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BMW 440i
$47,200 - $59,620
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BMW 440i VS Mercedes-Benz E 400

$61,990 - $199,868

BMW 440i


Mercedes-Benz E 400

Summary

BMW 440i

Life comes at you fast, especially in the automotive industry, where model lifecycles are becoming shorter as each new generation comes and goes.

Take the BMW 4 Series for instance. It’s been a segment stalwart since 2013, but the current model’s time in the sun is finally coming to an end a little later this year.

And that got us thinking whether or not the old saying rings true in this context. So, we put the flagship 440i coupe to test to find out if the older you get, the wiser you are.

Safety rating
Engine Type3.0L turbo
Fuel TypePremium Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency6.8L/100km
Seating4 seats

Mercedes-Benz E 400

It is hard to immediately think of a country more suited to the convertible life than Australia. Even our coldest states (you know who you are…) are blessed with more warming sun than almost anywhere else on the civilised parts of the planet, so you’d think we’d be swanning about in dropped-top bliss almost year round.

But it’s actually in the UK (despite being cold, grey and almost always underwater) that convertibles really fly out of dealerships, with sun-starved Brits buying more than anyone else in the world. Weird, right?

Still, here they remain something of an oddity, sold in small numbers to drop-top diehards. At least partly because the convertibles of old were almost always slightly worse than their hardtop equivalents. 

But Mercedes - which makes more convertibles than most - claims to have mastered the soft-top formula with the E400 4Matic, a car it says offers all the perks of open-air motoring without any of the dynamic or practical downsides. 

Safety rating
Engine Type2.0L turbo
Fuel TypePremium Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency7.4L/100km
Seating4 seats

Verdict

BMW 440i7.5/10

Is now the right time to buy a 4 Series coupe? With the next-generation model a matter of months away, probably not.

That said, those buyers who decide to park a new ‘old’ 4 Series coupe in their driveway will be very pleased with their purchase.

At the end of the day, the current-generation model is still a cracking sports-luxury coupe, and more so when in 440i form. It’s just that good.


Mercedes-Benz E 4007.6/10

A convertible that doesn't feel like one when the roof is in place is no easy task to build, but it's one Merc's engineers have pulled off with the E400 4Matic Cabriolet. Effortless power, a tonne of technology and a comfy, leather-wrapped cabin all make Merc's drop-top E-Class a strong proposition.

Would you have a convertible in Australia, or is it just too hot most of the time? Let us know in the comments section.

Design

BMW 440i7/10

The first-generation 4 Series coupe has aged relatively well, despite sharing most of its design cues with the superseded sixth-generation 3 Series sedan.

Compared to current BMW models, the 4 Series coupe’s signature kidney grille is small, flanked by angry-looking adaptive headlights with hexagonal daytime running lights, all of which are of the LED variety.

The 440i’s standard M Sport body kit adds to the aggressive styling with chunky front bumper with three large air intakes, the outer two of which also contain the LED fog lights.

Around the side, a strong shoulder line stretches from the front wheel arches to beyond their rear counterparts, while BMW’s Air Curtains split the difference between it and the sporty skirts.

The rear end is the 440i’s simplest angle, although its bumper is spruced up with a dark-grey insert and dual exhaust tailpipes. Predictably, L-shaped LED tail-lights punctuate the styling at the rear.

Inside, the 4 Series coupe is holding up well, but it's still clearly a generation behind most other new BMW models.

That said, it’s a throwback we quite like, particularly iDrive6, which is still arguably BMW’s best multimedia system to date. Powering a floating 8.8-inch touchscreen in this instance, it’s just so intuitive, partly thanks to its rotary controller.

An 8.8-inch digital instrument cluster is a late-life addition for the 440i, and while it looks great with its drive mode-specific views, it lacks the breadth of functionality of Audi’s set-up.

The 4 Series coupe’s cabin is otherwise pretty basic despite its apparent emphasis on sportiness, although the selection of luxurious materials used throughout is top-notch.

The entire dashboard, chunky M Sport steering wheel and old-school handbrake lever are trimmed in high-quality leather, while lower-quality Dakota leather covers the sports seats, armrests and door inserts.

Soft-touch plastic is used for the door shoulders and bins, even in the second row, while hard plastic is limited to the centre console, and gloss-black trim is used on the centre stack’s audio and dual-zone climate control surrounds.


Mercedes-Benz E 4008/10

Elegance. That's the word that springs to mind when you first clamp eyes on the E400 Cabriolet. While the Coupe version has a crouched-over sportiness about its exterior design, the convertible is all about big and boat-like proportions, especially with the fabric roof opened.

