- Good to drive
- Striking looks
It is the most asked question of a motoring hack – what is the best car you have driven?
Usually, the said writer will struggle to name a single car and explain that there are several seriously good motors, depending on your individual needs.
But having spent some time in the company of the recently introduced BMW M240i, such is the all-round excellence of this two-door coupé it will keep pace with many supercars despite carrying a price tag of below £50,000 at the time of testing.
Design and Practicality
The 2 Series Coupé is a smaller cousin to the 4 Series, yet can still carry four, although those in the rear will have to be fairly flexible getting in and exiting out. Those up front are well catered for with ample space and a beautifully crafted facia, supportive black leather sports seating with blue stitching complete with electric adjustment.
For such a short four-seat body, the boot is really generously sized and can absorb nearly 400 litres of luggage, making the M240i xDrive a genuine grand tourer. The rear seats also flip down to accommodate longer loads.
Styling tends to be a personal view, but we felt the M240i works better from some angles rather than others. From the front it looks squat and purposeful with gently flared wheel arches and a bulging bonnet, but from the rear it tends to appear a tad awkward and not quite so well-balanced as the graceful 4 Series Coupé.
Colour plays an important role here, and the model we borrowed was in thundernight, a sort of dark purplish blue. Maybe a lighter shade would be more becoming.
Equipment and Technology
Plenty of standard kit comes on the M240i including air con, sat nav, an alarm system and memory seats, but the loan car also came with a technology pack of which the head-up display was a very useful feature, especially as a means to keep a close eye on the speed.
Engine and Performance
In these times of electrification, 3-cylinder units and scaled down power plants, the M240i’s 3.0-litre, turbocharged straight-six stands out like a wolf among sheep. And its barn-storming acceleration continues that metaphor.
It will surge from 0 to 62mph in a fraction more than 4.0 seconds putting it in Porsche 911/McLaren territory – cars that cost two or three times as much.
And with four-wheel drive it has no trouble in feeding that power on to the Tarmac in undramatic, lethally-efficient fashion.
Meanwhile, the ride is calm and composed, but stiff enough to resist body roll and the steering is beefy and precise, though it does lack the sensitivity of say a Porsche or a Jaguar F-TYPE. Throttle response is immediate and furious.
The accompanying sound is a satisfying snarl, which is amplified if ‘sport’ or ‘sport plus’ is selected on the central panel. The twin clutch automatic gearbox changes are superfast. Quicker than anyone can manage manually.
Obviously, with copious power, it is unlikely to be hugely economical. Nevertheless, we easily attained 28 to 30mpg and on one long run reached an average of 32mpg. Show it some twisty bends and make full use of the excellent paddle gear change, and consumption increases by up to 10mpg.
As practical and family friendly as many hatchbacks and quicker than many full-on sports cars yet with an acceptable price tag, the M240i xDrive takes a bit of beating.
The looks may divide opinion, but with a striking and refined interior, you will be more than happy behind the wheel. And with all-wheel drive performance, the speed and poise of the M240i xDrive can be used all year round with no problems.