I feel like I’ve said it a hundred times recently – maybe it’s because I’ve reviewed six or seven of their cars in the last six months (which represents 0.3% of their total number of nameplates) – but I always think that BMW’s lost its way. At one point, I thought it was the larger cars that was the issue. Then, I drove the 740Le and X7 and well, no that’s not it. Then, I thought it was the SUVs. Drove the X1 and X7, and again, that’s not it. I didn’t much care for the 530e so maybe this is culprit…
Most recently, I spent a week with the 2018 BMW M240i and have come to the conclusion that I’ve all but lost my mind. People, hear me now: The $47,300 M240i is the most fun you can legally have in public, with your clothes on and on your own. This is an extremely special automobile.
And yet, by looking at it, if briskly, you’ll spot nothing more than a regular run-of-the-mill 2 Series BMW. Upon closer, much closer, inspection, you’ll notice the M aerodynamics package up front from the larger air inlets. You might spot the “M” badges on the flanks and perhaps a few other touches like the blue calipers but that’s about it.
The M240i is about as German-subtle as a car can be. The plain-Jane Sunset Orange envelope covers what is otherwise a weapon of mass-kilometer consumption. In the spirit of spending time at the wheel, BMW’s insured that the driver-focused cockpit serve only said driver in the most effective way possible.
The dashboard is devoid of excess while the top-mounted 8.8” screen displays the important stuff. Speaking of which, the gorgeous traditional BMW instrument cluster fits this car like any dress does on Jennifer Lawrence. The steering wheel is perfect – this is place conceived with driving in mind. Thank you, BMW.
Here, we’ll agree that the BMW 2 Series Coupe is designed and destined for two passengers. Not that you can’t bring another two friends with you (this is a 4-seater, FYI), it’s just that they’ll have to be short so that the snug leg- and headroom not be a big issue. The trunk is better than decent thanks to its width and reasonable depth.
That’s nice and all but it’s up front, specifically in the driver’s seat, where attention must be focused. The 2018 BMW M240i includes standard M Sport Seats for the ideal balance of support and comfort. The lower seat cushion extends for ideal lower-leg support. The driving position is as close to custom-made as can be. There are some spots for phones and keys, and a pair of cupholders. I think…
In my video, I dare to draw a comparison with the all-mighty M2. Before I further dig my own hole, know that I cannot think of a car that competes directly with the M240i. The Porsche 718 Cayman maybe, but it’s M2 money. The Mercedes-AMG C 43 4MATIC Coupe is also nearly M2 money, has AWD and is much larger. The Audi S3’s a sedan with AWD and short on power, the Lexus RC is a bad joke, as is the Infiniti Q60. What does that leave? A Ford Mustang? A Chevy Camaro? Unless my brain’s booked a flight to Alaska without me, that’s it.
The 2018 BMW M240i, with its base price of $47,300, is as unique as it is special. And at that price, without the Enhanced Premium super luxo twin-bubble gilded roof with hi-fi stereo and all that nonsense, is 90% of the M2 is, at $64,400.
My tester included the Premium thing, the H&K audio system, Jet Black 18” wheels, and the only worthy option, the M Performance exhaust, and it retailed for about $56,600. In my video, I mention the exhaust but forget to tally its price into the final purchase price.
Standard with the BMW M240i is an M Performance TwinPower Turbo inline 6-cylinder 3.0-litre engine that produces 335-horsepower and 369 lb.-ft. of torque from 1,520 rpm to 4,500 rpm. The only way someone should get this car is with the heavy but rewarding 6-speed manual gearbox which can only send the power to the rear wheels.
This. Is. A. True. BMW.
This is the direct descendant of the famed and fabulous 2002. I suck because I’ve never driven one but from what I’ve read over the years, it doesn’t get any closer. The sole caveat is the car’s 1,600 kg curb weight, or nearly twice that of the 2002.
Be that as it may, the 50/50 weight distribution, superb chassis and Adaptive M suspension (lowers the car by 10mm) make short work of any and all undesired jolts, body roll and other whatnots. No matter the drive mode, the car finds the ideal blend of damping while the variable sport steering dials in the rest. The brakes are superb, and this leads us the car’s sweet spot.
The I6 turbo is melodious, mellow and monstrously powerful. I know I shouldn’t alliterate like this, but I did… It pulls strongly from not and keeps going. It’ll only stop when you release the throttle, clutch and select the next gear. Rinse, and repeat. I’ll admit that much dexterity is required to fully exploit the car’s power, as in attempting to hit 100 km/h in 4,6 seconds requires quite the touch. Heel and toe-ing does not however.
This car’s RWD configuration is alive, and happy to do its thing. It communicates, manages the power and ensures maximum momentum at all times. It makes you feel alive.
Yes, the 2018 BMW M240i with the manual gearbox is a sweet and special automobile. It’s also unique and mark my words, it will quickly become a highly desirable piece in the near future.