More To Life Than A Pretty Face

More To Life Than A Pretty Face

Photo: Andy Kalmowitz I’m gonna get this out of the way right from the get-go.

Image for article titled The BMW M440i Gran Coupe Shows There Is More To Life Than A Pretty Face

Photo: Andy Kalmowitz

I’m gonna get this out of the way right from the get-go. You know the old saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover?” Well, that’s what I had to keep in mind when I first laid eyes on my 2022 BMW M440i Gran Coupe. I, like most of you I’m sure, am not a fan of the front end looks of the new 4 Series. But this bad boy proves that looks aren’t everything.

After all, when it comes to cars, looks really don’t matter. My take on the styling is irrelevant. It’s purely opinion based. If you like it, good on ya. If you don’t, good on ya, too. We here in the car community tend to be far too judgy of each other’s likes and dislikes; our brand choices, or styling preferences. Put all those aesthetic concerns aside, and you have one hell of a good car with the BMW M440i Gran Coupe.

Image for article titled The BMW M440i Gran Coupe Shows There Is More To Life Than A Pretty Face

Photo: Andy Kalmowitz

In the M440i Gran Coupe, BMW perhaps has created the most “everything for everyone” car ever. I mean, it just does everything quite well. It stops fast, it goes fast, it seats four(ish) comfortably, and it can keep itself straight down a highway. It is exactly what you come to expect from a BMW that costs as near as makes no difference $70,000.

Its biggest selling feature? My Grandma liked it.

My grandma is a really cool lady. She came to this country from France when she was just 17. Years later, she had my mom, who in turn had me. So, I owe her a lot. Over the weekend, I was at home house/dog sitting for my parents who were away. I got a call from my grandma asking if I wanted to go to an antique show/flea market in Wayne, New Jersey.

Image for article titled The BMW M440i Gran Coupe Shows There Is More To Life Than A Pretty Face

Photo: Andy Kalmowitz

I, being the amazing grandson that I am, obliged and took Marie to the antique show. She is big into doll collecting. Think Mercedes Streeter’s love of Smart — that’s how my grandma is with dolls. She loves them, and she always knows how to find a good deal.

I loaded her up in the front passenger seat (which was manual due to an ordering mistake by BMW corporate; a rep told me that customer cars will have electric seats). She said she really liked it, but it was a bit low, and the seats were a bit cramped. She has a point: the M440i is pretty low, and there is a big sill to climb over on the way in. The sports seats, while very good at holding you in around the twisties, can be a bit cramped if you’re using the car for everyday driving. That’s especially true if you have big birthing hips like I do.

Image for article titled The BMW M440i Gran Coupe Shows There Is More To Life Than A Pretty Face

Photo: Andy Kalmowitz

So, we head off to Wayne. It’s about a 25-minute drive from her home in REDACTED, New Jersey. As I fired up the car, my grandma noticed that was a bit loud.

“Well,” I said to Grandma, “check this out.”

I flicked the car from my Sport Individual mode to Eco Pro mode, and the whole thing quieted down.

“Much better. Feels luxurious,” she said to me. For reference, her car is a 2004 Chrysler Town & Country that I said I wanted to own one day when she bought it new.

As we merged onto the highway, I once again said “Grandma watch this” (which is never something you should say to your grandma.) I flicked the car into Sport Plus and mashed the throttle. We blistered to 60 mph in four-and-a-bit seconds with the help of xDrive all wheel drive.

Let’s just say she wasn’t thrilled.

But man, oh man, I certainly was. BMW says this car makes a bit over 380 horsepower. There’s just no way. It weighs over 4,100 pounds and takes off like a piss missile the second you stomp on the gas. I would be amazed if this thing wasn’t making 450 horsepower at the crank. I can’t confirm that because I don’t have a dyno, but my butt dyno tells me my feelings must be true. I trust my butt.

