Before BMW debuted its incredibly popular M2, the favorite Bavarian steed among car enthusiasts was the BMW M235i. It was the first in a growing line of M Performance variants of BMW’s standard cars. It wasn’t a full-on M car, despite the many “M” badges trying to convince you that it was, but it had just enough of the M Division baked into it to make it feel special. It was, and still is, one of my favorite modern BMWs.
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For the upcoming G20 generation BMW 3 Series, and the following 4 Series, BMW will be introducing M Performance variants to become the top-end models in each lineup. So instead of the 340i and 440i, they will be the M340i and M440i.
Some BMW fans feel that this is diluting the M brand, as these aren’t proper M cars but have about a zillion M badges throughout, giving them a “psuedo M” feel. However, it’s actually a good move by BMW, because it makes the top-end model a sportier, more high-performance variant without customers having to spend the extra money to get the full-on M3 or M4. Plus, like Audi’s S4 and S5 models and Mercedes-AMG’s new C43 models that compete, it gives BMW’s cars a hint of a higher performance pedigree.
But name jargon and brand values aside, the BMW M235i was a damn good car and the M240i will be even better. BMW’s M Performance treatment makes the standard car drive and so well that the name on the back becomes irrelevant.
The current BMW M240i uses BMW’s new B58 turbocharged 3.0 liter I6 engine, which is simply one of the best engines on the market and possibly the best engine the Bavarians currently make, and it’s likely going to be used in the future 3 and 4 Series M Performance models. Seeing how good it is now and then wondering what kind of potential is has in the future is very exciting. Being that these M340i and M440i models won’t be out for a couple of years, the B58 will only get better in that time.
If BMW’s M Performance treatment can do to the 3 and 4 Series what it did to the 2 Series, then bring it on. We can’t wait.