A week spent driving the BMW 440i M Sport Convertible is to rediscover the double delight of rear-wheel-drive dynamics and roof-down motoring.
We’ve long praised the former, where the power is put to the ground through the rear wheels, leaving their front counterparts to get on with pointing the car where you want to go. Call it purity of purpose.
We’re also big fans of being able to easily convert – with the simple push of a button – from the security and solidity of having a roof over your head to the freedom of wind in the hair.
Positioned at the top of the enhanced 4 Series range, the 440i comes in $10,100 less than its predecessor, the 435i. While the price is down, power and torque are up by 15kW and 50Nm with the TwinPower 3.0-litre turbocharged inline six-cylinder petrol engine pumping out 240kW and 450Nm. Fuel consumption is less, with the
ADR combined cycle figure dropping by 0.5 litres/100km to 7.2.
The 440i enjoys a significant uplift in standard specification over the 435i. This includes a head-up display, lane change warning, driving assistant, surround view camera with top and side views, active cruise control with stop and go function and parking assist. Tick the boxes also for an air collar and Harman/Kardon surround sound system with 16 speakers.
Our test car also came with optional M sport brakes ($1400) and lustrous Melbourne Red metallic paint ($1840).
Ride is firm on the 19-inch M light alloys shod with run-flat tyres, though the ‘comfort’ drive mode setting takes the edge off any harshness. Its senses heightened by the ‘sport’ and ‘sport +’ modes, the 440i steers, handles and grips with confidence and poise and there’s no shortage of urge from under the sleek bonnet.
With a smooth, standard eight-speed sports automatic transmission doing the shifting, the benchmark 0-100km/h sprint rushes by in 5.4 seconds. (In good news for old-school enthusiasts, a six-speed manual transmission is available as a no-cost option.)
The powered front seats impress with their comfort and lateral support, while the rear pews will accommodate two adults without too much compromise.
So what’s not to like? A little less weight would make a very good car even better; the Convertible being a couple of hundred kilograms heavier than its Coupe and Gran Coupe siblings. And boot space shrinks significantly when the folding metal roof is stowed.