BMW made a name from sporty, premium, handlers, that gave drivers a not-so-cheap thrill, even when doing the shopping.

M440i Gran (no “D” here, thanks very much) Coupé is the queen of the 3-series-sized car. BMW nomenclatures are all a bit confusing, but Gran Coupé is the name given to their 4-door sports sedans while Coupé is reserved for the usual 2 door setup. So, the 4 series is the 2 door version of the 3 series, except for 4 series that also has 4 doors. Just, Why?

The gaping grille has just got to go, and that’s my final word on the matter.

The Looks

The Gran Coupés are odd-bods, no matter the brand. As if passenger cars weren’t already on a slippery slope, the Coupé market has very few takers, and the 4 door Coupé buyer is even thinner on the ground. We could pontificate for ages about the wisdom of 4 smaller doors over 2 larger ones, but the resulting swoop-roofed lines are gracious and elegant.

BMW now eschews the rampant Bangle-ism that has marred the brand for decades, with a beautifully smooth skin that stretches over the low-slung body like the wing of a plane. It looks all slippery and slinky.

I’d be lying if I said the M badges weren’t the initial eye-catcher, but this isn’t to be confused with the pure-bred thug carrying the full-on M pedigree. Think of the M440i and a thug in a dinner suit. There are other models in the range, but the M440i brings the fire a GT car deserves.

There is a cute little opera window behind the rear doors, and the doors themselves have the frameless allure of a GT car of old.

In fact, as modern as the m440i Gran Coupé is, there is the faintest hint vintage glamor that I can’t quite put my finger on. Whether it is the deeply dished 19” wheels, or the tail lights with a display worthy of a Vegas show, who can say.

Around the front, the Laser Lights do the job of your common or garden variety Matrix LEDs, but these babies look 650m down the road. They’re shapely with blue highlights, as if to wink cheekily at passers-by.

The door handles sit flush with the bodywork to cut the drag even further. However, with an old-school hinge at the top, and have a nasty habit of allowing your fingers to slip out during a quick getaway. It has to be the worst design ever, and would take an age to get used to. GET.IN.THE.BIN.

There are a few foibles, but it makes the good all the better. There is a gentle masculinity that makes the m440i Gran Coupé feel like a pearl among the swine of SUV blandness blighting our roads up and down the country.