Behind the Wheel

2021 BMW M440i Review: All the dynamics you crave, but ugh, that face

The 2021 BMW 4 Series has the drive dynamics BMW enthusiasts will love.

Photo courtesy of BMW

A lot has been said about the looks of the 2021 BMW 4 Series. At its absolute worst, the car is a sleek-bodied rabbit. At its best, it's a dynamic driver that doesn't look as bad if you choose colors and packages that make the grille blend in with the body a bit. Either way, the 2021 BMW M440i is a good drive.

With a starting price of $58,500, the all-wheel drive version of the M440i is solidly in the luxury category. It has more generous proportions than its predecessor but as a coupe, the parts that truly matter are the cargo space and the head- and legroom for front seat passengers. Both are excellent.

The M440i is the upgraded version of the 4 Series that slots between the traditional 430i and 430i xDrive. As such, it has BMW's twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder under the hood that's capable of reaching 382 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. The car can get from zero to 60 is a zippy 4.3 seconds in a smooth fashion, which handy when you're working your way between highway lanes trying to get around snowbirds that don't use turn signals on Florida's highways.

2021 BMW 4 Series The car delivers pointed handling on highways, back roads, and city streets.Photo courtesy of BMW

The car has mild-hybrid technology, an engineering achievement that puts connects a 48-volt battery with the rest of the powertrain to give drivers immediate access to power off the line while saving on fuel. BMW traditionally does a great job seamlessly implementing this tech and the M440i is no exception.

BMW loaded up the model used for the test run with nearly $13,000 in extras - the paint job alone was near an additional $2,000. That numbers includes a few packages. The Drivers Assistance Professional Package ($1,700) gets a buyer traffic jam assist and Driving Assistant Pro technology. The $3,700 Executive Package adds a lot of the things you'd think would already come standard on a $50,000+ vehicle like heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, ambient lighting, a head-up display, and upgraded headlights.

The M Adaptive Suspension ($700) nicely balanced the car's on-road prowess, agility, and bump absorption. The upgraded disc brakes worked steadily without feeling grabby allowing the accelerator to be put close to the floor with confidence. Steering was, as BMW so often executes in its sedans, pointed and connected, a formula that aids in the enjoyment of time behind the wheel.

2021 BMW 4 Series This model features BMW's signature cognac leather interior.Photo courtesy of BMW

BMW is really good at designing one-size-fits-all solutions for the cabins of their vehicles and the M440i is no exception. While it creates an annoying feeling of sameness, it does allow the car's buttons, dials, switches, and knobs to nearly always be found in the same place. It's a little like coming home from vacation and standing in your own kitchen and knowing where all the dishes are without having to open multiple cabinets.

At the center of the dash is a 10.25-inch touch screen while a fully digital 12.3-inch instrument cluster sits in front of the driver. The BMW infotainment system is pretty responsive. Whether or not you like the rotary controller is a personal preference thing, but putting biases aside, it's hard to complain about how much easier it is to use than the Lexus touch pad. There is a downside, however. The font and layout choices on the instrument panel look like they were chosen by elementary school children. Huge numbers and sweeping black space take some getting used to. After about 300 miles, I still wasn't used to it.

The sameness factor carries over to the M440i's safety systems where the adaptive cruise control tech's insistence that a passing road sign is the correct speed you should be going is enough to cause frustration at best, and at the worst, a rapid slow down that could endanger those around you and yourself.

2021 BMW 4 Series The 2021 BMW 4 Series carries over typical BMW design into the cabin.Photo courtesy of BMW

The 2021 BMW M440i xDrive Coupe is a good car, with plenty of caveats that keep it from being great car. It's a vehicle for people who really want to drive it and don't mind the way it looks because they don't see that angle on a regular basis.

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European sports sedan

Grab this 2000 BMW M5 before someone else does

Classic good looks and a rowdy V8 are the story here.

Bring a Trailer

We could spend all day bemoaning the rise of car auction sites and their impact on prices, but that won't do any good. The damage has been done. Of course, there are exceptions to the sky-high pricing we typically see on auction sites, and some cars are worth the money. This 2000 BMW M5 is one of them, and its current auction bid of just $15,250 makes us think it could go for a decent price.

The E39 M5 is one of the most legendary and sought-aftersports sedans of all time. Its 4.9-liter V8 produced 394 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque when it was new, which isn't all that crazy by today's standards, but an almost 400-horsepower family car was a big deal at the time. That magical engine is paired with a six-speed manual transmission and rear-wheel drive – an enthusiast's dream recipe.


2000 BMW M5 This car is in great shape for its age.Bring a Trailer


Inside, this car's tan leather upholstery looks great, and matches well with its black exterior. The seller has kept mods to a minimum, with just a set of aftermarket headlights on the list of changes. The car's original navigation system and head unit appear to be in place and the entire package is so well preserved it's amazing that the car hasn't drawn more interest so far.

Where this M5 will end up is anybody's guess. These cars are particularly difficult to find in any condition that could be called drivable, so this car's relatively low $15,000 current bid amount is surprising. Commentors on this auction are just as surprised as we are, and are asking where the love has gone for this M5. Of course, someone could swoop in at the last moment and start a bidding war, and with a full day left on the clock there's plenty of time for some action.


2000 BMW M5 The tan leather is nearly perfect.Bring a Trailer

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Updated crossovers

BMW Announces Updates for 2022 X3 and X4

The X3 and X4 get meaningful updates for 2022.

BMW

European luxury brands have fully embraced the SUV and crossover craze. Mercedes-Benz, Audi, and BMW have all drastically increased their utility vehicle catalogs in recent years, but haven't forgotten fun and drivability along the way. BMW in particular offers several models, each of which can be had in high-performance variants or with performance options packages. Two, the X3 and X4, will receive meaningful updates for the 2022 model year, with new powertrain tech and upgraded standard features.

The standard vehicles will be powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 248 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. All X3 and X4 models will get an eight-speed automatic transmission, and most will get standard all-wheel drive. Only the base X3 sDrive model will miss out. Both the X3 and X4 will be available with a Dynamic Handling Package, along with various steering and suspension upgrades. A Performance Control feature will be available for X3 models equipped with the M Sport package and standard for all X4 models, which brings the ability to shift torque to the rear wheels for better traction.


2022 BMW X4 Because of its sloping roof, BMW calls the X4 a coupe.BMW


Both the X3 and X4 will also be available in performance-oriented forms. The M40i models will be powered by a twin-turbo 3.0-liter inline-six engine that produces 382 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. BMW says the engine is powerful enough to propel the crossovers to 60 mph from a standstill in just 4.4 seconds and on to a stop speed of either 130 or 155 mph, depending on the tire.

BMW's Live Cockpit Plus system is standard for the X3, which includes a 10.25-inch infotainment touchscreen and a 5.1-inch color display in the center of a traditional gauge cluster. X4 models and upgraded X3 models will get a digital gauge cluster that measures 12.3 inches, along with a 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system. Called Live Cockpit Professional, the system is based on BMW's latest iDrive 7.0 software and can display information such as maps and vehicle data directly in front of the driver. BMW says that iDrive 7.0 allows the vehicles to be updated over-the-air to add new digital services and keep vehicle systems running properly.


2022 BMW X4 Both the X3 and X4 will be available in high-peformance M models.BMW


If you're hoping to get ahold of the new X3 or X4, production will begin in August 2021 at BMW's Spartanburg, SC facility. Pricing will begin at $43,700 for the X3 and $51,800 for the X4. Both vehicles will be subject to a $995 destination charge and taxes.

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