The Takeaway: BMW’s M240i xDrive is the embodiment of the perfect sports car, with exceptional handling characteristics and vast reserves of power. The sport-biased coupe is positioned neatly between the standard 2-Series and the upcoming M2, which will be unveiled later this year—following the same hierarchy as the M440i xDrive. Having said that, the M240i is simply different gravy when compared to its larger and heavier next of kin.
- BMW’s xDrive all-wheel-drive system produced mind-bending traction while making for a safe and secure platform in wet conditions—not to mention that our test car was still riding on winter tires.
- BMW’s variable sport steering system can change the steering ratio (how quickly the front wheels turn from lock to lock) on the fly, optimizing low-speed maneuverability and high-speed stability.
- Compared to the previous model, the M240i has a completely new chassis that’s much stiffer and lighter for better performance and comfort on the road.
- Base price: $48,550
- Engine: turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder
- Horsepower: 382 hp
- Torque: 369 lb-ft
- 0-60 time: 4.1 seconds
- Transmission: 8-speed automatic
- Drivetrain: All-wheel drive
- Fuel efficiency: 26 mpg (combined)
Behind The Wheel
Rather unsurprisingly, BMW’s M240i ticks all of the boxes that make a great sports car: vast reserves of power, excellent handling characteristics, and a luxurious interior. My one week with the all-wheel-drive brute mostly involved short bursts through the twisty farm roads just outside the Popular Mechanics office in eastern Pennsylvania. However, I also took a longer drive up to Pine Grove, Pennsylvania, to evaluate the new Bimmer’s demeanor on the highway.
In terms of power, the M240i is comfortably one of the quickest cars that I’ve driven. Under the hood, it uses the same 382-horsepower, turbocharged, 3.0-liter engine as the M440i. However, with less weight to haul around—3,871 pounds compared to the 4,169-pound M440i—the smaller M240i is much quicker.
Subtracting weight will always improve cornering ability. However, BMW’s xDrive all-wheel-drive (AWD) system is the clear star of the show here. Regardless of whether I was driving in cold and wet or warm and dry conditions, I had way more traction than I would ever need on the road. Our tester was still fitted with winter tires—which weren’t nearly as grippy as Michelin’s Pilot Sport 4 S all-season tires that come standard—and I was impressed by the amount of grip.
Unlike most AWD systems that split power equally between the front and rear axles, the M240i can actually send 100 percent of drive to the rear wheels. This helps the front axle be much more responsive and communicative, allowing me to feel what the front tires were doing when I tipped into a corner. To deal with the torque at the rear axle, the vehicle gains an electronically-controlled locking differential, which can alter the torque split between both of the rear wheels. When it senses a loss of traction, it can lock both wheels to spin together to increase forward traction. It can also send more torque to the outside wheel when I’m going through a corner to help turn the car.
The Elephant That Isn’t In The Room
For better or for worse, the redesigned front fascia on BMW’s latest 3- and 4-series lineups proved to be controversial. Everyone and their brother ended up coming up with lewd nicknames for the unsightly grille. Having said that, the M240i keeps the relatively standard “kidney” grilles seen on previous models.
Even with its smaller—and arguably better-looking—front grille, the M240i has the same active cooling flaps as the M440i. These can open and close in ten stages to keep the engine at exactly the right temperature. Further down, the vehicle features horizontal ducts that adjust to feed the brakes with fresh air when needed. Lastly, the brake ducts at the front of the car double as air curtains to reduce turbulence in the front wheel arches.
Our tester arrived in BMW’s new shade of purple, which it refers to as “Thundernight Metallic.” You’ll see in the photos that it’s not the brightest shade of purple. And that’s a good thing. I’d describe it more as a black with purple undertones rather than some of the flashier purple tones that we’ve seen previously.
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Inside The Cockpit
The M240i’s interior is textbook BMW, providing just the right balance of comfort, luxury, and sportiness. Case in point: The driver’s seat remained super comfortable during longer road trips while holding me in tight during spirited drives. With BMW’s heads-up display, I also never had to take my eyes off the road to look at pertinent information.
The seat and steering wheel were super easy to adjust to get my driving position dialed in right where I wanted it. This is something that I don’t take lightly, as it leads to a more comfortable and engaging experience behind the wheel.
While heads-up display (HUD) systems are nothing new to the automotive industry, 2022 marks the first year that they’ve been implemented into BMW’s 2-series lineup. During my testing, the HUD was helpful in keeping me safe as well as informed. The full-color readout allowed me to keep tabs on metrics like my speed, speed warnings, turn-by-turn directions, and even media controls without having to look down at the dashboard or infotainment system. However, it still became essentially invisible when I was wearing my polarized sunglasses.
I have to confess that most of my time with any infotainment system involves Apple CarPlay. However, when I didn’t have Apple Maps or Spotify up on the BMW, I noticed that the brand’s iDrive interface is much improved from years previous. You no longer have to go through tons of hoops to do simple tasks like connecting your phone; once I had my mobile device connected via wireless Apple CarPlay—a process that took only a couple of minutes—I was pleasantly surprised at the sound quality coming from the Harman Kardon stereo. This has typically been a weak area for BMW and is greatly improved over the previous generations.
Despite its inherent shortcomings in practicality, the M240i is absolutely usable as a daily driver. Its three different driving modes (eco, comfort, and sport) help it serve as everything from a weekend barnstormer to a docile daily driver. Sure, you’d be hard-pressed to argue that the BMW M240i is the latter with only two roomy seats up front. But it’s not too much of a stretch.
So it’s no surprise that the M240i is far from being the most practical vehicle on the road. Having said that, for a vehicle that’s capable of doing the weekly commute from Monday through Friday and thrashing a track day during the weekend, it’s tough to beat. Rumor has it that the M2 is going to be priced at about $60,000 MSRP. Therefore, if you’re looking for a similar sports car that won’t break the bank, look no further than the M240i.
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