If you’ve been wondering what happened to the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe, worry not. After taking a sabbatical during the 2021 model year, the four-door version of the 4 Series line makes its return for 2022.
And, just like the coupe, it’s already stirring up controversy with its distinctive version of the classic BMW double-kidney grille. But, for those who can get past that quirky front end, the 4 Series Gran Coupe has plenty to recommend, starting with two additional doors that make it easier to clamber in and out of roomier rear seats.
Several different versions of what you might call a coupe-like sedan are available for 2022, including the M440i xDrive that I spent a pleasant sunny morning driving in the desert outside of Palm Springs. It’s got plenty to offer, including lots of technology and great performance. But, at a starting price of $58,200 — before delivery fees — those on a limited budget might look at the more affordable 430i.
What do you call a coupe with four doors? Normally, you’d dub it a sedan. In BMW’s curious product strategy, however, even-numbered models with extra doors become “Gran Coupes.” They also retain the more sleek lines of the coupes they’re based on, despite the added inches.
In the case of the 4 Series, the Gran Coupe also retains the controversial front end design that has so polarized traditional fans of the Bavarian brand. There’s actually some historic precedent for the tall, oversized design of the double-kidney grilles dating back to the 1930s, according to TheDetroitBureau.com’s resident historian, Larry Printz. But the look is not one you’ll ignore.
It’s too bad so many potential buyers appear to be turned off by the design. The year lapse between the current and prior-generation 4 Series Gran Coupe was apparently a pause the BMW development team put to good use. The 2022 model delivers a number of welcome improvements in technology and performance.
I’ve already spent plenty of time focusing on the Gran Coupe’s grille, so it’s a good time to explore the rest of the design. With the M440i, in particular, that starts with a pair of large lower air intakes pushed out to the corners, the better to feed air to the 3.0-liter inline-6 under the hood.
The M440i also adds subtle aerodynamic enhanced, front and rear, to both reduce drag and increase downforce at higher speeds.
Overall, the 4 Series line stays true to the classic BMW formula, with a long, sculpted hood emphasizing the power the Gran Coupe offers, and a short rear deck lid. The 4 Series, on the whole, sits lower than the 3 Series sedan, and the Gran Coupe, with its arcing roofline, accentuates the differences.
The 4 Series Gran Coupe’s cabin likewise stays true to the classic BMW formula. The driver-centric instrument panel on the M440i features a 10.3-inch digital instrument cluster, as well as a 12.3-inch widescreen infotainment display.
The overall look is sleek and refined, and details like the M steering wheel give the M440i a more sporty feel. That said, the 4 Series Gran Coupe has a more plebian feel to its cabin than some competing models, like the Audi 5 line-up.
What is likely to matter most is the added space. Along with the convenience of the two extra doors, rear passengers won’t feel their knees jammed into the back of the front seats. There is a tradeoff, however. To maintain the curvaceous roofline, the Gran Coupe does cut into back seat headroom.
The Gran Coupe shares the same powertrain options as the 4 Series coupe — starting with a pair of turbocharged engines.
The 430i Gran Coupe relies on a 2.0-liter inline-4 making 255 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. It initially launches in rear-drive configuration, with the all-wheel-drive package to follow.
The M440i, meanwhile, debuts with xDrive, the rear-wheel-drive model to follow. It’s 3.0-liter inline-6 punches things up to 382 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. This package, meanwhile, also adds a 48-volt mild hybrid starter-generator system adding another 11 hp when it kicks in, while also reducing fuel consumption.
Both models share the same quick-shifting 8-speed automatic.
Fuel economy for the 2022 BMW 430i Gran Coupe is EPA-rated at 25 mpg city and 34 highway. The M440i drops to 22 city and 31 highway.
Safety and Technology
While many luxury automakers, including Audi, Genesis and startups such as Lucid, are abandoning knobs and buttons wherever possible, the 4 Series Gran Coupe line retains the familiar BMW iDrive controller, as well as classic, radio-style buttons beneath its infotainment screen.
Though iDrive has taken plenty of hits throughout the years, the latest version is extremely intuitive, easy to use and much faster than having to negotiate layers of screens to operate basic functions like climate and navigation solely by touch. The buttons, meanwhile, can be programmed not only to tune the radio but to trigger frequently used functions. If you have a common destination, for example, a tap of the button automatically activates navigation.
The two Gran Coupe models feature wireless versions of both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as Sirius/XM radio and a built-in WiFi hotspot. The 10-speaker audio package can be upgraded with a 16-speaker Harman Kardon system. A head-up display also is available.
As for safety tech, there’s an ample mix of advanced driver assistance systems on the base cars, including forward collision warning with automated emergency braking and blind-spot monitoring. Buyers can add features like lane-keeping assist and active cruise control with the optional Driver Assistance Professional package.
As you’d expect with an M model, the M440i comes standard with BMW’s torque-vectoring M Sport Differential which quickly responds to changes in road surfaces and driver input to shift power where needed. For the 430i, the system is one of the features available as part of the optional Dynamical Handling package. Both models can be equipped with the optional Adaptive M Suspension.
Both versions of the 4 Series Gran Coupe deliver the sort of acceleration you’d expect of a BMW Coupe — even one with four doors. But the M440i xDrive takes things to another level. Mash the throttle and you’ll find yourself sinking deep into your seat, some of that due to the added muscle delivered by the mild hybrid system.
In recent years, there’s been an ongoing debate over the direction the Bavarian automaker has taken with its latest products. The 4 Series, in general, comes closer than almost anything in the BMW line-up to nailing the classic feel you expect from the brand.
Steering on the M440i was precise and predictable. And with my tester equipped with the M Sport Differential and Adaptive suspension, it was more than up to the task during an aggressive run through twisty Boxwood Canyon. The coupe always seemed ready and willing to let me push through the corners a bit faster.
Scrubbing off speed was no more difficult, thanks to the grippy M brakes.
For those who view an automobile as more than just basic transportation, BMW has always ranked high on the shopping list. And models like the 4 Series have a particular appeal to those who aren’t caught up in the ongoing rush to sport and crossover-utility vehicles.
The 4 Series coupe retains the sporty styling BMW has long been known for. The Gran Coupe line adds a useful level of functionality without compromising the basic design. The M440i takes things up a big notch with its added power, performance and handling.
The M model carries a base price of $58,200, with my tester taking that up to $68,200 — when adding in $995 for delivery fees. It’s not cheap, though the 2022 BMW M440i xDrive Gran Coupe compares favorably on price with alternatives such as the Audi S5. For those on a budget, the 430i Gran Coupe still deliver plenty for the money. Both models are already in U.S. showrooms.