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BMW M240i xDrive review

BMW just turned up the temperature with the latest 2 Series Coupé.

The BMWM240i xDrive in Thundernight Purple.

The BMWM240i xDrive in Thundernight Purple.

Throughout the years, BMW's lineage has featured a swathe of illustrious compact two-door coupés, and aiming to be the latest addition to that line-up is the hottest 2 Series Coupé currently on sale – the 374hp M240i xDrive. Can this performance-focused model follow in the footsteps of some of the greats?

BMW expect the new M240i to account for at least a quarter of all 2 Series sales.

Despite being new, the M240i has some similar characteristics to previous models and also takes some design cues from BMWs of old, which is no bad thing. In fact, by fusing together that combination, the M240i is fresh and modern, and heralds a new chapter in premium compact models. There's no denying that the new M240i is a head turner. When I was driving the car, several people stopped to take photographs, admiring its styling and unique Thundernight Purple colour.

Rather than completely changing the rulebook, BMW have been prudent in their construction of the new M240i, by utilising the underpinnings and platform from the current 3 and 4 Series models, and, rather than a rear-wheel drive set-up, beefing it up with the four-wheel drive system synonymous with the xDrive name.

The M240i Coupé embodies sporting prowess in a particularly concentrated form, by being focused on dynamic excellence, sleek design and sophisticated chassis technology. It's a stylish looking car with smooth lines, not to mention a commanding presence on the road.

There's a newly designed kidney grille with vertically arranged air flaps in place of the classic grille and the individual circular headlights recall the legendary BMW 02 models from the mid-1960s. The rear lights are three-dimensionally sculpted and stand out against the spoiler lip on the boot, and along with the pronounced wheel arch flaring, give the rear a powerful look.

The close relationship with the 4 Series is apparent almost as soon as you step inside. The driver-focused premium dashboard layout, which is subtly angled towards the driver, has a neatly integrated combined 12.3-inch digital drivers display and a 10.2-inch touchscreen. Both screens utilise the latest technology, are crystal clear and are easy to navigate and use. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto sync up seamlessly.

As it's a two-door, the front seats easily move forward to access the rear. And while the rear seating is comfortable, it's a little restrictive for adults. However, for the size of car, the boot is both useful and practical, offering 390 litres of space, 20 litres more than the previous model.

As soon as you accelerate, you feel the power of the turbocharged 3.0-litre powertrain, in-line straight six being deployed. 0-62mph is 4.3 seconds with a top speed of 155mph, and with the addition of the four-wheel drive system, stability and grip is excellent. The eight-speed Steptronic Sport gearbox is standard throughout the range and offers a smooth and responsive drive with no lag between shifts. Combined fuel consumption is approximately 32-35mpg with CO2 emissions at 185-200g/km.

The M240i sounds great, its bassy murmur at low revs becomes a roar at higher revs as you work your way through the automatic gearbox. However, if you choose to use manual mode, from the paddle shifters behind the steering wheel, you can adjust the roar until your heart's content.

Despite being a performance car, the M240i is also a great cruiser. Irrespective if it's on the open road, motorway or country lanes, it's agile, perfectly balanced and controlled. It is a hugely confident, competent and impressive car.

It's surprisingly quiet on the road, despite its lower profiles and performance, though, when you accelerate, the engine roar does kick in.

There are four drive mode settings; Adaptive – automatically adjusts settings as you drive; Eco Pro –when you want to look after your consumption; Comfort – softer balance and lighter steering and Sport – stiffens dampeners, steering and suspension.

Despite being based on the underpinnings of the 4 Series architecture, with a shorter wheelbase, it's lower and wider than its predecessor. The M240i offers an excellent ride with a sharp and engaging drive. The Coupé comes with standard features, including: model-specific version of M Sport suspension, additional front axle struts, M Sport brakes and M Sport differential at the rear. The suspension is better than that of its predecessor with the new M240i showing more composure, maturity and comfort.

One of the benefits of the M240i's platform is the advanced tech that it shares, from adaptive cruise control which allows the car to stop in traffic, driver assistance systems and a heads-up display.

As standard, there's a plethora of safety features, including: front collision warning, lane departure warning and cruise control with brake function. Lane change warning, rear collision prevention, reversing assistant, surround view and park distance control are all optional.

There are four option packages available – M Technology, Comfort, Technology and Pro Pack, each with their own advancements, tech upgrades and additional customisations.

The M240i comes with a multitude of features as standard including: 19-inch M alloys, part Alcantara and leather upholstery, front M Sport seats, built-in sat nav, adaptive LED headlights, three-zone climate control and front heated seats.

Prices start from £45,965 or £1,999 deposit with £639 per month.

So, the question stands, does it follow in the footsteps of its spiritual forebears – the answer is yes, it does. This is a cracking sports coupé, which delivers a strong performance on the road, an engaging drive mixed with practicality and usability. The new M240i xDrive delivers on all fronts.

About the Author

Colin Cumming