Image for article titled The BMW M440i Gran Coupe Shows There Is More To Life Than A Pretty Face

Photo: Andy Kalmowitz

My grandma didn’t love the outside of the M440i, but that doesn’t really matter since it’s all subjective, but she did like the interior a lot — and that does matter, since that’s where we spend the most time. Her favorite part was the terracotta red color throughout the interior.

I’ve spent a lot of time in BMWs, between my Z4 and my mom’s X3 I know them pretty much inside and out. They really just know how to make interiors nice and intuitive, for young or old people.

It has all the modern luxuries you’d imagine: ambient lighting (that isn’t too bright), a color head up display, digital gauges (which are disappointingly not very customizable), and barely any piano black plastic. BMW’s iDrive is about as good as factory infotainment gets. You can just tell the engineers in Munich really took their time when developing the cabin of this car. It’s an evolution rather than revolution of past BMW interiors – and that is how I like it.

Image for article titled The BMW M440i Gran Coupe Shows There Is More To Life Than A Pretty Face

Photo: Andy Kalmowitz

Everything is where you’d expect it to be, and it’s easy to navigate. A big bonus is the fact that the climate control can be used without ever interfacing with the screen. That’s super nice. That’s the way it should be.

By the way, that screen can be controlled by either the iDrive control wheel on the center console or via the touchscreen. I’m more of a knob guy, but it’s nice to have the option, especially when using Apple CarPlay, since it was designed with touchscreens in mind.

The most important thing to know about the M440i GC’s interior? They put a piece of padded leather on the dashboard where your right knee hits it. God bless them for that. Take notes, Jeep and Mazda.

Image for article titled The BMW M440i Gran Coupe Shows There Is More To Life Than A Pretty Face

Photo: Andy Kalmowitz

Outside, the car isn’t particularly wide, but it is long — but even though it’s long, the back seat really doesn’t have that much room in it. My grandma agreed and didn’t even try to sit back there. I’m 6’1″ and tried sitting in the back with the front seat left at my seating position, and I could barely fit. At one point over the weekend I put my friend Pat in the back. He’s only 5’6” but he still struggled to fit comfortably.

While the rear 3/4 view is where the M440i GC shines (if you ignore the piano black cladding around the exhaust tips), it does rob some interior practically… until you get to the trunk. It’s massive. You could easily fit 100,000 marbles back there without much of an issue. In fact, the truck is so big you wonder why they made the rear seat so small. Who needs that much trunk space if they’re not putting anyone in the back seat?

Image for article titled The BMW M440i Gran Coupe Shows There Is More To Life Than A Pretty Face

Photo: Andy Kalmowitz

This M440i GC competes mainly with the Audi A5 Sportback, which means it also has a hatch! How bitchin’ is that? I love it, and while it didn’t exactly come in handy at the flea market (she bought a doll, and I bought a really cool 1990s Marlboro hat), I knew that if we wanted a bigger item, we’d have plenty of room for it.

“But,” you yell, “this is a BMW! How does it drive!?”

Well, reader, it drives good enough to literally make me carsick on Bear Mountain. For those who don’t know, Bear Mountain is one of the few twisty roads in the New York Metro area. This thing squirts out of corners like few other cars that weigh this much. Steering isn’t the most communicative — but unless you’re a professional driver, you really cannot tell (I am not a professional driver).

Image for article titled The BMW M440i Gran Coupe Shows There Is More To Life Than A Pretty Face

Photo: Andy Kalmowitz

While it’s athletic enough in the corners, highway bombing is where the M440i GC shines. It doesn’t matter the speed; you can pass anyone. It makes you drive like a BMW driver, and you can make of that what you will.

Here’s another question: Should you buy one? And to that I say, “maybe.” There’s no getting around the fact the M440i GC is a compromised vehicle. Part sedan, part hatch, part sport, part luxury, part grand tourer. It’s hard to mix all that together and not have to make a few sacrifices. But at the end of the day, it really does come as close to a cohesive package as something like this can, and that’s about all you can ask for.

The BMW M440i Gran Coupe isn’t perfect, but neither am I. And despite that, my Grandma still loves both.