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First drive: 2022 BMW M240i xDrive Coupe. Image by Daniel Kraus.

First drive: 2022 BMW M240i xDrive Coupe
BMW reasserts itself with the ace new 2 Series Coupe - here in M240i xDrive guise.

   



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2022 BMW M240i xDrive Coupe

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5

Forget the front-wheel-drive 2 Series Gran Coupe; BMW is keeping it real with this, the new-for-2022 rear-wheel-drive, two-door, 2 Series Coupe. The M240i has all the power you could need, and all the poise to go with it. Assuming you can live with the looks, this is a winner (and might just be better than an M2...).

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: BMW M240i Coupe xDrive
Pricing: 45,795 as tested
Engine: 3.0-litre straight-six turbocharged petrol
Transmission: eight-speed automatic, four-wheel drive
Body style: two-door, four-seat coupe
CO2 emissions: 185-200g/km (895-1,345 in year one)
Combined economy: 34.8-32.1mpg
Top speed: 155mph
0-62mph: 4.3 seconds
Power: 374hp at 5,500-6,500rpm
Torque: 500Nm at 1,900-5,000rpm
Boot space: 390 litres

What's this?

No, your eyes do not deceive you. This is a new BMW without a silly grille. Or, now that we're in the post-M3, post-iX, post-4 Series world, a new BMW without one of the many silly grilles. This is the new 2 Series Coupe, and it's a traditional BMW with a traditional BMW grille - slim and broad, rather than pinched and narrow.

In fact, in styling terms, the new 2 Series Coupe (not to be confused with the four-door, front-wheel-drive, 2 Series Gran Coupe) is even more traditional than you might thing. Take a look at the lights - just the one headlamp unit on each side, rather than the usual quad-light layout. That, says BMW, is because this 2 Series Coupe takes inspiration from the classic 1602 and 2002 models of the late sixties and early seventies, which had but one headlight each side.

The relatively simple, boxy shape is very 1602 as well, but the blistered, boxy wheelarches - most obvious from dead astern - seem to indicate that the BMW design team had some Escort MkII RS1800 pictures tacked to their office walls. While some have - rather unfairly - compared the 2 Series Coupe's styling to Sid the Sloth from the Ice Age films, we think it looks pretty darned good, especially in M240i form as tested here, and especially in the groovy 'Thundernight' purple paint job (sounds like the best AC/DC album that never was...).

Underneath, there's the same CLAR platform that you'll find under the 3 Series and 4 Series, and this M240i uses the same 3.0-litre turbo straight-six petrol engine, developing a robust 374hp. It lacks the clever 48-volt mild-hybrid fuel-saving system of the larger 4 Series Gran Coupe, but it does get the same xDrive four-wheel drive and eight-speed automatic gearbox (no manual unfortunately - you'll have to wait for the new M2 if you want a stick shift).

Inside, the cabin is largely lifted from the current 3 Series and there's nowt wrong with that - everything is really well made (the cabin quality is arguably the biggest advance over the old 2 Series Coupe) and there's a bit more space in the two-seat-only rear compartment, thanks to a 51mm stretch in the wheelbase.

Up front, you'll find BMW's current crop of love-it-or-loathe-it digital instruments, an optional and very impressive new head-up display and a 10.25-inch touchscreen atop the dash, running version 7.0 of BMW's iDrive software (which means you get a 'hey, BMW' digital voice assistant, Amazon Alexa connection and integrated Spotify, as well as a whole heap of online services and the ability to use your Apple iPhone as a smart-key).

How does it drive?

You know how everyone saw the fugly iX electric SUV and watched the awful promo video where it has a sweary argument with an E65 760iL? And we all worried, because of that, that BMW was losing its way? Well, the M240i sets that record straight. Very, very straight.

As soon as you sit in, the M240i just seems to fit snugly around you, like a well-fitted jacket. The front seat is perched a little higher than you might ideally like, but it's comfy and supportive, so that helps. The steering wheel avoids the usual BMW M over-stuffed pillow thing, and feels good. Everything's pretty familiar if you've driven a 3 Series or 4 Series (other than the proximity of the rear screen to the back of your head) so you can just jab the start button and head off.

