BMW customers in Europe face a delightful problem at the moment. In America, the only small, fast BMW we get is the BMW M240i. It’s a great car that we’re big fans of. However, in Europe, they get to small, fast BMWs, the aforementioned M240i and the BMW M140i. The latter, European-only, car is a hatchback, while the former is a coupe. Both share their chassis and powertrains so they’re remarkably similar. They both have the same B58 3.0 liter turbocharged engine with e40 hp and are both equally as fast. But how to they compare to each other on the road?
EVO Magazine recently put both cars back-to-back to see which is the better small BMW. Oddly enough, there are actually enough differences between the two cars to justify buying one over the other.
For starters, there’s the practicality. Obviously, the M140i is going to be more practical than the M240i. It’s not even just the body styles either. The M140i comes in either three or five-door hatchback configurations, while the M240i only comes in a two-door coupe style. This makes the M140i more spacious and more usable for a small family.
However, that extra weight over the rear axle of the M140i actually causes it to handle a bit differently. That extra weight causes the rear end to become more easily upset over rough pavement and harder to control. If you slide in the M140i, it’s harder to regain composure than in the M240i. The coupe sibling is the more easily controllable of the two, in terms of the rear end.
Another place where the two cars differ is in their market. The BMW M140i tends to compete with cars like the Ford Focus RS and Volkswagen Golf R. While those cars are both excellent all-wheel drive hot hatches, the M140i is the only rear-wheel drive model so it tends to stand out a bit. However, those cars offer a bit more of a price/performance/practicality value proposition. The M140i is great, but so are those other two cars and they’re both cheaper. Whereas the BMW M240i has to compete with the likes of the Audi TTS, which is more expensive, less powerful and less dynamic. So in their respective fields, the M240i seems like the better deal.
In a nutshell, if you can afford the more expensive BMW M240i coupe, in terms of both money and lifestyle, it’s the better car to drive. However, if you wanna save some cash and need the extra space, the BMW M140i offers an excellent alternative that’s only slightly compromised, in terms of handling, but has the extra practicality you might need.