This might just be the best 6 Series BMW has ever made. That’s the recurring thought I had during my recent test of the all new BMW M440i convertible. Low-slung, comfortable and incredibly capable, this is everything you’ve ever wanted in a 6 Series. In fact it almost feels like this new 4 Series has more direct lineage to the classic BMW big coupes of the past than the current crop of 8 Series models. But what’s it like to live with? And can the new BMW M440i convertible live up to that history?
The short answer is kind of. The 2022 BMW M440i xDrive Convertible is a reinterpretation of the GT car for a new era. Having driven every big BMW Coupe from the 3.0 CSL to the current M8, this M440i represents the perfect middle ground between luxury GT and driver oriented Coupe. It is the sweet spot that the previous generation never quite achieved.
Starting with the 382 hp turbocharged inline six, BMW M has lightly warmed over the standard 4 Series convertible with larger brakes, retuned suspension and a few aero bits. The result is a car that’s much more livable than the new M4 yet plenty feisty when needed.
That well known combination of xDrive and 8 Speed ZF automatic makes the BMW M440i xDrive a bit less engaging but extends its ability immensely. Both are faultless and frankly suit the car well. While we’d love to see what a rear wheel drive version would feel like, xDrive remains almost entirely transparent in normal use. However our pro-tip would be to order the car without xDrive to save weight an increase feedback (granted you’ll want to make use of winter tires if you live in the snow belt).
Immediately noticeable is that 382 hp. It’s a perfect match for the car which has grown in just about every dimension – the most important one being weight. At 4,167 lbs the M440i is not a sports car. But the chassis design and suspension tuning that BMW has given the new 4 Series delivers a surprising amount of engagement. You won’t mistake it for a E46 but it feels more alive in hand than any 6 or 8 Series since the E24 from the 80s.
Comparing it to it’s predecessor you come away with the distinct impression that BMW took to heart all lack of feedback critique it received. While this doesn’t quite feel like a true M product, there’s enough driver feedback and engagement to full-fill its GT car aspirations.
The Best Looking 4 Series?
With this more generation of 4 Series Convertible BMW has gone back to the softop shedding weight and changing the look of the car. To our eyes it’s not only more successful than the previous roof but it looks dramatically better than the standard 4 Series Coupe. The new hardtop coupe features a fastback design that eliminates several design traits BMWs have been known for since the 60’s. While we don’t mind progress, the result is a shape that feel generic and frankly forgettable. This convertible version restores that classic three-box layout that marks it out as a BMW.
The top itself was faultless. It can open and close at speed under 30 mph and is both quicker to operate and quieter than the previous hardtop 4 Series convertible. Our test car was even fitted with the optional $250 Moonlight Grey top. The result is a slightly shimmering finish that almost looks like denim – worth the money in our book.
The grille? Yes it’s still ridiculous but it grew on us over the course of a week staring at it. While we’d have ours in black, the presence of it wouldn’t alone steer us away from a M440i convertible. And who knows what a few months of staring at it might do. We might actually end up forgetting about it entirely.
The M440i features the now well know iDrive 7 with the full digital cluster. While it’s not the new dramatic iDrive 8 in the iX and new i4, it is an industry leading system that does everything you could want including CarPlay and Android Auto. Our test car had Adaptive Cruise allowing the M440i to have semi-autonomous driving (including lane changes) on the highway. Having a system that can follow the road, slow down for cars in front and even change lanes for you really does decrease the typical fatigue associated with road trips.
At a as test price of $74,670 it’s not a cheap car. But you have to consider the context. This new M440i feels more like a successor to the last 6 Series and in some ways more of an ode to the original BMW 3.0 CS from the 70’s.
Not all is perfect. There’s no manual, no rear wheel drive (at launch) and my lord is this a heavy two door. All of this serves to isolate the driving experience more than we’d want as enthusiasts. But then again you have to consider what this car is intended to do.
The BMW M440i is an excellent blend of its predecessors that ultimately finds a compelling middle ground between luxury GT and classic sports car. It has a presence that feels much more elevated and sophisticated than the previous 4 Series convertible yet is more rewarding and involving to drive. In short the 2021 BMW M440i Convertible has blended the best of the small 3 and 4 Series coupes with the elegance and comfort of its classic GT cars.