Like nearly all drop-tops, the E400 looks best with the cabin open to the elements, and the side profile especially paints a picture of well-heeled wafting, with only the AMG alloys and body styling hinting at the performance on offer under the bonnet.

Inside, expect perfectly executed modern luxury, with soft leather seats, touchpoints that melt under the fingers and a sprinkling of woodgrain trim. All of which feel like old-world luxury, nicely juxtaposed by the huge twin-screen display that dominates the dash.

Practicality

BMW 440i7/10

Measuring 4640mm long, 1825mm wide and 1377mm tall, the 440i coupe is a true mid-sizer, and that means it’s surprisingly practical – for the most part.

Cargo capacity is more than solid, at 445L, but stow the 60/40 split-fold rear bench via a pair of manual latches located in the boot and more storage space is quickly liberated.

To make matters even better, the boot has two bag hooks and four tie-down points, making securing a load a cinch. That said, the high load lip means bulkier items can require a little more effort to accommodate.

Up front, the door bins are large enough for a regular bottle each, while a pair of cupholders separate the gear selector from a seriously shallow storage tray.

The central storage bin is on the shallow side, too, albeit not to the same degree as the dedicated storage tray. That said, much of its space can be taken up by the optional wireless smartphone charger ($200), which was fitted to our test car.

The glovebox tries its best to make up for the lack of genuine in-cabin storage options by being quite large, while storage nets are attached to the backs of the front seats.

Rear occupants can also make use of a large storage tray that resides where a middle seat would otherwise go. They also have access to a fold-down central armrest that incorporates two more cupholders.

Speaking of armrests, the rear side ones are incredibly narrow, leaving tired elbows in a bit of a pickle.

It’s not all bad news in the second row, though, as legroom and toe-room behind our 184cm driving position are very generous, with the former offering several inches of wriggle room.

We’d go as far as to say the rear quarters are comfortable, but that would require ignoring the fact that headroom is seriously compromised with the optional power-operated sunroof ($3000) fitted, with our head pressed firmly against the 440i coupe’s Anthracite roofliner.

Either way, child seats can be fitted in the second row, with ISOFIX anchorage points available for the outer seats. Speaking of which, it’s worth noting ingress and egress to the rear bench isn’t too bad, with the front seats folding forward via manual latches.

Connectivity-wise, two USB-A ports are found in the first row, split between the centre stack and the central storage bin, while three 12V power outlets are spread across the front and rear of the centre console, and the boot.


Mercedes-Benz E 4006/10

It's a two-door, four-seat convertible, so practicality isn't at the very top of its list of strengths.

That said, life is peachy for upfront riders, both of whom will travel in spacious luxury. There are two cupholders hidden beneath a woodgrain cover underneath the climate controls - also home to a power outlet - as well as a clever double-hinged central storage bin that can be opened by either the passenger or driver, and which opens to reveal two USB points.

There's room in the doors for bottles, too, and the entertainment system can be controlled via a touchpad controller mounted above the traditional click wheel - although, to be honest, using it is harder and more time consuming than simply pretending it doesn't exist.

Climbing into the back (and we mean climb - there are no rear doors) is made easier by the fact you can fold and slide the front seats automatically by pulling a lever mounted near the headrest. Once there, though, you'll find space is a little tighter, and you feel weirdly cocooned, owing to the huge raised tunnel that runs through the middle of the cabin, and the low roof line.

There are two cupholders that live in the space where the middle seat would normally go, and there's a little bottle-holder cubby to the left of both backseat riders. There are air vents back there, too, but no temperature controls.

The boot space is predictably a little limited, with 385 litres on offer. There's also a little flip-down separator, which shows you how much room the roof will need to come down, reducing boot space to 310 litres. Speaking of which, the soft-top can be lowered in just 20 seconds, and at speeds up to 50km/h.

One practicality quirk, though. The front (and only) doors are huge and really very heavy, requiring considerable heft to open them, especially if you're parked on a slight angle. Honestly, I was reduced to kind of pushing them open with my foot at times.

Price and features

BMW 440i7/10

The 440i coupe is priced from $103,200 plus on-road costs, positioning it as a more affordable alternative to its main rivals, the Audi S5 coupe ($105,400) and Mercedes-AMG C43 coupe ($116,500), although it’s not as fully featured.

