carried out one of the best a part of 1,700 since then. And really nice they’ve been, too. Given the way in which issues are going with gasoline costs – and the larger image shift away from standard petrols and diesels – I did fear concerning the knowledge of choosing an ICE (inner combustion engine) automobile with a giant motor at the moment. So think about my reduction when my first cruise down the M1 to London and again noticed effectively over 40mpg on the journey pc. This can be a fairly astonishing quantity for a automobile with a robust, 3.0-litre engine and testomony to all of the intelligent fuel-saving tech BMW has included, starting from a devoted Eco Professional driving mode to energetic cooling flaps that open and shut behind the grille to scale back drag when required. The gentle hybrid system additionally means the automobile can ‘coast’ with the engine off for surprisingly lengthy distances, the swap between all these varied methods completely seamless on the wheel. It additionally means the stop-start is slicker than most, with out the ‘loss of life rattle’ shutdown and shudder on start-up you get on some smaller engines. Whereas these measures are efficient on the motorway a giant engine like this has nowhere to cover on brief city journeys and right here the mpg plummets to the mid-20s. Fortunately my traditional long-haul driving patterns play to the M440i’s strengths in order that hopefully received’t be too exhausting on my pockets. Elsewhere, chatting with different BMW homeowners on Twitter it appears the closely sculpted sports activities seats on this automobile divide opinion, one eight Sequence Gran Coupe driver I ended up chatting to at a filling station even saying he was promoting his as a result of he couldn’t get on with them. Every to theirs however they have to swimsuit my physique and I’ve no complaints. And on a long term the construct high quality, the refinement, the thumping stereo and the spectacular tech all make these in any other case tedious hours rather more bearable. I had nervous this automobile is likely to be a responsible pleasure however, for the form of driving I do, it’s truly completely match for function
Month 3 – The final word driving machine?
Mileage: 2,885 (since begin of mortgage)
Gasoline consumption: 36.5mpg (measured)
You recognize when somebody factors one thing out to you and also you then can’t cease fascinated about it? Nicely, having had varied individuals say they discover present BMW seats uncomfortable I’d protested the sculpted M Sport ones in ‘my’ M440i suited me nice. However now it’s niggling me that, maybe, the facet bolster on the left is digging into my ribs. This could possibly be right down to the wheel being offset from the dead-ahead, as it’s in lots of automobiles initially designed for left-hand drive markets after which tailored to right-hand drive. I’ve actually observed it in BMWs and Mercedes previously and, now the thought is lodged in my head, I’m wondering if that is likely to be the rationale. With practically 1,500 miles because the final replace I’ve actually had loads of time to ponder it, and whether or not it truly is the automobile or simply the slouch I undertake on a protracted motorway run. Honest to say my again isn’t complaining as but so perhaps I ought to simply return to my earlier contented state! Whereas lengthy motorway miles are a reality of life I used to be glad of an excuse to take the BMW to Wales, and never simply because it was to drive the 718 Cayman GT4 RS spherical Anglesey circuit. Thrilling sufficient by itself however the probability to offer the M440i a correct run throughout Snowdonia was additionally enjoyable, the early begin, brooding clouds and moist tarmac including atmospherics. It delivered to thoughts a earlier drive on the identical roads within the final form M3, which felt considerably lairy within the moist with all that energy going to the rear wheels within the conventional BMW fashion. Whereas solely a ‘junior’ M Efficiency mannequin the M440i nonetheless has 374 horsepower, which is sufficient to get you into bother on a slippery street. However my Gran Coupe additionally has BMW’s xDrive all-wheel drive system, which within the sportier driving modes has a way of that rear-balance followers of the model love however, on a moist Welsh street, tactfully pulls the automobile straight as effectively. It’s delicate however you’ll be able to really feel it working, that means you will get on the facility good and early on suitably well-sighted corners and, the place an Audi would push on (‘understeer’ within the roadtester’s jargon), the M440i tucks its nostril into the flip because the all-wheel drive system deploys the facility with out you needing you to fret it’s going to snap sideways. The bumps, crests and cambers of the roads in these elements are additionally famously difficult for suspension methods as effectively, and one motive British producers like Jaguar, Aston Martin and Bentley use them for testing. Fortunately BMW has been paying consideration, and the M440i rides higher in all its settings than the outdated form 435i I ran in a earlier life. Sport Plus in that automobile felt crashy and uncomfortable however on this one it’s truly usable, serving to to handle the Gran Coupe’s weight by way of the turns and feeling sporty with out detracting from the mature, GT vibe. In a earlier life BMWs have been offered below the slogan ‘The Final Driving Machine’ however, for some time, its merchandise appeared to neglect that. I wouldn’t go so far as to say the M440i meets that superlative description, nevertheless it’s a step again in the fitting course and a ‘correct BMW’ in the way in which it drives. That out of my system it’s again to the motorway mooching. Back to top
Months 4 & 5 – The premium on being premium
Mileage: 5,159 (coated since begin of mortgage)
Gasoline consumption: 36.7mpg (measured)
