BMW M440i xDrive Gran Coupe 2021 First Drive Review : White of your Ayes
Singapore - To many enthusiasts, M Performance Automobiles (or MPA for short) sit in the sweet spot between the full-fat M and the Plain Vanilla models.
These fast-road models are tuned for the petrolhead who spends a majority of the time commuting between home-office-home and is only able to indulge in the occasional fast winding road blast.
Even though the MPA models pack a decent wallop and will hold their own dynamically on long and winding roads, the concessions to daily-driveability mean they don't come with peaky power delivery or an overly firm ride.
Instead, they offer a holistic blend of performance and panache so you never feel like you're rattling around in 'transport stage' between race-track outings.
The 4 Series Gran Coupe is BMW's take on the 4dr coupe segment and it returns in second gen form with the brand's distinctive front grille treatment and is now longer, wider and taller than its predecessor – in fact, the 4 GC's wheelbase even pips the current 3 Series sedan's by 5mm.
If you're wondering, it isn't a coupe nor a sedan, but a compelling blend of the two, with an appropriately swoopy roofline, frameless windows, four-doors, five-seats and an eminently practical lift-back 470-litres 'boot' for convincing load-lugging.
In the M440i xDrive guise we sample though, there's a hard-edge to the Gran Coupe's soft skills.
The 3.0-litre 6cyl produces 374hp and 500Nm channelled to all four wheels, which translate to a 4.7secs 0-100km/h sprint time and 250km/h top speed.
From the taut lux of the cabin and mod-cons, there's a grown-up air to the proceedings and this is mirrored in the drive.
The M440i's expressions of power are deliberate and measured – clinically efficient if you will – as the all-wheel drivetrain works to keep the car planted on the road.
Despite the thick-rimmed sports steering wheel, the steering is precise and lets one place the car easily with a deft motion, while the familiar 8spd auto delivers authoritative shifts during hard driving.
The 48V mild-hybrid set-up offers an additional 11hp 'boost' when accelerating from standstill or attempting to overtake.
The ride is perfectly poised and well-controlled to absorb the poorly paved patches, so you'll never be worried about rattling the fillings loose.
Yet, when the red mist descends, there's sufficient talent in the chassis for the enthusiastic driver to thread the M440i xDrive briskly through his series of favourite corners.
Of course, in my case it was 99 bends, versus Clif's jaunt through the delightfully serpentine Jochpass...
PHOTOS BMW Asia
BMW M440i xDrive Gran Coupe
Engine: 2998cc, inline6, turbo
Transmission: 8spd auto
Top speed: 250km/h
Fuel consumption: 8.5-8.0l/100km