derBayerische September/October 2021 - 18

T H E
This segment, now called " premium
sports coupe " , no longer has
domestic competitors. The last
domestic models were the shortlived
Cadillac CTS coupe and the
Cadillac ATS coupe. BMW,
Mercedes, and Audi are the segment
class leaders, with Lexus and Infiniti
(remember them?) providing token
offerings. Competing on a global
scale (e.g., China) no doubt helped
these OEMs justify their business
cases.
This second-generation 4 Series
proves that, to the BMW brain trust,
the 4 Series has earned its keep.
When launched, the first-generation
4 Gran Coupe was a bit of a surprise,
however it too seems to have earned
its keep; the next generation launches
in the second half of 2021. This
implies that the 3 Series and 4 Series
buyers neatly separate into two
distinct market segments, with minimal
cross-shopping.
I am surprised that no one has
noticed that Adrian Van Hooydonk
(BMW Group Head of Design) has a
propensity for hommage vehicle
design exercises. This linkĀ¹ presents
an outstanding review of the
" Hommage " concept vehicles developed
under Mr. van Hooydonk's
guidance. While shallow majority
car " critics " will not see past such a
bold design statement, more knowledgeable
ones should realize and
appreciate that the front-end design
of the 2021 4 Series seems to be an
homage to the 1930 Dixi roadster -
the first BMW to feature the famous
BMW dual kidney grille.
While the front-end design is
distinct, the balance of the M440i's
exterior design proudly exhibits
BMW's current exterior design
themes. Sensual curves replace the
past generation's flame surfacing.
The bold front-end design smoothly
flows to sensually flared front fenders,
which tapers to a sturdy midsection.
This mid-section then
blends with sensual rear wheel flares,
which neatly form a very nice boat
tail. Studying the rear designs of
both Porsche and BMW cars, it
18
makes one wonder about the amount
of cross-talk between the two design
groups. More likely, the BMW
exterior designers like the Porsche
exterior design theme so much that
they decided to incorporate it into the
current BMW exterior design
themes. But the missing Hofmeister
kink left us a bit puzzled.
The rear of the M440i incorporates
the aggressive, business-like
BMW corporate taillight design.
While some may say that the new 4
Series design is nothing more than a
scaled-down 8 Series (not a bad
thing), we would respectfully disagree.
There are more than enough
distinct features which allow the 4
Series design to justifiable stand on
its own.
(Top) We started the evening in San Francisco and kept driving south.
The driver's door opens wide to
reveal a very inviting cockpit. The
BMW enthusiast will eagerly enter
and instinctively adjust the driver's
seat, steering wheel, and mirrors to
their preference.
Stepping on the brakes and
pushing the center-console-located
start/stop button, the M440i's
turbocharged 382 horsepower and
369 pound-feet of torque 3.0-liter
six-cylinder engine awakens with a
satisfying snort, awakening the rest
of the vehicle, with both the instrument
panel and center screen
coming to life.
One then adjusts the heads-up
display to their preference. With the
foot still on the brake, one smooth
motion from the right hand shifts the
2 0 2 1
B M W M 4 4 0 i
M440i to drive, then deactivating the
parking brake.
If you're lucky, this will occur
during a rare, magical time when the
road is open and quiet. You then
point the M440i, step on the gas and
drive, even if you have no particular
place to go.
The initial driving impression
will put a smile on every driving
enthusiast's face. Because of the
legacy, pre-electronic-steering feel,
one will need to be reminded that the
2021 M440i has electric, not
hydraulic steering. The engine and
eight-speed automatic transmission
combine to yield smooth, predictable
power delivery, with the paddle
shifters giving the driver more control
while tackling tight, curvy roads.
The braking is smooth and predictable.
The 382 horsepower and
369 ft-lbs of torque from the
turbocharged inline six-cylinder
engine, the stiff chassis, and the
responsive, predictable handling
quickly reminds you that this is an
Ultimate Driving Machine.
Because we were in California,
we had places to go and people to
see. Our trek from Northern
California to Southern California and
back, using coastal routes as much
as possible, allowed us to get a very
good impression of the 2021 M440i.
Receiving the car at SFO, our
" get acquainted " drive was to the
Presidio, passing by Fort Mason to
Ghirardelli Square, to Chinatown via
Lombard Street, over the Golden
Gate, then on back roads to
Sacramento.
No trip to San Francisco is
complete without having a photo
with the Golden Gate bridge in the
background. We're pleased to tell
you that our friends at BMW AG and
BMW NA who received this photo
were both surprised and delighted.
After getting a feel of the
(Above) The Dixi Roadster - the First BMW to use the famous dual-kidney grill.
M440i's driving dynamics (learning
the shift points, the feel of the brakes,
the responsiveness of the accelerator,
the steering feel, the chassis
dynamics on curves) we quickly
gained confidence in our ability to
derBayerische
https://www.topgear.com/car-news/classic/here-are-bmws-hommage-cars-in-italy#5

derBayerische September/October 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of derBayerische September/October 2021

derBayerische September/October 2021 - Intro
derBayerische September/October 2021 - Cover1
derBayerische September/October 2021 - Cover2
derBayerische September/October 2021 - 1
derBayerische September/October 2021 - 2
derBayerische September/October 2021 - 3
derBayerische September/October 2021 - 4
derBayerische September/October 2021 - 5
derBayerische September/October 2021 - 6
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derBayerische September/October 2021 - 33
derBayerische September/October 2021 - 34
derBayerische September/October 2021 - 35
derBayerische September/October 2021 - 36
derBayerische September/October 2021 - Cover3
derBayerische September/October 2021 - Cover4
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