2021 BMW M440i Gran Coupe Review: Gran Entrance

2021 BMW M440i Gran Coupe review Singapore

BMW’s most powerful version of its coupe-ish fastback the M440i Gran Coupe is an impressive mix of sporty ability and practicality, even in Singapore

SINGAPORE – BMW’s 4 Series Gran Coupe is now in its second-iteration and all the better for it, as the range-topping M440i model firmly proves. 

The new 4er Gran Coupe (4 GC) debuted in Singapore last week – full details in our launch story as usual – with a 420i, 430i, and this the most powerful model here, the M440i. 

The 4 GC debut means the 4 Series family is now here in its full glory – coupe, convertible, and Gran Coupe. ‘Gran Coupe’ is BMW’s term for a four-door coupe, and it now has GC offerings for every budget from the small 2 Series GC, to the luxury GT 8 Series Gran Coupe.

If you’re wondering, the 6 Series is now no longer a coupe-like thing but more of a semi-estate/wagony/thingy/thing. 

The BMW 4 Series line-up

The new 4 Series family kicked off last year with the 4 Series Coupe debuting the big talking point: the huge ‘nose’, aka tall kidney grille. That aside, we hailed the 420i Coupe as a great return to driving form, while the 430i Convertible  preserves that mixed with alfresco motoring. At the top of the rung, the mad-fast M4 Competition  also shows its capable of more than just muscling around Singapore. Oh and the all-electric i4 (in Gran Coupe shape) is coming next year.

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Design and appearance

2021 BMW M440i Gran Coupe review Singapore

The 4 GC looks like a Gran Coupe should thanks to its flat door handles, smaller, frameless windows, and fastback rear smoothing out the sedan three-box shape, but the interesting thing is that it’s slightly longer and wider (like a few centimetres) than a 3 Series – but still the same height (1,442mm). The previous 4 GC was considerably less tall at 1,389mm, which meant for less interior space.

That the new car doesn’t look stodgy is all car designer trickery at work – one such feat of visual acrobatics is the dark cutout between the wheels, making an hourglass figure. 

2021 BMW M440i Gran Coupe review Singapore

But the biggest magic trick is drawing attention away from what you don’t want the audience to see, and here it’s the nose, what else? We’re thoroughly used to the tall kidney grille now, and the 4 Series GC looks louder and prouder for it. Four-door coupes are for people who want sedans that aren’t actually called sedans and look more exciting, so the loud n’ proud ethos should work well for the target audience. Contrast: The 3 Series doesn’t get this grille, M3 aside, not even the M340i. 

And to speak of the M340i, that’s the car which is most closely related to the M440i. Like the M340i, the M440i is decked out with the default M Sport appearance – compare it to the Convertible behind for example – but with some extras.

2021 BMW M440i Gran Coupe review Singapore

Cerium Grey, BMW’s term for satinised chrome with a slight copper hue, is used on the grille/foglight surrounds, and it’s also present on the wing mirrors (which are slightly M-ified with a presumably aero-tweaked shape). The M440i also has 19-inch wheels framing larger discs and red M Sport Brake callipers, a blacked-out rear diffuser, and trapezoidal exhausts. 

2021 BMW M440i Gran Coupe review Singapore

Interior and space 

2021 BMW M440i Gran Coupe review Singapore

Inside, the cockpit’s the familiar one that debuted on the 3 Series: 12.3-inch driver’s display and 10.25-inch infotainment system, the latter controlled by touch, iDrive controller, or your voice commands. It’s more intricate (or busy, depending on how you see it) than an Audi, but less obviously flashy than a Mercedes-Benz’s.

2021 BMW M440i Gran Coupe review Singapore

As the range-topping semi-M, M-touches include sport seats, striped seatbelts, model name door sill plates, the fat steering wheel, and a dark roof headliner.  Nice-to-haves include a wireless smartphone charger and a Harman Kardon surround sound system. 

Modern BMWs can pull off some pretty impressive tech feats – like finding you a restaurant

2021 BMW M440i Gran Coupe review Singapore

The interior is pretty much a replay of the 3 Series up to the C-pillar, anyway. Legroom and headroom are decent, there’s more space for wacky hairdos now (remember what we said about the car’s height?) and it feels on par with the 3 Series here.

2021 BMW M440i Gran Coupe review Singapore

Where it gets the edge is the boot – it has 10-litres less space than the 3er (but 39-litres more than before) at 470-litres, but the fastback hatch opens up to a wide, easy-to-load cargo area that will definitely be much easier to throw bulky items into. There’s no remote seat release in the boot, but the tailgate is automatic at least.

Continue to page 2: Driving experience and how the M440i stacks up against Audi and Mercedes

about the author

Derryn Wong
CarBuyer's chief editor has a keen interest in all things mechanical, technological, animal and mineral. He's particularly fascinated by eco-cars and cars which make no logical sense. An avid motorcyclist and photographer, he also enjoys cats. Follow him on Instagram @werryndong