Category: Coupe

Is the BMW 440i Coupe a poor man’s M4?

BMW 440i Coupe South Africa

Poor mans M4? Our thoughts on the new BMW 440i Coupe

I read somewhere that the BMW 440i Coupe was referred to as the poor man’s M4. This unfortunately highlights the gap in knowledge that this person has regarding the differences between these two variants from BMW.

Look at this example, you have two sons from the same parents who are quite close in age. As they get older, one is built like a rugby player and loves sports, while the other one is leaner takes up piano lessons. The one brother has a taste for Sade, Norah Jones and UB40, while the other is a David Guetta and fan and attends a festival known as “Ultra”. As much as they come from the same family, have the same DNA and a similar disposition, they differ immensely in terms of personality, interests and even appearance.

BMW 440i Coupe South Africa

That is exactly what happened in Bavaria between these two six-cylinder siblings. The 440i is the all round nice guy, who is a gentleman and still opens the door for his lady.  The M4 on other hand is the rebel. This is the one that will string along a couple of girls and be out until 05:00 but still make it for gym at 06:30. Thereafter, this will be followed by his business presentation in front of the board at 09:00.

That’s who these two cars are aimed at, different people who have wildly different tastes. Having sampled the previous 435i (for two years actually) most things seem quite the same. It was when I got into the BMW 440i Coupe, hit that Start button and fired the new in-line six, that I felt something had changed. A deeper, more throatier noise came from the dual exhausts and it immediately gets the blood flowing smoothly. From take off, as well as driving in traffic, the change is quite apparent, all thanks to the new engine. The new 440i sports what the Bavarian’s call the B58 in-line 6 cylinder. Yes this is similar to the previous engine but features lighter materials and increased power, an extra 15 kW and 50 N.m to be exact. The result is a “smooth as butter” 240kW and 450Nm power-plant. This doesn’t sound like much of an improvement but trust me, it is.

BMW 440i Coupe South Africa

From just beyond tick over the torque makes itself known and you can ride the wave and drive the vehicle briskly, without having the tachometer even brush the naughty side of 4 500 rpm. This is unlike the M4, which tends to spike in torque, causing fun yet unexpected oversteer. The 440i is sharp when you need it to be and in my opinion pips the M4 on everyday drivability. It is able to put its power down more comfortably and with more confidence than its more muscular brother.

Styling revisions have been made in line with the engine change as well. This can be seen in tweaked front and rear bumpers, more pronounced front and rear LED lights and an array of new colours from BMW’s new colour palette. Inside, the revisions continue with the new iDrive system, similar to the one found in the G30 5 Series. Further to this, the dash has the option of the new Multi-function display which seems to raise cabin standards to spaceship chic. A must if you ask me.

BMW 440i Coupe South Africa

The drive as mentioned is just superb. Power is delivered through the familiar BMW channels. An Eight speed Sport Auto from ZF which links to the rear axle, leaving the front end with the simple job of steering. This setup seems like it’s going to be a rare thing in the future, with sports cars and sports sedans giving you more power than sense. Communication from the front axle is good, but I would have liked a more communicative steering. Understandably, the setup is orientated more to comfort as the majority of drivers won’t care for the feeling us journalists want. In fairness, the BMW does a good job of letting you know how much grip the front end has in brisk driving scenarios. BMW’s have always been tail-happy and the 440i is no exception. Turn in into some of your favourite corners and you can feel the rear come alive and the traction control light flicker. The driving modes, Eco, Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus change the characteristics of the car, specifically Sport Plus mode. In this mode, the threshold for the DSC has been moved slightly so you can explore the limits of mechanical grip without hurting yourself. 

BMW 440i Coupe South Africa

Overall, the BMW 440i coupe is a package that is very hard to beat. It’s quick with 0-100km/h done in just  5,2 seconds. It’s balanced and will give you all you need for everyday use in a package that is easy to work with. The car allows you to build your confidence and enjoy it, even if you’re a novice. That is where you start seeing the difference again in personality. The 440i is the car you want to drive to nine tenths everyday, something that you cannot do in the M4 which requires a skill set that the average driver does not possess. If you used the same driving principles from the 440i in the M4, it would end in a spectacularly bad fashion, one that would get a couple hundred thousand views on Youtube. Is it then the poor man’s M4? Not at all! It’s the sensible man’s everyday sports coupe.

 

A futuristic machine : New Audi A5 Driven Review

New Audi A5 Driven Review

As journalists, we drive a fair number of new cars and because of this, I feel that sometimes we become a little numb to the latest technology and gadgets that are found in vehicles today. I realised this while driving the new Audi A5 on test when some friends of mine lost their minds at how this hot coupé had a little mechanism which passed the seatbelt to the front occupants, something that’s been around for over a decade in premium coupés.

2017 Audi A5 South Africa

If that got them excited, you should’ve seen their faces while giving them a demonstration of Audi’s Virtual Cockpit. At this point the new A5 could have started to hover and they would not have been surprised.

There are no “slow” versions of the Audi A5, I can confirm this having previously driven all if the variants in the range on the South African launch. On my week long test, I had the very pleasing 140 kW petrol motor, we could call this the “entry level” model, but it is by no means an entry level car.

2017 Audi A5 South Africa

The new A5 gives of a very sporty and dynamic presence and this is accentuated when  entering the cabin. It is very driver focused, very intense and you feel like you are jumping into the cockpit of a futuristic machine rather than a vehicle which takes you from A to B.

There are many features I enjoy about the interior, from the optional Virtual Cockpit to the large square drive selector which fits nicely in the palm of the hand. If you are familiar with the previous A5, you will notice the new long streamlined dash which gives of a feeling of more space inside the cabin. Audi definitely designs some of the best interiors around and it gets better at night – opening the door reveals a glow of lights from various locations.This gets better when the ignition is started and a mix of red and blue fills the interior, followed by the drivers selected colour preference. Visually it’s fairly fantastic.

The new A5 delivers then in the design and visual elements, but does the driving experience match the pretty lights?

I have to say, it really does. 140 kW and 320 N.m means that this car is no slouch, it accelerates nicely, although you won’t be running with Golf GTI’s from a standstill. Mid range power and torque is also delivered smoothly, overtaking and the like is a breeze and there really is ample power for the daily commuter.  A decent engine tone even comes into play when you “give it some” as we say in England.

2017 Audi A5 South Africa

This 2.0-litre variant is definitely the most easy going out of the bunch but, if you want more of  a hair catching fire type of vehicle then one must look at opting for the 180 kW 2.0-litre Quattro or even the glorious sounding S5. The former provides the same comfort and experience but with that little extra grunt. If performance is not high in your priorities and you just love the look, feel and drive of the new Audi A5 then the 140 kW option a very good option to go for.

In terms of pricing, the new Audi A5 has a list price of R623 000 and when specced, can be as high as R795 000 like my test vehicle. Options like the S-line package, Audi Virtual Cockpit, Electric front memory seats and LED headlights are a must but there are options one could do without. This might sound like an expensive vehicle but a BMW 420i which produces a very similar power output and specced to the same level comes in at R770,000.

The difference here is that Audi charge R10k for automatic A/C whereas as on the BMW it comes as standard. Audi also offer Carplay and Android Auto for R5 000 whereas BMW believe their infotainment system is good enough. Audi’s Virtual Cockpit is also much more advanced than BMW’s optional Multi-functional instrument display but it is also quite a bit more expensive.

At this level of pricing there really isn’t much in it and from a driving perspective it’s really down to what you prefer. Audi have done a great job with the new A5 and if you decide to go this route you will be a very happy driver indeed.