2021 BMW M440i Convertible review: An engaging cruiser

The styling of the front of this car is slightly softer than on the BMW M3 and M4. Do you like it more?

Craig Cole / Roadshow

Unless it’s something grand like a Rolls-Royce Dawn, I’m not a big fan of convertibles. The added glare of the top-down guide hurts my eyes; I don’t like getting burned or having the wind ruffle my tousled hair; furthermore, these cars are often noticeably more rickety than their fixed roof counterparts. But the 2021 BMW M440i Convertible is compelling enough to make even droptop haters like me think twice.

Like it

  • Impressive sophistication
  • Strong acceleration
  • Silky inline-six

I do not like

  • Uneven braking at low speed
  • iDrive 7 could be simpler.
  • Cheeky front

Of course, the main attraction of this car is the feature that most clearly separates it from the 4 series coupe, is its folding canvas roof. This is a new addition that replaces the hardtop of the previous convertible. The redesigned assembly is about 40% lighter than before, which helps lower the center of gravity, although it also provides a bit more headroom inside. The transition of the M440i from closed car to outdoor cruiser (or vice versa) happens in just 18 seconds, which you can do at speeds of up to 50km / h.

Keeping the M440i’s interior study room quiet, even at highway speeds, its folding top features a recessed rear window and multiple layers of insulation. In addition, the intake system, engine cover and underbody have been optimized to minimize the ruckus. The outer fabric top is offered in two colors, basic black and Moonlight Black, the latter of which has a metallic shimmer.

Two engines are offered in the 4 Series convertible and each is available with rear or all-wheel drive. A 2.0-liter turbo-four motivates the 430i models, although M440i variants like my tester feature a spicy 3.0-liter I6 turbo. To be sure, the base engine’s 255 horsepower is probably more than enough, but it’s impossible to argue with the optional six’s 382 hp and 369 pound-foot of torque, which is routed to the floor via a crafty eight-eight automatic transmission. speed. This combination can propel the M440i to 60 mph in 5 seconds flat, an impressive sprint time, even if it looks even faster than that. Depending on the wheel and tire combination, terminal speed is 130mph or 155mph, although with the top down both are likely fast enough to pull out the hair thorns. I already have enough exposed scalp to try it.

Making that top-of-the-line engine even more heady is its silver-tongued exhaust note and incredible refinement. From idle to red line, the thing is smoother than hand lotion, transmitting virtually zero vibrations to the cabin. Aiding performance and fuel economy, this straight-six is ​​powered by a 48-volt electrical system, which also helps smooth out stop-start events, making them barely noticeable. At lower speeds, the engine also shuts down and the M440i slips, which is great, but with no load on the transmission it changes the feel of the brake pedal, making it a bit of a challenge to stop smoothly at times. The M440i is equipped with M sport brakes, including four-piston front and single-piston rear calipers, and this configuration offers incredible stopping performance for everyday use on the road.

This 3.0-liter turbo-I6 is a real treasure, loud, sonorous and virtually as smooth as an electric motor.

Craig Cole / Roadshow

I’m almost ashamed to admit it, but I actually prefer the M440i convertible to the BMW M4 from 2021. The car is still extremely fast and engaging without the maniacal, seething feel of its overcooked sister. The front end of this droptop, although still in abundance, let’s just say distinctive – is less obtrusive than what is fitted to the M3 sedan and M4 coupe. The front fascia is smoother and less pronounced around the top of the kidney grilles and the titanium accents (Cerium Gray in BMW slang) look good, especially alongside the deep Tanzanite Blue II Metallic paint of this example, which is a $ 1,950 option.

The steering of the M440i is quick and precise and, for improved maneuverability, the 4 Series convertible can be equipped with an adaptive M suspension system, which includes stepless damping adjustment on each wheel. But even with the stock risers, this car is fun to drive, achieving an excellent balance between sport and fluidity. The M440i examples are also equipped with an M sport differential, which equalizes the torque between the left and right rear wheels for better traction. This feature is optional on the less powerful 430i.

Whether the top is on top or bottom, this Bimmer feels extraordinarily sturdy. Structural tremors and wobbles are barely noticeable, even when driving on a moon-cratered pavement, which is one of my main complaints about convertibles. Fold the roof down to bask in Mother Nature’s glory and the M440i offers a serene driving experience and a purring exhaust note that is pleasantly pronounced without being intrusive. Wind noise and buffeting are also well attenuated.

BMW M440i convertible from 2021

The interior of the 2021 BMW M440i Convertible is light and airy, even adequately (if not overwhelmingly) luxurious.

Craig Cole / Roadshow

Even if you drive with a sharp edge, the M440i behaves with dignity and restraint. This impressive refinement makes the car a bit gimmicky, as you always go faster than you think. Fortunately, all this speed has little impact on fuel economy. The M440i stickers at 23 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway. Combined, it’s rated at 26mpg, although in mixed use I averaged 28 and gearbox, damn impressive performance for such a powerful and nasty car (it’s, after all, 4,171lbs of Bavarian goodness).

Take a seat behind the wheel and this BMW pampers you with a suitably luxurious interior. This cabin doesn’t make me crazy, but everything is sensibly structured, the leather is of good quality and there are a lot of soft materials. The front bucket seats are comfortable enough, and the rear seat, while not offering extended legroom, is still plenty of room for adult passengers.

The 4 Series Convertible comes standard with an 8.8-inch center touchscreen and 5.1-inch instrument cluster display. Live Cockpit Professional, which is offered as a standalone extra or bundled in several option packs, upgrades the main screen to a 10.3-inch and the instrument cluster to a 12.3-inch panel. The former houses iDrive 7, an incredibly fast but somewhat clunky infotainment system. It is certainly not one of the easiest systems to understand, but once you are familiar with it it works quite well. If you don’t feel like learning a new system, Apple CarPlay is Android Auto both are standard and, for added convenience, any smartphone mirroring system can connect to the car wirelessly.

This M440i Convertible is ready for fun in the sun.

Craig Cole / Roadshow

Other standard technologies include lane departure warning with steering correction, front collision warning, blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic warning. Super automatic high beams are also included at no extra cost. Unfortunately, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go functionality and traffic jam assistance as well as a 360-degree camera system and automatic parking capability come at an additional cost.

When it comes to dollars and cents, 2021 BMW M440i The convertible starts at around $ 65,000, including $ 995 in destination taxes, which is about 11,000 richer than an entry level 430i ragtop. With the $ 3,700 Executive package, the $ 1,300 Dynamic Handling package, a $ 875 Harman Kardon sound system, and a few other accessories, this example is available for $ 74,870.

With its silky six-cylinder engine, solid feel and crisp yet refined dynamics, the M440i is a good luxury car and an excellent convertible. Although I still prefer closed vehicles, this BMW with sunroof makes me smile almost every time I drive it, a monumental achievement.

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