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Is There More To the 2021 BMW M440i Than Just Its Looks?

The 2021 4 Series’ appearance has certainly caused a stir amongst BMW’s fans and critics alike. However, while the looks may be controversial, at least on the high-performance M4, they’re functional. And if the M4 is a bit too hardcore, there’s also an M Performance model: the 2021 BMW M440i xDrive. But just because a BMW has an M in its name doesn’t mean it drives better than the competition. That’s why the YouTube team Throttle House wanted to see what the M440i is like.

What does the 2021 BMW M440i xDrive offer in terms of performance and features?

Dark blue 2020 BMW M340i xDrive sedan
2020 BMW M340i xDrive | BMW

Under the skin, the 2021 BMW 4 Series is almost identical to the 3 Series, Car and Driver reports. It has less rear headroom, due to its coupe roofline, and less trunk space. However, it’s also longer than the 3 Series, Automobile reports, and has a lower center of gravity, Car and Driver reports. The latter impacts its driving behavior—but we’ll get to that shortly.

The front 3/4 view of a blue 2021 BMW M440i xDrive
2021 BMW M440i xDrive front 3/4 | BMW

The 2021 BMW 4 Series, M440i xDrive included, also shares its powertrains with the 3 Series, The Drive reports. The M440i xDrive has a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6, which is also found in the 2021 Toyota Supra 3.0 and M340i. It makes 382 hp and 369 lb-ft and is linked with an 8-speed automatic and standard all-wheel drive.

However, in the M440i, it’s paired with a 48-volt mild-hybrid system. It smooths the stop-start function and adds 11 horsepower during acceleration, Road & Track reports. Combined with AWD, the 2021 BMW M440i xDrive goes 0-60 mph in 4.3 seconds. At least, that’s the official rating. Car and Driver recorded a 0-60 mph time of 3.8 seconds with the RWD M340i.

The rear view of a blue 2021 BMW M440i xDrive driving on a highland road
2021 BMW M440i xDrive rear 3/4 | BMW

The 2021 BMW M440i xDrive offers more performance and luxury features besides the updated powertrain, though. It has sportier suspension and steering, an electronically-controlled limited-slip differential, and M Sport brakes. Adaptive dampers, as well as an extra oil cooler and cooling fan, are available as options.

The 2021 BMW M440i xDrive's front seats and dashboard
2021 BMW M440i xDrive front interior | BMW

Inside, the M440i has sport seats, a standard 8.8” touchscreen, navigation, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. There are larger touchscreens available, as well as heated and ventilated seats, a heads-up display, and a Harman-Kardon audio system. However, the M440i has several ADAS features as standard, including adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, lane-departure warning, and automatic emergency braking.

The 2021 BMW M440i xDrive is a true “Jekyll-and-Hyde” car, Throttle House says

The 2021 BMW M340i has proven to be a “return closer to form,” R&T reports. Car and Driver reports the sedan’s platform and suspension are noticeably better than in the previous-gen model. And it’s managed to beat both the Genesis G70 and Alfa Romeo Giulia in Car and Driver’s recent comparisons.

But what about the 2021 BMW M440i xDrive? Overall, if you don’t mind the grille, there’s a lot to like, Throttle House reports.

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The adaptive suspension is sharp in Sport Mode, but never harsh; and in Comfort Mode, it’s perfectly comfortable. The seats are too. And speaking of the interior, the materials all feel substantial and high-quality.

The 2021 BMW 4 Series' tan leather front and rear seats
2021 BMW 4 Series seats | BMW

Despite its weight, the 2021 BMW M440i xDrive is almost as fast as the previous-gen M4. The mild-hybrid system is basically imperceptive, which also translates to a smooth stop-start system. The powertrain as a whole is incredibly smooth, with an appreciably-quick, if not supercar-fast transmission. And the AWD, which has M Performance-specific tuning, gives plenty of grip, even on rainy streets. That’s further helped by the M440i’s 50:50 front-to-rear weight distribution.

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As Throttle House puts it, the 2021 BMW M440i xDrive is a “Jekyll and Hyde” kind of car. It’s sporty when you want it to be, and a subdued luxury commuter when you don’t.

Where does it fall flat?

However, the performance and comfort come with a price. And not just in the sense of the literal $58,500 base price.

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For one, the steering is still fairly numb, if much-improved over the previous-gen version. And two, the M440i’s chassis may arguably be a bit too well insulated. With the AWD and the differential, it’s easy to control the coupe, but it’s hard to sense when the rear end breaks loose. In short, the car is competent but not quite as communicative as some of its rivals.

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True, you may never drive it to that extent. But in that case, why get the M Performance model? Car and Driver reports the Genesis G70 “does nearly everything as well as the BMW,” but it costs noticeably less. Though admittedly, the 4 Series has a more premium-feeling interior.

Ultimately, though, the 2021 BMW M440i xDrive is a genuinely good sports sedan that’s well worth a look. As for the grille, design is always in the eye of the beholder.

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