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BMW's Efficient Dynamics engine family is slowly working its way through the line-up and replacing each model with a more, well, efficient power plant.
The latest recipient is the 4 Series Gran Coupe, which gets the new inline six-cylinder turbocharged unit and is renamed the BMW 440i Gran Coupe. It replaces the 435i Gran Coupe, which also had a 3.0- litre straight-six turbo but was not based on the new modular engine that uses a half-litre cylinder as a building block.
The 440i's direct injection engine relies on a single turbo to boost output to 326 hp and 450 Nm - up 20 hp and 50 Nm respectively from the 435i. As before, the unit drives the rear wheels through a silky eight-speed automatic transmission.
Compared to the old engine, the new twin-scroll turbo has a bigger turbine for higher boost pressure. To improve performance, a water-to-air intercooler was chosen instead of the usual air-to-air version.
The newly designed engine also differs with its closed deck engine block for added strength. And although BMWs typically have a 50:50 front/rear weight distribution, the water pump of the new 440i Gran Coupe is relocated next to the firewall to be closer to the centre of the car.
On the move, the new six-pot elicits a creamy note. Floor it and it transforms into a low growl which is throatier than before and sounds like the old naturally aspirated unit. The torque is also beefier, and available earlier. The 440i Gran Coupe is more muscular, yet with a more refined delivery. Engine response is excellent despite its 1,615 kg kerb weight.
On the outside, the design is unchanged. With its lithe profile and frameless windows, the Gran Coupe concept combines the sporty coupe-like styling with the practicality of four doors and a large boot which is more conveniently accessed by a hatch rather than a boot lid.
In the cabin, head and leg room is surprisingly generous despite the low roofline.
For both its sporty handling and everyday useability, the 440i Gran Coupe equals versatile driving fun.
BMW 440i Gran Coupe
Engine: 2,998cc inline-6 turbocharged
Transmission: 8-speed automatic transmission
Max power: 326 hp @ 5,500 rpm
Max torque: 450 Nm @ 1,380-5,000 rpm
0-100 kmh: 5.1 secs
Top speed: 250 kmh
CO2 emissions: 159 g/km
Average OMV: S$51,000
Price: S$295,800 (with COE)
Distributor: Performance Motors