For the first time since I’ve been reviewing cars, I will start off with the conclusion. So if you stop reading after this first paragraph, then at least you’d be left with this: The new BMW M240i is one of the last enthusiast-oriented BMWs, powered by a combustion engine. Its sole purpose is to put a smile on your face as you fly through the racetrack’s chicanes, while still aiding in day-to-day duties.
Now if you make it past the first paragraph, allow me to explain why the new BMW M240i Coupe is a future classic and a unique proposition, not only in the BMW lineup, but also in the segment.
Sports Car Looks
Appearance-wise, the BMW M240i is arguably the brand’s best looking sportscar. It features the iconic sleek silhouette of BMW compact sports coupes, paired with a long and powerful hood, short overhands and wide hips worthy of its M badge. While not a fully-fledged M-car like the M2 Competition, the M240i still hints at its performance through an understated and yet quirky design. It also stands out on its own in a lineup of BMW cars which is more controversial than ever. And, of course, the controversy has not escaped the new 2 Series Coupe either.
The funky and busy front-end, paired with an odd styling of the taillights, is certainly controversial when compared directly with its predecessor, but at the same, it’s a fresh take on a retro-modern design which aims to take us back to the BMW 2002 times. Yet, once you see the car on the track, the design choices take a step back.
Engine Steals the Show
The most defining aspect of the BMW M240i is without a doubt the engine. It is powered — likely for the last time — by a six-cylinder turbo engine which has a proven track record, delivering a smooth and linear power across a wide rpm band. And if that’s enough, then ask yourself this question: how many cars of this size can brag about having six cylinders?
As always, the M240i’s B58 engine is a 3.0 liter turbocharged inline-six makes 382 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. It’s only paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and xDrive all-wheel drive. No manual option will be available in any market, sadly. It also doesn’t come with the same mild-hybrid system as the M440i, which honestly doesn’t make much of a difference.
What’s most important is its performance. The B58 engine is among the best six-cylinder engines on the market and its power delivery is incredible. By our rough measurement, using the car’s own speedometer, we were able to observe a 0-60 mph time of 4.1 seconds. Though, due to the power/weight ratio, I think it could get under four seconds, in ideal conditions and with accurate timing gear. However, even our observed time is faster than BMW’s claimed time of 4.3 seconds.
It’s also not surprising that the development of the new 2 Series Coupe was carried out alongside the Z4 Roadster. The fun and nimble roadster shares a lot of its DNA — and parts of course — with the 2 Series Coupe. Firstly, they are both built on the same CLAR architecture. Secondly, they feature the same engine in the M Performance variants, and lastly, they share the same front and multi-link rear suspension. The new setup allows for a 30-degree negative camber at the front axle therefore maximizing the tire contact patch when it’s most needed – under load and during hard cornering,
Being slightly heavier, the BMW M240i Coupe comes with additional stiffening parts, including stiffer rear axle bushings. Overall, the new BMW M240i is 12-percent stiffer than its predecessor. And that will prove to be quite obvious when flying through the technical track corners at Thermal Club.
A Proper Track Weapon
While it’s not as popular at track days as the M2 Competition, the BMW M240i, especially in its new and improved configuration, can certainly hold its own. So I had no choice but to beg BMW for some track time in the new G42 model. A quick flight over to Palm Springs brings me to the Thermal Club where a large fleet of BMW cars awaits for journalists.
Among them, the 2022 BMW M240i Coupe xDrive in Thundernight Metallic. The car needs no introduction to me, especially since I had the chance to drive it on the road before. More on that in a little bit. For now, we’re going to talk about my time on track. Seat adjustments, check. Steering position, check. SPORT PLUS, check. And off I go.
Not even in my second lap and I can quickly claim that this new BMW M240i is a fantastic track car and absolute joy to toss around in corners. It is also by far more car than I can handle today and certainly a step up over the previous model. Compared to other newer BMWs, this compact coupe still feels very analog in comparison, and worthy of the M badge on the boot. And while the M badge might not read M2 Competition, it is comparable in performance and driving experience.