The first thing that hits you is the acceleration. The M240i in theory, as an M Performance model, is supposed to be less lairy and less aggressive than a proper M car, and for the most part it is. But 374hp is basically the same power output as the outgoing M2 had when it launched, and so this is a bloomin' quick little pocket rocket. Thanks in part to the extra traction of the xDrive system, it flies off the line, headbutts the 62mph benchmark in just 4.3 seconds and, if you've got a handy Autobahn nearby (we were testing the car in Munich, so we did...), it'll keep on going until you run into the speed limiter at 250km/h. At which point it will sit, steady as a rock, intimidating most other traffic out of the overtaking lane. It'll do all that with a wonderfully crisp engine note, with a creamy straight-six induction snarl laid over a steady backbeat of bass exhaust (some of which is aided and abetted by the stereo, but you won't care when it sounds this good). This is a fabulous, wonderful engine.

Thankfully, the rest of the car is up to snuff, too. The M240i feels suitably tight and taut, riding firmly on its springs even with the optional adaptive dampers set to Comfort. In Sport mode, it gets properly hard-edged, possibly a little too much so for British back roads, but just on the right side of acceptable on smooth Bavarian asphalt. Press on, and you can use the pinpoint-accurate steering (which is also blessed with some proper feel and feedback) to point the nose into corners with a series of boxer-like jabs and lunges. This is not a car to sit back and relax in, letting it take the strain - it's so much better when you grab it by the scruff and just go for it.

With xDrive, you're not really going to get the tail moving much. It's a rear-biased system, and one that only brings the front wheels into play when it has to, but even so on dry roads, you'll have to be making lunatic efforts to get the tail to wag. Leave that to track days, perhaps.

For all that performance-focused side, the M240i is still pretty useable. In Comfort mode it's not intolerably rough-edged, and the engine's smooth tractability and 500Nm of torque mean that it's a pretty effortless thing to trundle around in. The 390-litre boot is even quite decent, if a bit shallow for ultimate practicality (although at least this time folding rear seats aren't left to the options list). It's a thirsty bugger, though - BMW reckons on 34mpg, but we struggled to do much better than 26mpg. Some of that may have been down to V-Max Autobahn runs, admittedly...

Verdict

What an absolutely brilliant little thing. As we barrel towards the electric future (and BMW is very much in the vanguard of that, now) thank the Munich M gods that we can still have a car designed around pure, unadulterated, petrol-burning fun like this. The M240i looks way better in person than it does in photos, is practical enough to use every day, but drives with the punchy addictiveness of an old-fashioned rally car when you get it on the right road, all set to the wonderful straight-six soundtrack. M is for Magic.

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 Exterior Design

4 4 4 4 4 Interior Ambience

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 Passenger Space

3 3 3 3 3 Luggage Space

5 5 5 5 5 Safety

3 3 3 3 3 Comfort

5 5 5 5 5 Driving Dynamics

5 5 5 5 5 Powertrain


Neil Briscoe - 18 Nov 2021



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2022 BMW M240i xDrive Coupe. Image by Daniel Kraus.2022 BMW M240i xDrive Coupe. Image by Daniel Kraus.2022 BMW M240i xDrive Coupe. Image by Daniel Kraus.2022 BMW M240i xDrive Coupe. Image by Daniel Kraus.2022 BMW M240i xDrive Coupe. Image by Daniel Kraus.

2022 BMW M240i xDrive Coupe. Image by Daniel Kraus.2022 BMW M240i xDrive Coupe. Image by Daniel Kraus.2022 BMW M240i xDrive Coupe. Image by Daniel Kraus.2022 BMW M240i xDrive Coupe. Image by Daniel Kraus.2022 BMW M240i xDrive Coupe. Image by Daniel Kraus.








 

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