Refresher course: Driving the BMW 440i Gran Coupe (LCI)

For those riding the current wave of renewed interest in classic cars and everything “old school” in general, it can be easy to dismiss just how fantastic modern day creations can be.

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This retrospective adoration is not only reserved for those sitting the blazing sun sipping their single-origin sourced cuppa of magic. It’s happening to everyone, your truly included.

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Having driven plenty of the latest mechanical marvels from Munich, there came a point when i thought everything felt rather similar and not in a very inspiring way. When i, began to judge a car even before turning a single corner. When i, once again, wanted to take the easy way out and overlook another very accomplished automobile from BMW.

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Of course, i’d then catch myself behaving like a automotive hipster douche and in order to give myself a quick ritual cleansing, grabbed the keys to BMW’s new 440i Gran Coupe.

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New, being the key word, is rather subjective, what the 440i really is, is the Life Cycle Impulse iteration of the brilliant 335i Gran Coupe, refreshed and renamed in BMW’s ever evolving game of nomenclature.

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Visually, there’s not much between this and the car that preceded it, the handsome don’t-you-wish-your-3-series-looked-like-this aesthetics remain, and while our car came with standard exterior trim, all future 440i Gran Coupe buyers will be blessed with the even better looking M-Sport kit.

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Where the big changes occur though, is under the bonnet. With an engine that has been reinvented and improved once again to create a new six-cylinder in-line unit with BMW TwinPower Turbo technology. Ladies and gentlemen, introducing the B58.

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While the 435i was no slouch on the roads, BMW has once again upped the power output generated from their 3-litre straight-six. Displacing 326hp in total, that’s 26hp over the old car, and the torques churned out by the B58 now read 450Nm. A full 50Nm more than before, and all coming in with just the lighted dabs of throttle at 1380rpm (through to 5000rpm).

While those numbers might sound a little alien to some, what it means is a 0-100kmh sprint in a very scant 5.1 seconds. So if you’ve started reading this paragraph in a 440i that’s in full flight, you’d be in serious license busting territory by now.

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Prodding some buttons next to the gear selector engages sport mode which stiffens up the chassis, sharpens the throttle response and most importantly, opens up the pipes on the rear exhaust, letting this new engine sing the song of its people. It’s a beautifully built power plant, smooth, eager to please and has a lovely straight-six burble that builds up quickly to a strong straight-six crescendo.

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As expected of a BMW, our 440i Gran Coupe soaks up every twisty road we throw at it, remaining tight and composed throughout with some slight understeer dialled in for those who dare venture into “unsociable” cornering speeds. The steering while feeling a little too light for our taste, starts sharp and direct. In sport mode, extra weight is added to the steering but doesn’t exactly increase feel, personally, i find that keeping the steering calibration in standard mode works better overall.

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It’s very hard to fault the 440i Gran Coupe, it looks good, it drives extremely well and you can pop in 4 full sized adults and their luggage easily. It still is, a very complete and accomplished automobile. Qualities that can help it capture the buying publics’ mind, but to capture their hearts, i guess that’s something we can only find out many many years later.

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