I’ve always had a soft spot for all-wheel drive 2 Series’. The BMW M235i xDrive was the very first BMW I was lent by the Bavarian brand itself to review. So I’ve always been a bit fond of it, for sentimental reasons. But it was a great all-around car that I will still defend, despite it not being the enthusiast’s choice. Now, BMW has given that car an update, with a new engine, some new interior bits and some new tech. So is it still the superb all-around sports car I remember? Top Gear seems to think so.

They recently tested the new BMW M240i xDrive and feel that it’s a great sports car to live with everyday. Is it the purest of sports cars? Considering that it’s all-wheel drive and only comes with an automatic gearbox, the answer is no. However, as a car that’s quick, fun to drip, extremely grippy and capable of driving all year long. So as a sports car to own and live with every single day, the BMW M240i xDrive is an impressive car.

Under the hood lies BMW’s new B58 3.0 liter turbocharged I6 engine, which makes 335 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. Thanks to its all-wheel drive grip, it’s actually faster than the rear-wheel drive model. So 0-60 happens in 4.4 seconds, just a touch shy of the hotter, more powerful BMW M2. Plus, its eight-speed automatic gearbox is the best automatic in the business, with silky-smooth, yet rapid-fire shifts. It’s not as instantly rapid as the M2’s DCT option, but it’s smoother and far easier to live with.

Not only does the xDrive all-wheel drive system add traction and performance but it adds safety in bad weather. Rear-drive performance cars are never your best winter vehicles. With winter tires, a rear-drive BMW can handle some decent snow and slush but having two extra driven wheels helps even more. Throw winter tires on the BMW M240i xDrive and you have yourself a very fun winter sports car that won’t bite too hard.

So the xDrive option rids the possibility of a six-speed manual. We recently drove an M240i with a six-speed and really thought it was good fun. But the M240i’s slighter less engaging steering, softer suspension and more livable nature than the BMW M2 make it well-suited for an eight-speed auto and all-wheel drive. Considering that the M240i is more of an everyday sports car anyway, we don’t see why xDrive and an automatic would make it any worse. In fact, it could be even better.

[Source: Top Gear]