Coupe du jour: 2018 BMW 440 offers power, luxury

Two doors are sometimes better than four.

Coupes are a dying breed, as people find it annoying to have to slide the front seat forward to enter the back seat. It’s all part of our instant gratification, waste-no-time society we live in. I sound like a cranky old man with this rant. But I still do enjoy the look of a nice coupe.

The 2018 BMW 440 covers everything I enjoy about a car. It has a turbocharged engine. It’s small with outstanding handling. There are quality interior touchpoints and handsome looks. Sure, there are only two doors, but that is part of its charm.

The coupe styling flows well with the 440’s aesthetics. This car’s profile is aggressive and stylish, and the congruent design seems to flow perfectly with the two-door styling. The grille has that prototypical BMW look. The well-defined front end has a slightly tweaked appearance for this model year. Add in the M-sport package and there are aggressive features like 18-inch star-spoke tires and a slightly lower ground clearance.

The back side of the 440 is less stylish. Even with the M-sport package, it loses some of its sporty luster on the back end. As such, the car feels somewhat unfinished.

The BMW 4-series features three different engine options. The 440 coupe has a 3.0-liter twin turbocharged six-cylinder. This engine creates an impressive 320 horses offering tremendous performance and a quick off-the-line performance. The handling is outstanding and the overall driving dynamics are improved with four different driving modes. Even the “eco” mode feels peppy.

The 8-speed automatic transmission is one of the best transmissions I’ve experienced recently. Paddle shifters are available and will win over manual-transmission enthusiasts.

Inside, this coupe embraces its small stature, but gets the most out of it. First, it’s a four-passenger vehicle, meaning the back seat is perfectly comfortable for all size passengers. The slope of the roof doesn’t even detract from head room. The M-sport package brings racing-style seats to the car, but they’re actually quite comfortable and have 14-way adjustable seats. The M-sports extra touches include aluminum trim throughout, which already adds to the luxurious vibe of the 440.

The 440 has the largest trunk of all the 4-series, with 15.7 cubic feet of space. The rear seats can fold to further add to the useful cargo area.

An 8.8-inch touchscreen is beautiful and part of a well-designed and attractive center stack. However, BMW’s iDrive system lacks intuition and feels clunky and at times over-engineered. The technology found in this system is as good as you’ll find. Once you get the hang of the quirks of the system, you grow to appreciate it. There’s also integration with Apple and Android phones, which is new for this model year.

There is a plethora of options for the 4-series, which can be bewildering for the consumer. This is standard protocol for BMW, however. My tester had a base price of $48,700, but then with three special packages added, including the aforementioned M-sport, my tester had a final MSRP of $56,245.

This small sporty coupe surpasses the magical 30 mpg plateau, making it an attractive option for those who want power, performance and good fuel economy. The EPA rates the 440 at 21 mpg/city and 32 mpg/highway. I experimented with the various driving modes, including the ECO mode, and was able to average nearly 29 mpg in mixed driving (which I would define as heavy-footed in nature).

The number of doors doesn’t define the BMW 4-series. But as a coupe, the 2018 BMW 440i is outstanding. It’s a good combination of quality, modern looks and sporty performance – all in a neat, little coupe package.

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