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Car reviews - BMW - M240i

Our Opinion

We like
Agile handling, effortless torque, all-wheel drive grip, tactile steering, stonking acceleration, cabin finish and technology, exceptional audio system
Room for improvement
Ductile brake feel, auto is slow to downshift, heavy kerb mass, pointless rear seats, repair kit spare, no manual transmission, no rear-drive variant (yet)

With good looks, impressive performance and prodigious grip the M240i xDrive is something of an over-achiever

19 Jul 2022



THE M240i xDrive is the performance flagship of the new, roomier 2 Series Coupe range boasting turbocharged 3.0-litre six-cylinder power and prodigious all-wheel drive grip shoehorned into a striking two-door body.


Priced from $89,900 plus on-road costs, the M240i xDrive rides on BMW’s rear-drive CLAR underpinnings (shared with the 3 and 4 Series) to provide a larger and stiffer body than was offered previously and boasts a stance that is both lower and wider than before.


The additional proportions are evident both outside and in, the cabin a near mirror image of the larger 4 Series and with even more technology.


Standard kit includes 19-inch alloys, active cruise control with traffic jam function, adaptive suspension, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, auto parking assist, BMW’s Live Cockpit Professional with 12.3-inch driver’s screen and a 10.25-inch infotainment array, DAB+ digital radio reception, digital key, electric seat adjustment with front seat heaters and memory, head-up display, a glass sunroof, and a 14-speaker Harman/Kardon premium audio system.


Optionally, the M240i xDrive is available with high-performance brakes, aerodynamic accoutrements, and metallic paint alongside cleverly bundled packages to suit the tastes of more exacting buyers.


BMW says the Mexican-made M240i xDrive offers 50:50 front-to-rear weight distribution courtesy (in part) of an aluminium bonnet and front fenders. It also offers a widened wheel track over its derivative counterpart, some 63mm broader at the front and 35mm wider at the rear. 


With 48-volt mild hybrid assistance and 285kW and 500Nm on tap – matching that of the M440i – the M240i xDrive can hit 100km/h in just 4.3 seconds, making it just as fast as the original M2.


Drive Impressions


Despite its sporting focus, the M240i xDrive still delivers a mostly quiet and comfortable ride. Compared to the previous generation 2 Series Coupe, it is also a more refined handler over gnarled and winding backroads, the longer wheelbase and wider track serving to provide the car with more stability while enabling the all-wheel drive system to deliver its best without being constantly buffered by the car’s electronic nannies.


In fact, you’ve got to push the M240i xDrive exceptionally hard for its weight – all 1690kg of it – to be felt. The adaptive dampers and all-paw driveline cooperate to keep the front-end true while the tactile steering provides clarity to the driver in a way some of the 2 Series’ direct rivals have still yet to master. In truth, we’d have preferred a little more rear-drive bias from the sportiest 2er, but BMW assures us an sDrive variant is in the pipeline.


BMW’s cracking inline six provides strong and steady torque delivery from the get-go. The engine spins freely to redline with almost effortless nonchalance, the accompanying soundtrack a ubiquitous reminder that the M240i xDrive offers something more profound than any highly-strung ‘four’.


It’s a sensation that’s hard to put a finger on… the linearity of the six’s power curve and the soulful timbre of this engine stir an emotional response that keys you into the experience so completely that it’s very difficult to drive this car at pace without grinning like a Cheshire cat.


It helps, too, that the pairing with ZF’s 8HP eight-speed auto is so thoroughly competent. Upshifts are quick, crisp, and wonderfully well timed, making the inclusion of shift paddles almost redundant. In its sportier settings the transmission is almost aggressive in its response to throttle input, the kickdown to third or second gear providing blistering acceleration for hurried corner exits or neck-stretching overtaking manoeuvres.


On the downside, the tranny isn’t as willing to downshift under deceleration as some dual-clutch units found elsewhere. The transmission prefers to wait for engine speeds to lower before allowing the driver to select a lower ratio, which means corner setup is almost entirely beholden to the brakes.


And the issue with that is the M240i xDrive’s four-piston stoppers, while certainly powerful, ultimately lack the modulation of full-fat M cars. The pedal is too ductile and over assisted at the top of its stroke to provide the kind of adjustment we’re used to from M-branded cars. Without that level of finesse, you can find yourself applying either not enough or too much brake than is otherwise necessary.


Despite growing in size, the 2 Series Coupe is still best thought of as a two-seat proposition. The back seats are tight and are best occupied by primary-school-aged children – and even then for short trips only. Conversely, the front pews are supportive and offer enough leg- and shoulder room for even taller adults. Headroom is slightly limited by the sunroof.


We found the driving position close to ideal and the adjustment from the steering column and seat generous. The steering wheel is a highlight in itself with a quality leather finish and broad rim, and the pedal box is nicely centred to allow for left-foot braking when required.


The 2er’s centre console, HVAC controls and touchscreen are logically presented and easy to understand. The technology offered is useful and simple to use on the go, the combination of wireless Apple CarPlay and a quality audio system making longer stints behind the wheel an absolute delight.


The ability to dull down, or even switch off, driver aids selectively is another boon here, the customisation of the M240i cockpit a straightforward task for even the most novice operator. The instrument panel and even the head-up display can be tailored to preference, which in our view helps to blot out unnecessary information and allow the driver to focus on only what’s truly relevant.


Up back, the M240i xDrive offers nearly just 50 litres less luggage space than a 4 Series Coupe (390 litres) meaning there’s plenty of room to pack for a weekend away. The 2 Series offers only a tyre repair kit, however, so it may pay to keep the roadside assistance number handy in the unfortunate event you incur more than a simple puncture.


The G42-series BMW M240i xDrive averaged 10.0 litres per 100km on test, two litres more than the listed combined cycle figure, but in our eyes still very acceptable. Even with premium unleaded petrol prices being what they are, the six-cylinder 2 Series can be filled for just under $115 and return a driving range of over 520km.


Given there isn’t an M2 on the market just yet – and considering just how much more affordable the M240i xDrive is compared to the equivalent 4 Series – this sizzling little box of Bavarian goodness is something of a performance bargain.


Sure, it’s a dearer than the Audi S3 (from $69,900 plus on-road costs) and the Mercedes-AMG A35 4Matic (from $72,500 plus ORCs) but it’s packs a lot more punch (57kW/100Nm in the case of the S3 and 60kW/100Nm in the case of the A35) and is the only contender in its class with a two-door body-style and that gorgeous six-cylinder engine. 

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