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BMW M4

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BMW M440i

BMW's M Assault!

How much M performance do you want? There are a couple of choices.

Over the last decade or two, BMW models have proliferated to the point that its former three, five and seven series identification just couldn’t keep up. Today, BMW sorts its 17-model lineup by defining offerings that begin with odd numbers as sedans and tall SUVs while even numbers define coupes, convertibles and low-slung utilities. For performance enthusiasts, there are officially eleven specific M (Motorsport) performance models that include sedans, coupes, convertibles and SUVs. In addition, buyers can add some M heat to most BMWs with a model option.

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What’s in an M?

Recently, I’ve had the opportunity to spend both track and street time in BMW’s M4, the high-performance coupe that squares off successfully with Audi’s RS5, Mercedes’ AMG C63 and the Lexus RC F. Later when I was offered an M440i to review, I was intrigued. In former BMW nomenclature, this might be a coupe with an M-tuned, 4.0-liter V8 engine. Instead, it’s the 3.0-liter, turbo I-6 that’s tweaked to produce 382 horsepower. And while that’s less than the M4’s robust 503HP output, it’s plenty for most enthusiastic driving entertainment.

So what’s really the best choice for the performance enthusiast? The answer is relatively easy. BMW’s M4, especially when optioned with M Carbon Ceramic Brakes ($8,150.00) M Carbon Bucket Seats ($3,800.00), M Carbon Exterior Package ($4,700.00) and M Driver’s Package ($2,500.00) is a $100-grand track car that’s street legal. On the other hand, our M440i with all-wheel-drive is perfectly happy with corner carving or cruising in relative comfort. 

What About That New Grille?

When I was down in Thermal, California driving BMW’s production M4 along with the GT4 race car, I asked one of the driver team pros what he thought of the new grille treatment. He answered that the company told teammates not to comment on the polarizing style. I’m under no obligation to keep my impression private, so my opinion is “it’s growing on me”. But regardless of the host of opinions from armchair stylists, the cars behind the new grille are brilliant.

2021 BMW M4

TYPE:  Front-engine, all-wheel-drive

ENGINE:  3.0-liter Twin-Turbo I-6

HORSEPOWER:  503 @ 6,250 RPM

TORQUE:  479 lb.ft. @ 2,750-5,000 RPM

BASE PRICE: $71,600

AS TESTED:  $97,645

FUEL CONSUMPTION:  16-city, 23-highway, 19-combined

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2021 BMW M440i xDrive

TYPE:  Front-engine, all-wheel-drive

ENGINE:  3.0-liter Turbo I-6

HORSEPOWER:  382 @ 6,500 RPM

TORQUE:  364 lb.ft. @ 1,800-5,000 RPM

BASE PRICE: $58,500

AS TESTED:  $71,870

FUEL CONSUMPTION:  22-city, 31-highway, 25-combined