A redesigned BMW 4 Series luxury compact coupe for 2021 brings dimension increases, vivid exterior styling, an upgraded interior with more tech, new standard safety features, extra horsepower and a mild-hybrid engine.
The M440i model tops the 2021 BMW 4 Series coupe group, whose other models are the rear-wheel-drive 430i and all-wheel-drive 430i xDrive. M440i has standard all-wheel drive, so its full name carries the xDrive tag. The 4 Series is also available in a convertible model.
Coupe pricing with a $995 destination charge included is $46,595 for the 430i, $48,595 for the 430i xDrive and $59,495 for the M440i xDrive.
Standard equipment includes 18-inch wheels, an eight-speed automatic transmission, moonroof, power front sport seats with lumbar, automatic climate control, rain-sensing wipers, dynamic cruise control, LED headlights with cornering lights, automatic high beams, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility, navigation, SiriusXM, park distance control and a suite of driver-assistance features.
My tester was the M440i xDrive model, which adds M Sport brakes, differential, suspension and steering, along with an exterior aerodynamics kit and rear spoiler.
A hefty supply of stand-alone and packaged options for the 4 Series provides great purchasing flexibility, allowing you to indulge or withhold to your heart’s or bank account’s desire.
The most noteworthy exterior styling change is the radically different look of BMW’s signature kidney grille. This new interpretation is vertical instead of horizontal, and huge. It doesn’t generate complimentary remarks but does benefit cooling for the coupe’s powerful engines. Every inch of styling elsewhere on the car is sleek and elegant.
Impressive power for the new M440i xDrive comes from a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline six-cylinder engine generating 382 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. Compared to the previous model, those are gains of 62 horsepower and 39 pound-feet, facilitating a 0-to-60 mph time of 4.3 seconds.
The M440i power plant is a mild-hybrid system with a 48-volt starter/generator unit and separate 48-volt battery. It provides quick boosts during hard acceleration and also improves fuel efficiency. EPA ratings are 22 mpg city, 31 mpg highway and 25 mpg combined. Premium fuel is required.
The mild-hybrid system’s functioning is undetectable except at overly long red-light intersections, when the sleeping engine has to kick back in before the green light.
Inside, the M440i is a showpiece of BMW craftsmanship that also delivers big-time on comfort and quiet. The power front sport seats with lumbar are terrific, and the two rear bucket seats and surrounding space can accommodate grownups in comfort, if they aren’t too tall. The coupe’s low roof diminishes headroom, and though legroom is generous (for a small coupe), long legs won’t think so.
BMW’s iDrive infotainment system — a nightmare when it was introduced 20 years ago but then gradually evolved into an intuitive dream — is standard on the M440i. It has an 8.8-inch touchscreen, along with a center-console rotary knob control. A favored feature for this SiriusXM enthusiast is the display of song titles playing on other stations while you’re listening. Think of it as an alert system that a song you love more is on another channel.
The M440i xDrive’s trunk space of 12 cubic feet is fairly modest but serviceable for a compact coupe. Besides, any trunk is small potatoes in a car whose primary purpose is to combine sporty driving with long-haul touring pleasure.
Optional equipment on my test car included Drivers Assistance Pro, Executive, and Cooling and HP Tire packages.
2021 BMW M440i xDRIVE
Base price, including destination charge: $59,495
Price as driven: $70,470
Mary Lowry is a member of the Motor Press Guild and a member and past president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association. She lives in Snohomish County. Vehicles are provided by automotive manufacturers as a one-week loan for evaluation purposes only. Manufacturers do not control content of the reviews.