Motoring journalism 101 dictates that at some level in your tenure with a long-term take a look at car you’re taking an image of it doing one thing mundane like going to the tip. And the posher the automobile in query the higher. Packing containers. Ticked. OK, if I have been shopping for a BMW with this engine my alternative would nonetheless be an M340i Touring, on the idea I like quick property automobiles. However, for all is smooth traces, the Gran Coupe continues to be a hatchback, and really fairly sensible. With the seats folded, tarpaulin in place to guard the inside and parcel shelf out I can simply get my mountain bike in with the entrance wheel eliminated mendacity flat on the ground and, tarp once more deployed, it had loads of room for the tip run. We additionally did a household journey down south and there was loads of house for the 4 of us, our baggage and nonetheless room sufficient to stash my Brompton folding bike for scooting into the workplace as a part of the combined enterprise and pleasure itinerary. And, as has been the case over the previous few thousand miles, it proved quick, comfy and surprisingly economical transport, Mrs Trent praising the clear navigation having dropped me off at Auto Dealer’s central London workplace and heading off with the youngsters to mates in Excessive Wycombe. If tech could make a journey like that soothing you understand it’s doing its job. Certainly, having hopped out and in of loads of totally different automobiles within the final couple of months one factor I actually recognize concerning the BMW is simply how slick and premium it feels. You’d anticipate that of upholstery, switches and different stuff you contact and really feel. However, maybe much more importantly at the moment, it’s mirrored within the know-how. Just about all of the automobiles I’ve pushed within the final two months have had some type of digital instrument cluster and huge central touch-screen as their details of contact. However when it comes to graphics, ease of use, velocity and all the remaining the BMW system what makes this a premium expertise. It’s little issues, like dropping my telephone into the wi-fi charging tray, CarPlay connecting each time and not using a hiccup after which working seamlessly with the BMW system, slightly than it being an both/or as it’s in some automobiles. Instance? Whether or not you’re navigating by way of the automobile’s nav or your telephone apps you continue to get the prompts within the instrument cluster and on the head-up show. Tiny element. However the form of factor posher manufacturers nonetheless do higher than the mainstream ones, and makes the additional cash really feel price it. Now the climate is heating up I’m additionally appreciating the sunroof. On this age of fancy photochromic panoramic roofs a standard tilt/slide set-up appears nearly old style. However the format works, cracking it just a little in tilt mode providing a style of contemporary air with out noise or draughts on the motorway whereas sliding it again round city is a pleasant method to take in some vitamin D with out the necessity to drop the home windows. So, it’s been good. The ultimate, and maybe greatest, take a look at for the M440i comes subsequent month once I get to drive it back-to-back with its i4 brother. Given it’s mainly ‘my’ Gran Coupe however with an excellent larger hit of absolutely electrifried horsepower will it’s sufficient to wean me off my love for a giant BMW six-cylinder petrol engine? Keep tuned! Back to top
Month 6 – M440i versus i4 – does electrical beat petrol?
Gasoline consumption: 38.2mpg (measured)
After six months and practically 7,000 miles collectively the M440i has gone, and I’m greater than just a little sorry to see it go. Earlier than it was collected an essential comparability, although. As impressively charismatic, quick and frugal because the mild-hybrid enhanced six-cylinder engine has been can a giant petrol motor nonetheless be related nowadays, particularly given BMW makes (primarily) a totally electrified model of the Four Sequence Gran Coupe within the form of the i4? Earlier than handing it again I needed to get one in to check like with like… It’s an irresistible head-to-head, as effectively. For about £10,000 extra the i4 M50 affords 544 horsepower in opposition to the 374 of the M440i and is sort of a second quicker zero to 62mph. The electrical automobile’s heftier worth is rapidly offset by the very fact first yr VED is zero, in opposition to £935 for the M440i, whereas month-to-month Benefit In Kind for a higher-rate tax payer can be simply over £40 per 30 days, a staggering £650 PER MONTH lower than the petrol automobile. Which is nuts. The i4 additionally will get the extra refined, next-gen iDrive infotainment system from the iX and a devoted set-up from the identical M division guys who signed off the M440i. So, it’s correct BMW with old-school sporting pedigree no Tesla might hope to match. The i4 is fascinating as effectively, as a result of in distinction to the intentionally futuristic iX it represents a neater emotional transition from ICE to EV. Actually I believe you can finish your lease on an M440i, swap to an i4 and never really feel you have been taking a leap into the unknown. It appears to be like the identical exterior, feels just about equivalent inside and the controls are all in the identical place. As a take a look at I despatched my spouse out in it ‘blind’ and she or he wasn’t in in the slightest degree intimidated by the very fact it was electrical. Frankly, I’m not even positive she observed. Seems like a no brainer, proper? Financially it most likely is. However the i4 isn’t excellent. Certain, it’s quick and excessive tech, however most of my journeys within the M440i have been spherical journeys of over 400 miles at a time, which it might simply do on a tank with out even seeing the reserve gentle. You may see the place that is going however even in supposedly excellent situations of 20deg ambient temperatures, in Eco Professional mode and with the local weather management off the i4 wasn’t particularly environment friendly and wanted three top-ups to finish an identical journey, all of them at costly public chargers. So, no cheaper there. And a complete lot much less handy. Spectacular because the Hans Zimmer sound results within the i4 are I nonetheless desire the purr of a six-cylinder petrol engine as effectively, although I’m maybe simply displaying my age. Horses for programs and I realise my journey patterns most likely aren’t typical. However, as spectacular because the i4 is (and the skewed monetary incentives), my time with the M440i has demonstrated a sporting BMW with a giant petrol engine continues to be surprisingly related, even at the moment. I even got here to phrases with that grille, too.