2022 BMW M440i Gran Coupe Review: Grand touring snow bunny

No automotive design choice in recent memory has been more controversial than that of BMW’s enlarging kidney grille. From what was once understated and attractive to today’s swollen, nose-consuming nostrils, the styling has been discussed endlessly which, if nothing else, was good for marketing and press. I’m one of those who cowered in fear at the sight of the “Beaver Teef” and still do, but I’m happy to report that the 2022 BMW M440i Gran Coupe is a mostly very good automobile.

A bomb cyclone bore down on the east coast hours before departing on a 200 mile drive. A quick look at the forecast indicated an impending test of this car’s road trip chops as well as its snow-going ability. The BMW that sat in my driveway was equipped with xDrive, the brand’s famous all-wheel-drive system. Pirelli Sottozero winter tires were wrapped around the wheels. Suited for the task; ready to be driven.

BMW then, BMW now

BMWs have come a long way in their tumultuous past decade. Amidst much backlash for abandoning the brand’s roots, the German manufacturer has continued to churn out some excellent machines, usually branded with the ///M badge. They’re not the lightweight, nimble cars they used to be, yet they still shine. What about those that split the difference between standard fare and full-on performance monster? The M440i Gran Coupe seen here is one of those offerings.

We’ll sidestep the wacky naming scheme that has plagued BMW’s recent lineup. Instead, we look to what this car is, or rather what it isn’t. It’s not a true M car; rather, it’s a hatchback version of the 3 Series sedan. From there, it’s been outfitted with some go-fast goodies while retaining the traditional car’s inherent daily driver qualities. For 2022, the 4 Series is available as a coupe, convertible, or Gran Coupe like that seen here. Rather than a two-door, the third option is a four door with a sloping roofline.

We’ll stick to calling it a hatchback, but anyone will call it expensive. The M340i with which the M440i Gran Coupe shares its powertrain starts at $56,700. The hatchback-ified version that adds 100 to its name raises the base price to $58,200. That extra $1,500 goes purely to style. Consider that the G20 sedan boasts a mere 0.4 cubic feet of storage over the G26 Gran Coupe. We’ll leave the styling choice to you, but we know which we’d pick based purely on looks.

Still a BMW on the inside

Inside the M440i brings the same BMW goodness that we’ve come to expect of the brand. The seats are excellent despite the chip shortage-caused lack of power adjustment. If not for this, it would be an unforgivable sin at a car touting this example’s $68,620 as-tested price. Regardless, the seats are endlessly comfortable and easy to spend five hours in without pain or worry. The back seat is a little tight for larger people, as we expected more legroom from the size of the car, but this is the territory of the brand’s smaller rear-wheel-drive offerings in 2022.

Should you find yourself in the driver seat, it’s a happy place to spend quite a bit of time. The steering is precise despite being completely devoid of information. What was a big surprise is the powertrain. The M440i has a 3.0L twin-turbo 6-cylinder engine that adds BMW’s 48V eBoost mild hybrid system. Total horsepower is 382, and torque is 368 lb-ft. The powerband is endlessly usable and only at the very bottom is there a sense of lag. BMW cleverly programs the system to fill the gap in torque when the turbos aren’t spooled. It’s seamless around town and when passing from low RPM on the highway.

Deceptively qui

With this much power on tap, the M440i is decidedly quick: Some media outlets reported 0-60 times in the mid to high 4-second range. It’s effortless around town and getting up to speed. However, the excellent powertrain is devoid of sensation. The acceleration experience betrays the statistics by providing an underwhelming experience, not because of a lack of speed but because of how serene it is, how unbroken gear changes are, and how smooth the vehicle is as a whole.

There’s no real way to get a sense for how fast you’re going other than to look at the speedometer. Point steering wheel, plant foot, suddenly be rapidly accelerating. It’s bad news for those who like involvement, but great news for long-haul capability. The mild hybrid system and 8-speed gearbox meant we also achieved 30.6 MPG overall during our week with the car, and an excellent 31 MPG when using the EcoPro mode during our 220 mile trip home in single-digit temperatures with the seat heater cranking and a podcast emanating through the stereo.

Around town, the BMW displays more of the goodness we expect from luxury cars. The M440i Gran Coupe is nimble, easy to place, and easy to live with if a bit compromised by the frameless windows’ ability to withstand winter in the Northeast. At least the xDrive system is up to the task of coping with the elements. The aforementioned bomb cycle dumped around nine inches of fresh powder on the town in which we were staying overnight, enough to leave some roads unplowed while others were cleared but barely long enough to show pavement before more snow covered them. We went out in the BWM to explore its snow-going capability and came away thoroughly impressed.

xDrive is still xcellent (get it?)

Thanks to xDrive the M440i is truly capable, though we do wish for more control of the system. There’s a fine line between being in Normal/Comfort mode and Sport mode, the former meaning the traction and stability controls were working overtime and the latter reeling back the nannies but allowing for more steering with the throttle. We also weren’t huge fans of the Pirelli Sottozero’s behavior on hard pack. We did always come away from more questionable sections of the roadways whereas the same can’t be said for other vehicles on less snow-worthy tires. xDrive is solid as ever, and the M440i is, for the most part, a willing and able partner in fresh powder and deep snow alike.

The M440i is an odd proposition

It’s best to think of this car as a mild hybrid rather than a true ///M car. The downfall for some is the universally disliked grille. With snow across its radar cruise control plate it looks like some DeLorean-esque drugs were had. The best thing we can say about the styling is that you don’t have to look at the car when you’re behind the wheel, which is actually quite a decent place to be and to enjoy from a driving enthusiast’s perspective.

We wouldn’t call the M440i Gran Coupe particularly fun, but it’s still a good vehicle all-around. What it excels at is road tripping, maximizing efficiency, and feeling like a premium product. While those looking for a real ///M car are best suited looking elsewhere, the M440i Gran Coupe will please those looking for a BMW that’s quick and comfortable, even if we do prefer the sedan version.

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