatic to match the turns, climbs and dips.
With 500Nm available from just under 2000rpm, you’ll never find yourself falling far out of the engine’s powerband.
From the driver’s seat, it is almost impossible to feel the xDrive AWD system working, with front wheels feeding some of the car’s available 374hp and 500Nm onto the tarmac. You also now get an 11hp boost from the mild hybrid system when taking off, or when you load up on the throttle.
The same mild hybrid system also keeps all the important electrical bits and brake boosting alive, if you choose to shave off a few cents here and there by lifting off the throttle to let the car coast.
The M440i communicates as a rear-wheel driven car should, and I would say that most of us would not even notice the AWD working for you, if not for the xDrive label on the bootlid.
PHOTOS Dani Heyne
BMW M440i xDrive Gran Coupe
Engine: 2998cc, inline6, turbo
Transmission: 8spd auto
Top speed: 250km/h
Fuel consumption: 8.5-8.0l/100km