Standard equipment not already mentioned in the 440i coupe includes dusk-sensing lights, rain-sensing wipers, 19-inch alloy wheels, a mixed set of run-flat tyres (front: 225/40, rear: 255/35) and power-folding side mirrors with heating.

Inside, satellite navigation with live traffic, digital radio, a 600W Harman/Kardon sound system with 16 speakers, a windshield-projected head-up display, keyless entry and start, power-adjustable front seats with heating, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and ambient lighting feature.


Mercedes-Benz E 4008/10

At $157,400, the Cabriolet is the most expensive model in the E400 family, and is roughly $20k more than the sedan and $10k more than the coupe variants.

That money buys you a comprehensively kitted-out ride - as it really should - with the E400 Cabriolet arriving with 20-inch AMG alloys, LED headlights (made up of 84 LEDs) with high-beam assist, proximity unlocking with push-button start, air suspension and Merc's AIRCAP - a lip above the windscreen that's designed to push air up and over the cabin when the roof is down.

Inside, you'll find leather seats, dual-zone climate control and the clever 'AirScarf' system, which pumps hot air onto your neck when the roof is down (and it's cold out). You'll also nab heated front seats, power windows front and back and an automatic belt feeder, which saves you reaching over your shoulder to get to your seatbelt. So exhausting.

On the tech front, expect a killer 590W, 13-speaker Burmester stereo, controlled by the seriously impressive widescreen cockpit; two 12.3-inch screens that spill from about the centre of the dash all the way to the driver's binnacle, and control everything from navigation to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

There's a whole bunch of safety stuff, including semi-autonomous technology, but we'll drill down on that under the Safety sub-heading.

Engine & trans

BMW 440i9/10

The 440i coupe is motivated by a silky smooth 3.0-litre turbo-petrol in-line six-cylinder engine that punches out 240kW of power at 5500rpm and 450Nm of torque from 1380-5000rpm.

An equally silky smooth eight-speed torque-converter automatic transmission exclusively sends drive to the rear wheels – a characteristic that has become a rarity in this segment.

This combination helps the 440i coupe sprint from a standstill to 100km/h in a scant five seconds flat with launch control engaged, according to BMW. Its top speed is electronically limited to 250km/h.


Mercedes-Benz E 4008/10

It's a fabulous engine, this twin-turbocharged V6 - even if it doesn't feel quite so lively in Cabriolet form as it does in the hardtop equivalents.

The 3.0-litre unit produces 245kW/480Nm, sending it to all four wheels via a nine-speed automatic transmission, linked to the standard 4Matic all-wheel drive system.

Fuel consumption

BMW 440i8/10

The 440i coupe will drink a claimed 6.8 litres per 100 kilometres on the combined cycle, while its carbon dioxide emissions are 159 grams per kilometre.

Our week of testing skewed towards city driving over highway stints, and we averaged 8.6L/100km, which is impressive given the six-cylinder performance on offer. And yes, we did put it to use...

The 440i coupe's 60L fuel tank takes 95RON petrol at minimum.


Mercedes-Benz E 4007/10

Mercedes claims 7.4L/100km on the combined cycle (but you can expect to be pushing nine litres in real-world conditions), with emissions pegged at 170g per kilometre of CO2.

The 66-litre tank will only accepts 95RON fuel.

Driving

BMW 440i8/10

The 440i coupe toe the line between sports car and luxury vehicle very, very well.

The straight-line performance is definitely there thanks to its in-line six-cylinder unit, which is one of our favourite engines in any vehicle – period.

From top to bottom, the 3.0-litre unit is absolutely delicious. Maximum torque kicks in just above idle and remains on tap deep into the top end, at which point a fleeting moment of peak power is just 500rpm away. Needless to say, acceleration is strong.

Remarkably, the engine’s twin-scroll turbo exhibits next to no lag, making for a unit that you truly want to wring out. That said, don’t expect aural pleasure when you do so, as the sound it generates is lacklustre. Yep, no enticing crackles or pops are heard here.

The automatic transmission ties everything together beautifully, providing timely, quick and smooth gear changes on the regular, even without its Sport mode engaged. And, of course, there are paddle-shifters on hand if you want to take matters into your own hands – literally.

Given the 440i coupe’s apparent performance bent, you’d be forgiven for thinking it rides like an unforgiving sports car. Well, the good news is it doesn’t.

Consisting of MacPherson-strut front and multi-link rear axles with adaptive dampers, its independent suspension set-up stands up really well to Australian roads.

