The Badge Dilemma
The 440i: 4 Series coupe with 240kW and 450Nm to nestle it below the alpha male M4. Had a brief run under the 435i badge and before that as the 335i coupe. Now the even numbers are assigned to coupes and BMW’s switch from the N55 engine to the B58, introduced during the latest round of cosmetic changes, prompted more badge kudos. And yes, the 440i Gran Tourer, a 5-door version which we secretly like, doesn’t abide by the same rules
Replaces probably the best engine of the last decade but don’t worry BMW hasn’t altered the six-cylinder 3.0-litre turbo charged formula other than adding another 19ccs. The twin-scroll turbo has a 6% increase to turbine wheel size and 10% on the compressor end. A water-to-air intercooler integrated into the intake plenum lowers temperature for another 15kW and 50Nm. Terrified that a 4-cylinder will one day replace it. Will protest.
M Sport Trim
Bit nondescript for my tastes, but on the flip side some may appreciate its stealthy looks. Can’t deny that it exudes sophistication as the sort of thinking man’s performance car. Noticed the M Sport sills as I got in and the wheel but otherwise it doesn’t make a lot of fuss.
What’s Carried Vver
Only the engine is different from the 435i to the 440i. But then the 4 Series does handle better than the 3 Series, a feat enabled by wider tracks, lower centre of gravity and a sizeable bulking of torsional rigidity that makes you wonder how the 3 Series stays on the road as well as it does.
The Final Word
In all the hype around M2 and M4, you forget that the pendulum rests at this point with probably the fairest chassis firmness and steering setup in the business. Outstanding car packaged around a heavenly engine miraculously better than the N55.
Price: R852 176
2998cc, 4-cyl turbo, RWD, 240kW, 450Nm,
6.6l/100km, 172g/km CO2,
0-100kph in 5.0 sec, 250km/h,