A hybrid coupe like no other

2021 BMW m440i xDrive Coupe. Metro News Service photo
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2021 BMW m440i xDrive Coupe. Metro News Service photo

Redesigned BMW M440 shows off new looks, new hybrid performance

Sometimes model year changes are easier to spot than others, based upon what vehicle it is, and based upon what changes have been made. My tester this week was noticeably and starkly different upon even the slightest of glances.

The 2021 BMW m440i xDrive Coupe is part of the completely redesigned 4-series. You will notice the change immediately especially on the front end.

Gone is that symbolic kidney-bean shaped front end that had grown to be a little long in the tooth, even though it still had personality and distinction. However, the new-look m440 still looks the part of a BMW which will make the enthusiasts happy. But it might also churn up interest and excitement for those who had looked past the 4-series for many years. Some will scoff at a coupe still existing in 2021 as cars and sedans have become passe, but personally I still love a coupe. And the new styling is conducive for a coupe.

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Overall, the appearance of the m440 Coupe is a combination of elegant and aggressive. The rear spoiler adds a playful note. The new grille is absolutely stunning boasting aggressive looks along with functionally attractive LED headlights and cornering lights. The lights balance out the new-look front end and I want to give high praise to the BMW designers on absolutely upgrading the 4-series with this front end.

Another new aspect for this model year is a slight hybrid powertrain added to the m440. Don’t think that hybrid means punchless or poky as it’s quite the opposite in this instance. There are several engine configurations for the entire 4-series lineup, but my tester had a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six cylinder engine plus 48-volt hybrid motor to add an extra amount of oomph but also fuel efficiency. As such, the engine/motor makes 382 horsepower and 369 lb.-ft. of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission comes standard and there’s all-wheel drive for the xDrive configuration.

What this all translates to is a hybrid with power and exhilaration. To be honest, I had to double check that it was in fact a hybrid because it didn’t drive like one at all. Were it not for the quiet start, you wouldn’t notice the hybrid portion at all.

Off the line it’s quick and throughout all gears it’s peppy with a great transmission. One word to summarize this new engine in the m440i is: athletic. If you like how BMWs have driven in the past you won’t be disappointed this time around and you might even be more impressed with the overall engineering of this coupe.

The interior is elegant and luxurious, as you’d expect a BMW to be. Nothing is garish or over-the-top but yet the clean, pristine interior has excellent touch points and fine qualities that you can’t find in other luxury brands. The seats are also incredibly comfortable. Being a coupe, the back seat lacks adequate legroom and headroom. Two passengers could fit back there, but getting in and out through the only door on each side could require some amount of contorting.

That is the downfall of a coupe and why you don’t see too many coupes out there. As an executive car or a young person’s daily driver, the m440 is ideal; and less so as a family vehicle. In fact, my tester came with what BMW calls the executive package which includes heated steering wheel, heated front seats, ambient lighting and the live cockpit pro system which includes gesture controls for the infotainment system.

As is usually the case with European vehicles, the infotainment is awesome and full of tech but also lacks intuitiveness. After some learning of how to do the gestures and even manipulate the various aspects of the infotainment system, you grow to be impressed with all it does.

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Kudos to BMW for the wireless phone charging, Apple CarPlay interaction and WIFI hot spot. The Harmon Kardon sound system is tremendous as well.

Starting price of the m440 is $58,500. With a slew of packages, options and features (all priced separately), my tester had a final price tag of $70,470. One of the big and confusing drawbacks to German vehicles is the price structures and how expensive packages can be. It’s almost like getting nickeled and dimed to death.

The 2021 BMW m440i xDrive Coupe has an EPA rating of 22 mpg/city and 31 mpg/highway. I averaged roughly 26 mpg during some less-than-ideal weather, of which the BMW handled itself quite well.

It had been a little time since I had driven a BMW and boy was I impressed with what I saw from this coupe.

Jimmy Dinsmore is a freelance automotive journalist. Email him at jimmydinsmore73@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @driversside

2021 BMW M440i xDrive Cope

  • Price/As tested price................................................ $58,500/$70,470
  • Mileage.......................................... 22 mpg/city; 31 mpg/hwy
  • Engine............................................. 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder
  • Horsepower................................. 382 hp/369 lbs./ft.
  • Transmission................................. Eight-speed automatic
  • Drive wheels................ All-wheel drive
  • Final assembly point................ Dingolfing, Germany