I TOOK a few moments at the end of my journey in BMW’s gorgeous new coupe to reflect on how much I had enjoyed the drive.

Impressive as they are, the facts and figures tell only part of the story. It is how the 4 Series Coupe feels to drive that is the real wow factor.

My road test was in the flagship 440i xDrive, an all-wheel drive super-cruiser that is quite simply astonishing in its performance.

Accelerating from standstill to 62mph in a mere 4.5 seconds, it shows a terrific turn of pace, accompanied by a rasping growl… and then just keeps on delivering through the eight-speed automatic box.

There’s a choice of eco-pro, comfort or sport modes, and even an optional sprint mode if you want to take things to another level, but comfort and sport modes will suffice for most needs.

The trick that BMW has pulled off with aplomb is to produce a 4 Series that has the character of a sports car without compromising the ride quality.

The body control is quite wonderful as it zips along winding roads, with the springs and active dampers virtually eliminating the vagaries of poor surfaces.

A four-seater, this second-generation 4 Series has been given a stronger identity – including a deep vertical kidney grille – and improved quality.

Key to its performance is the two-centimetre lowering of the centre of gravity, while its presence has been heightened by the new dimensions.. It is 128mm longer at 4768mm, 27mm wider and 6mm taller.

Sharing its platform and 48V hybrid technology with the 3 Series, its tracks are also wider and aluminium is used on several body parts.

The increased track widths,, short overhangs, slender pillars, long doors with frameless windows, new LED lights and a flowing roofline combine to deliver a sleek look.

Step inside and there’s an immediate sense of wellbeing and luxury to complement the distinctive exterior. The leather seats are exceptionally comfortable and there is an air of familiarity as your eyes scan the dashboard. There’s a 12.3-inch digital instrument panel and 10.3-infotainment display that can be accessed by touch or rotary dial or even speech and gesture.

There’s more space upfront than in the previous version, while the rear seats are set low to provide decent headroom. Boot space is slightly reduced but still a decent 400 litres.

The three-litre turbocharged 440i xDrive, which rides on 19-inch wheels, is joined by two more petrol offerings, the 420i and 430i – both of which are rear wheel drive – and a 420d diesel offering. Two more powerful diesels will join the line-up, as will cabriolet and gran coupe versions.

All 4 Series models get M Sport styling as standard and there is the further option of a specialised M Sport Pro package that includes the new sprint mode function. Various options are available through packages or individually.

Engaging, smooth, dynamic and cossetting, the 440i is immensely enjoyable and capable, with direct steering and fine body control. Despite its mighty 369bhp and stunning acceleration, it will still return an average fuel economy figure upwards of 40mpg.

The turn of pace is indeed eyebrow-raising, but equally impressive is the superb grip and traction and the relaxed manner in which it gobbles up the road on longer journeys.

BMW promised the best experience drivers have ever had in a mid-size BMW coupe. Mission accomplished.

AT A GLANCE BMW M440i xDrive Coupe Price: £53,875 (4 Series range from £39,870) Engine: Six-cylinder three-llitre turbocharged petrol plus 48V electric motor producing 369bhp Transmission: Eight-speed steptronic automatic driving all wheels Performance: 0 to 62mph in 4.5 seconds; top speed 155mph Economy: 41.4mpg combined CO2 emissions: 155g/km RATINGS Performance: ***** Economy: **** Ride/Handling: ***** Space/Practicality: **** Equipment: ***** Security/Safety: **** Value For Money: **** OVERALL: *****