Spirited Driving Delivered With a Relaxed No Sweat Attitude That Can Only Come From BMW
Convertibles come in many varieties. There are those that enjoy a relaxed pace perfect for taking in the scenery; and others that pack track-worthy performance providing a much more rewarding driving experience. Every once in a while a car comes along that’s equally adept at both. So let’s find out how well BMW’s 4 series convertible is able to multitask.
BMW’s compact 4-Series convertible has been around for just 7-years. But its direct lineage actually started with a 3-Series Cabriolet in the late ‘70s. Indeed, open-tops have long been an important part of the BMW lineup. Still, the number of new convertibles is dwindling, so we’re glad BMW is still in the game with machines like this 2021 M440i Convertible.
An updated 4 Series Coupe arrived last year, bringing BMW’s controversial new face with it; but as we said then, give it a chance, it looks much better in person.
The bigger news here is that after sporting a hard top drop top for the last 15-years, the latest 4 Series Convertible gets a new cloth top. The benefits of this are multiple, the chief one being much more compact storage, which means much more space for luggage in the trunk; more than a cubic-ft. has been added, for a total of 9.0. Other bonuses include less weight and more headroom.
Still one touch operation, just a push of a console switch, and watch the mechanical symphony play out behind you as the top folds compactly behind the rear seats.
Yes, this is a 4-seater. Would adults be comfortable in those back seats? Not for an extended period of time, but short jaunts are not a problem.
The top has multiple layers of insulation to keep things just as quiet as the previous hard top, probably even more so. And it looks just fine when up too; even adding a bit of a throwback vibe.
From there, everything follows the Coupe formula, which means it’s more than 5-inches longer than last gen, with 1.6-inches of additional wheelbase; and is also an inch wider.
Your choice of inline turbo engines; a 255-horsepower 2.0-liter 4-cylinder in the 430i, or the 3.0-liter 6 found here in the M440i; outputting 382-horsepower and 364 lb-ft. of torque.
Both operate with an 8-speed automatic transmission, in either standard rear or optional all-wheel-drive. After a relaxing cruise to Mason Dixon Dragway, it was time to get down to business.
Our rear-drive M440i didn’t have the help of xDrive for additional launch grip, so we did battle some wheelspin; but after a few passes, it was relatively easy to dial in a good departure, hitting 60 in just 4.2-seconds.
Power flow remains steady down the track, BMW’s 8-speed as efficient and smooth with shifts as always. Great power, good sound, what more do you want through a 12.7-second ¼-mile at 110 miles-per-hour.
We had even higher expectations heading to our handling course and were not disappointed. The M440i stayed firmly planted to the ground, and it’s virtually impossible to get it out of sorts no matter how abrupt you are with your inputs.
As is typical, we could still use a little more steering feel, but driver inputs were carried out immediately.
So, looks like the M440i has got track performance on lock, but how does it operate at a more relaxed pace?
Well, it’s pretty spectacular there too. Ride quality is superb; far from stiff, soaking up bumps and road imperfections seamlessly.
The front seats offer plenty of comfort and support, in the customary driver-oriented cockpit.
Plenty of other things to make your time behind the wheel enjoyable too, including BMW’s latest infotainment system. It’s a touchscreen, but the iDrive controller is there on the console if you prefer.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 23-City, 31-Highway, and 26-Combined. We averaged 25.8 miles-per-gallon of Premium. For an average Energy Impact Score of 12.7-barrels of yearly oil use, with 5.6-tons of CO2 emissions.
Pricing starts at $54,095 for the 430i; $64,995 for the M440i. xDrive adds 2-grand to either. The 2021 BMW M440i is one convertible that offers more than enough performance for spirited driving, yet delivers it with a relaxed no sweat attitude that can only come from a company that goes about its business like it’s been there done that. And BMW surely has.
Engine: 3.0L 6-cylinder
Torque: 364 lb-ft
0-60 mph: 4.2 seconds
1/4 Mile: 12.7 seconds at 110 mph
EPA: 23 City / 31 Highway / 26 Combined