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BMW 4 Series 2020 review: 440i coupe

The first-generation 440i coupe is an ageing veteran in its segment.
EXPERT RATING
7.5
It's hard to be competitive later in life, especially when the new kids on the block have newer tricks up their sleeves. But is BMW's first-generation 4 Series coupe a wily veteran that cannot be denied? We tested it in 440i form to find out.

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.

BMW 4 Series 2020: 440i
Safety rating
Engine Type3.0L turbo
Fuel TypePremium Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency6.8L/100km
Seating4 seats
Price from$99,900

Is there anything interesting about its design?   7/10

The first-generation 4 Series coupe has aged relatively well, despite sharing most of its design cues with the superseded sixth-generation 3 Series sedan.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

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.

Inside, the 4 Series coupe is clearly a generation behind most other new BMW models. Inside, the 4 Series coupe is clearly a generation behind most other new BMW models.

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.

How practical is the space inside?   7/10

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.

  • Cargo capacity is rated at 445 litre with the rear seats in place. Cargo capacity is rated at 445 litre with the rear seats in place.
  • The 440i coupe is surprisingly practical. The 440i coupe is surprisingly practical.
  • Stow the 60/40 split-fold rear bench and more storage space is quickly liberated. Stow the 60/40 split-fold rear bench 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 wireless smartphone charger is an optional extra that costs $200. The wireless smartphone charger is an optional extra that costs $200.

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.

Rear occupants can make use of a large storage tray that resides where a middle seat would otherwise go. Rear occupants can make use of a large storage tray that resides where a middle seat would otherwise go.

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.

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?   7/10

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.

The 440i coupe wears 19-inch alloy wheels. The 440i coupe wears 19-inch alloy wheels.

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.

The 8.8-inch touchscreen still runs BMW's iDrive6 system. The 8.8-inch touchscreen still runs BMW's iDrive6 system.

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?   9/10

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.

Under the bonnet is a 3.0-litre turbo in-line six-cylinder, which makes 240kW/450Nm. Under the bonnet is a 3.0-litre turbo in-line six-cylinder, which makes 240kW/450Nm.

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.

How much fuel does it consume?   8/10

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.

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?   7/10

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.

Warranty & Safety Rating

Basic Warranty

3 years / unlimited km warranty

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?   7/10

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.

What's it like to drive?   8/10

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.

Verdict

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.

Pricing guides

$95,550
Based on Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP)
Lowest Price
$69,900
Highest Price
$121,200

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
4 20i IND COLLECTION 2.0L, PULP, 6 SP MAN $90,900 2020 BMW 4 Series 2020 4 20i IND COLLECTION Pricing and Specs
4 20i LUXURY LINE 2.0L, PULP, 6 SP MAN $90,900 2020 BMW 4 Series 2020 4 20i LUXURY LINE Pricing and Specs
4 20i M SPORT 2.0L, PULP, 6 SP MAN $94,080 2020 BMW 4 Series 2020 4 20i M SPORT Pricing and Specs
4 30i IND COLLECTION 2.0L, PULP, 8 SP AUTO $101,200 2020 BMW 4 Series 2020 4 30i IND COLLECTION Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7.5
Design7
Practicality7
Price and features7
Engine & trans9
Fuel consumption8
Safety7
Ownership7
Driving8
Justin Hilliard
Deputy News Editor

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Pricing Guide

$99,900

Lowest price, based on new car retail price

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