BMW has really come good with the M240i, a cracker of a performance coupe that packs a 374hp punch, looks the part and gains xDrive 4WD in this smarter second generation form. With this one, the game just changed for the better.
If you see yourself as a bit of a car enthusiast, BMW's M240i badge might mean something to you. In 2014, when the brand's 'F22' generation 2 Series Coupe was first introduced, the hot six cylinder version was the M235i, which was the fastest model in the range until the M2 arrived in 2015. But that car was a big step up in price, if not in power. A better stepping stone to it was needed, hence the M235i model's upgrade to 'M240i' status in 2017. Enough with the history. Fast forward to 2022 and the launch of the 'G42' second generation 2 Series coupe. Again, there's still a delay with the introduction of an M2 version. Which means that the stepping stone model comes to the fore, still badged 'M240i' but now with an xDrive 4WD system. So you can enjoy all of that six cylinder power rush just that little bit more.
This may not be a proper M car but it most certainly has proper BMW underpinnings. Most enthusiasts for the brand had resigned themselves to the fact that the second generation 2 Series Coupe would, like the current 1 Series and the four-door 2 Series Gran Coupe, switch to the MINI-derived front-driven platform. Not so. BMW has instead kept this MK2 two-door Coupe 2 Series rear-driven, with a stretched version of the architecture used in the current G20 3 Series model. Which is a Good Thing. So is the fact that the 3.0-litre straight six beneath the bonnet is merely a light evolution of the powerplant used in the previous generation model. Here it generates 374hp, which despite the fact that this second generation design is 205kg heavier, still propels this car forward with indecent haste, 62mph from rest taking just 4.3s, with peak power available from under 2000rpm. That 4WD system makes this car so much more everyday-usable in our nation's unpredictable climate, with superb grip aided by sticky Pirelli P Zero rubber and an M Sport differential for extra cornering traction. The 8-speed ZF Sport Automatic paddle shift gearbox you have to have can occasionally be frustrating with its downshifts. But the red-callipered M Sport brakes are brilliant, as is the feelsome Variable Sport steering. And the M Sport suspension is firm but acceptably supple. Do you really need an M2 over this car? Think carefully.
The M240i is this time a slightly larger and certainly more modern-looking coupe - it has to be a coupe because there's no Convertible body style option this time round. The Coupe we're left with is now 4,537mm long and 1,838mm wide but is 28mm shorter than its predecessor, standing 1,390mm tall. M240i-spec gets you 19-inch M Double Spoke bi-colour alloy wheels and a whole range of exterior features finished in Cerium Grey, including the exhaust tailpipe finishers, the front bumper air inlet embellishers, the front grille frame, the exterior mirror caps and the badge work. There's also High-Gloss Shadowline exterior trim, M Sport exterior styling and a colour-coded M Sport rear spoiler. Inside, the M240i is set apart by front M Sport seats trimmed in Vernasca leather, M seat belts and an M Sport leather steering wheel. As with other 2 Series Coupe models, you get a driver-focused dashboard which shares much with 3 and 4 Series models, pairing a 12.3-inch centre screen with a 10.25-inch digital instrument panel, complete with M Sport graphics.. A 51mm wheelbase length increase means there's more space in the back than they used to be. And there's a decently-sized 390-litre boot, extendable with a folding backrest.
This M240i xDrive variant costs from around £46,000. This figure represents a bit of a step up from the previous generation model but it does include a higher standard of trim. Standard equipment includes all of the bespoke M240i styling and luxury features we detailed for you in our 'Design' section, plus much more. Tick off Adaptive LED headlights with a High Beam Assistant, LED tail lamps, auto headlamps and wipers, cruise control and 'Drive Performance Control' with 'ECO PRO', 'Comfort' and 'Sport' modes. Inside the 'Live Cockpit Professional' screen package includes full-Navigation, 'Apple CarPlay' and 'Android Auto' smartphone-mirroring, a HiFi loudspeaker audio set-up with a DAB Quadruple tuner, 4G LTE Connectivity and the brand's intuitive 'BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant' voice control system. You also get BMW's 'Connected Music', 'Connected Parking', 'Real Time Traffic Information' and 'Concierge Services'. A key option is Adaptive M suspension, which offers a wide spread between sporty and comfort-orientated responses. Luxury options include a glass slide/tilt electric sunroof that's 20% larger than before. There's also now a much wider range of driver assistance systems, including Front Collision Warning autonomous braking and a package of optional camera driven 'Driving Assistance' features.
What about the WLTP figures? Well, with this M240i xDrive model, you're looking at up to 34.9mpg and 185g/km. What else might you need to know? Well because this M240i now costs way over £40,000, your Vehicle Excise Duty will cost £450 a year for the first five years of ownership. Bear that in mind when adding in extras. On to the warranty package. BMW's warranty only lasts for three years but it includes an Emergency breakdown service and at least it isn't mileage limited - unlike the comparable package you'd get as standard with a rival Audi. You can of course extent the warranty with either monthly or annual payments. There's a three year paintwork warranty and the usual 12 year anti-corrosion warranty. As for the insurance group, well you're looking at group 37E. Routine maintenance is dictated by 'Condition Based Servicing' that monitors oil level and engine wear, taking into account how long it's been and how far the car has travelled since its previous garage visit. You can check all of this using menus in the 'iDrive' centre-dash display and the car will give you four weeks' notice of when a check-up is needed so you have plenty of time to book it. To help plan ahead for the cost of regular work, at point of purchase you'll be offered a 'BMW Service Inclusive' package that lasts for three years and 36,000 miles.
We don't think this is too bold a prediction, but this second generation BMW M240i looks set to become one of the most well-regarded BMW sporting models of recent times. Put simply, it barely puts a foot wrong. The price is right, it's crushingly quick, reasonably efficient and it looks.... well, it's good-looking enough that you won't need to make apologies for it when it's standing on your driveway. Most importantly, BMW has managed to combine these talents and pitch the car right into a sweet spot in the market where few direct key rivals exist. If you felt that the BMW M3, and latterly the M4, had become just too powerful and expensive to be of any real relevance, you're going to adore the M240i. If you gave any BMW fan a wish list and asked them to build the perfect car given the company's current resources, it probably wouldn't be too far off this one. Maybe a few grand cheaper, but you can't have everything. Even as it stands, this is the performance coupe that many prospective BMW M2 Competition customers should really choose - but probably won't. You now know better.