While potholes and coarse-chip roads would usually be met with hesitation, the 440i coupe silences the doubters with its composed ride. Can you feel them? Yes, but they’re relatively muted, especially in a car with sporty aspirations, like this one. 

Cornering is a lot of fun, too, thanks to excellent body control. Tip its 1555kg kerb weight into a corner with intent and you’re quickly reminded why SUVs are nowhere near this fun to drive.

Simply put, the 440i coupe loves a twisty stretch of road, where its M Sport brakes (front: four-piston fixed callipers, rear: two-pot floating stoppers) and traditional rear-wheel-drive dynamics come out to play.

This experience is enhanced by its superb electric power steering, which is speed-sensitive, meaning it’s quick at low speed, for improved manoeuvrability, and ‘slow’ at high speed, for improved stability.

We absolutely adore this particular system, mainly because of its perfect weighting and surprising amount of feel. And in a surprise to no-one, it also turns in really well, too.

Of course, if you want to take the 440i coupe’s handling to the next level, you can engage its Sport drive mode, which stiffens up the adaptive dampers for even flatter cornering and adds more heft to the electric power steering. But we’d say both are unnecessary.


Mercedes-Benz E 4008/10

Sure, the E400 Cabriolet can drive itself, but we’re equally pleased to note that it’s still a lot more fun handling the steering duties yourself.

And that is mostly due to that fabulous engine; quiet and effortless at city speeds, rorty and enthusiastic at pace, and genuinely angry with the drive setting switched to their most hardcore Sport+ mode.

We’ve already spent time in the sedan version, and while this Cabriolet is heavier (1935kg vs 1820kg) and slightly slower to 100km/h (5.5sec vs 5.2sec) it doesn’t immediately feel it behind the wheel, with a similar and satisfying lurch into the future when you plant your foot.

But hard charging is not what this car is about, and the E 400 is at its peachy best when rolling about the city or the ‘burbs with the top down, and the warm summer air washing through the cabin.

In its normal drive settings, the steering is light but engaged, and the ride on offer from the standard air suspension is outstanding, cosseting the cabin from all but the very worst road imperfections, while the torque from the V6 serves up effortless, unobtrusive acceleration.

With the roof up, Merc’s designers have done a stellar job of hiding the fact this thing is a convertible at all. It’s a solid-feeling cabin with the fabric roof fastened, and the cabin is quiet and free from wind noise.

Safety

BMW 440i7/10

Advanced driver-assist systems in the 440i coupe extend to low-speed autonomous emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control with stop and go functionality, a manual speed limiter, speed-sign recognition, high-beam assist, park assist, surround-view cameras, front and rear parking sensors, hill-start assist and tyre pressure monitoring.

Other standard safety equipment includes six airbags (dual front, side and curtain), electronic stability and traction control systems, anti-lock brakes (ABS) and brake assist, among others.

That said, high-speed AEB, lane-keep assist and rear cross-traffic alert are among the notable exclusions.

Neither ANCAP nor its European sibling, Euro NCAP, have awarded the 4 Series a safety rating yet.


Mercedes-Benz E 4009/10

There are few cars on the road as overloaded with safety technology as the E400 Cabriolet.

The standard stuff is all there, of course. There's a 360-degree parking camera, as well as nine airbags (dual front, dual pelvic/thorax for front-seat passengers, dual sidebags for rear passengers, dual head bags in the doors and a knee airbag for the driver), rollover protection and tyre-pressure monitoring, as well as braking and traction aids.

But the E400 adds some really clever technology, including Merc's Driving Assistance Package Plus, which adds active lane keeping, blind-spot assist, cross-traffic alert and evasive steering assist.

It's this suite of systems that allows the E400 to navigate freeways autonomously, including changing lanes on demand. At the moment, the system will warn you to keep your hands on the wheel every so often, but you can sense a time when that will no longer be required. And that time is soon.

The E-Class range scored the maximum five-star ANCAP safety rating when crash tested in 2016.

Ownership

BMW 440i7/10

As with all BMW models, the 4 Series comes with a three-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty with three years of roadside assistance, both of which are two years short of the premium standard now set by Mercedes-Benz.

The 440i coupe’s service intervals are every 12 months or 15,000km, whichever comes first. Owners can opt for a $1650 five-year/80,000km capped-price servicing plan, which is well-priced.


Mercedes-Benz E 4007/10

Expect the usual three-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty, with service intervals pegged at 12 months or 25,000km. Mercedes' capped-price servicing scheme limits maintenance costs to $2280 for the first three years of ownership.