Close To The M2’s Limits
It’s clear that BMW has brought the new G42 M240i Coupe close to the limits of the current generation M2 Competition, therefore leaving a bigger gap opened for the upcoming G87 M2. So you can imagine what’s in store for us in 2022.
I’m a few laps in and my confidence in the car’s abilities has considerably increased. I can now spend the time trying different setups for the suspension, steering and chassis, trying to find that sweet spot for me. And even though I always end up in the highest SPORT PLUS setting, the M240i Coupe surprises me with its smooth and linear movements, in contrast with the harsher and more aggressive style of the M2.
The body roll is almost non-existent despite pushing the car quite aggressively into hairpins and chicanes. The M Adaptive Suspension is loaded, but the dampers do a great job adapting to the track conditions. The xDrive system and limited slip differential are more superb than ever, providing impressive amounts of grip even at high cornering speeds. The rear is still tail-happy, a statement to the power going mostly to the rear wheels, but at no point do you feel like you’re losing control of the car. If I there was one thing that impressed me most about my experience with the M240i, it’d be its impressive level on traction on corner-exit.
The throttle response is now at its highest level in SPORT PLUS allowing for some quick taps of power when needing to control the wheel spin. The shifting is precise and smooth, and certainly feels more polished than in the outgoing model. But it’s the steering feedback that impresses me the most.
The Electric Power Steering (EPS) will never be as analog as the mechanical steering, but it is now almost as good as it can ever get. So while it might not have the old school tactile feeling, it is certainly more precise than ever, heavier than in the previous generation and more eager to turn-in with ease. The greater negative camber camber up front, which is intended to give better cornering stability, might look like insignificant data on paper, but on the track, its effect on the ride quality is noticeable.
Out of all the new BMW models I drove on track that day, the new 2022 BMW M240i Coupe stood out, without comparison. And I drove some pretty fast and spectacular cars: from the new M3 and M4 xDrive, to the rear-wheel drive version of them and to the unbelievably fast BMW M5 CS.
It is not only more fun to toss around in corners, but it’s the one that keeps that analog driving experience alive in a BMW. And until the new BMW M2 arrives, the M240i Coupe will be the king of the most fun driving experience.
The Perfect Daily Driver
Naturally, just like with the previous generation, the new BMW M240i Coupe xDrive will spend most of its life as a daily driver. So in a sense, it is far more important to deliver on the expectations of a daily driving machine. And this is where the new driving modes come into play. Just like with most new BMWs, the engineers in Munich decided to widen the gap between COMFORT and the SPORT PLUS modes.
By now you’re probably familiar with BMW’s way of altering the car’s DNA. You can simply toggle a switch in the center console and alter the throttle, steering, gearbox and suspension settings. In city driving, the new BMW M240i Coupe shines in the COMFORT mode by delivering a smooth and predictable driving experience. The suspension smoothens out any imperfections in the road, the steering feedback is a bit more relaxed while the throttle is not as twitchy. All these things deliver a technical package that turn the M240i Coupe into a perfect daily driver.
A simple toggle into the SPORT PLUS and the car’s character changes completely, but without the unpredictably dual nature of the M2 Competition, for example. Yet, if you’re looking for the perfect setup, just pick the Adaptive Mode and that will effortless handle any driving situation without sacrifices.
The suspension and chassis setup shine once again by soaking up any bumps in the road, and that’s a testament of the number of years and effort that goes into the development of a new BMW.
The Last Of Its Kind
Along with the upcoming BMW M2 G87, the new BMW 2 Series Coupe is the last hooray before the predictable move into the field of electrified drivetrains. There is very little doubt that the next generation 2 Series Coupe will not have an electric or electrified components, so this G42 2 Series generation will certainly become a collector’s item and a novelty in the world of electric cars. Decades from now, future generations will look upon this 2 Series Coupe the same way we do today with the likes of the E30s and E36s.
So if you’re looking to own a piece of BMW history, without paying the classic car prices, an investment now in the BMW M240i Coupe might be a smart choice. And even if you only keep this sports coupe for a few years, I guarantee you that it will serve you well and put a smile on your face. Every day…