The 2-series from BMW has carried a blend of affordable capability and premium German feel for less than a decade, and now in the early onset of its second generation, it continues to be a viable option as a one-car solution for the average enthusiast.
Out of Spec Score: 79/100
Amidst the controversial large BMW grills of the new 4-series and beyond, the 2-series prevails with a proper size for the proportions of the car. Now entirely redesigned, the M240i hosts new LED accents front and back, with a new front fascia with aggressive black triangular shapes. The headlight and taillights signatures are fine, though I miss the BMW quad-circles up front, and we felt the rear LED signature is different to a fault. The active kidney grill is closed when parked, with another grill-like intake below it that is almost as big. The hood itself has interesting creases along the sides that seem a bit higher than you would expect.
The side of the car is somewhat bland, lacking aggressive haunches and wheel arches in lieu of minimalist sculpting. There are black side skirts with this M spec, helping to make the side profile appear slimmer than it is. Around back, the aforementioned taillights appear almost upside-down compared to the front LEDs, and they stick out quite a bit from the curvature of the car. The lower diffuser looks great, especially in black. There is also a small molded ducktail spoiler of sorts on the trunk, helping complete the relatively subdued-yet-sporty appearance. All in all, individual aspects of the design and styling rub me the wrong way, but as a complete package, it somehow works quite well.
The interior is a great combination of colors, with contrasting red leather with black and silver accents. The amount of piano black is a bit much, and it may be harder to take care of, but it actually works fairly well especially when you have the large center consul compartment opened, hiding the large black lid. The M colors on the door panel feature a unique design choice, somewhat pixelating the classic stripe of blues and red. There are geometric triangular 3D indents in the plastic of the door. The plastic is not the best material, but BMW did an impressive job to give it character. The red leather forms a shape surrounding the M color designs, culminating in one of my favorite designs I have ever seen on a car door.
The red leather extends to the seats and center armrest, making for an excellent two-tone red and black design in the interior. The front seats and wheel are heated, but there is no ventilated seat optioned on this model. Rear passengers are limited to two vents, but they do have independent control of the temperature therein. Tri-zone climate control in a two door coupe is a welcome and somewhat unique feature.
The back seats are decently comfortable, though at 6 feet tall, my head touches the headliner when leaned back into the seat. My knees are a bit crammed if sitting behind myself, but if the occupant were smaller, it would be absolutely livable. I found it to be more spacious than a Mustang, at least in feel. Being a 2 plus 2, there is no center seat, nor should there be. There lies a small storage tray built into the small space between back seats along with the option to fold down an arm rest with cheap-feeling cupholders.
The M240i puts the 2-series under the M umbrella, with standard M suspension and differential, as well as aero styling elements, M sport wheels, and M sport brakes to complete the package. The inline-6 B58 turbocharged engine provides 382 hp and 369 lb-ft torque, effectively identical to the GR Supra for those paying attention. This propels it to 60 mph in 4.1 seconds, with a limited top speed of 155.
Power is sent through an 8 speed ZF automatic torque-converted transmission, which shifts quickly despite not being dual-clutch. The benefit of not having dual clutch does shine in town at low-speed driving, shifting smoothly and out of your way. The exhaust note is excellent, with some additional sound pumped into the cabin. I was surprised to find it not too annoying, though I wish the amplified level was adjustable.
The xDrive system provides ample confidence in the corners. That combined with 50/50 weight distribution, the M240i rotates very well and predictively. Interestingly, the wheels are 19×8 with a square setup, but the tires themselves are staggered, with 225 width front, 255 width rear, both with an aspect ratio of 40.
Being a 2+2, the M240i isn’t inherently practical. But when compared to something akin to the GR Supra, the back seats are a welcome feature that don’t deter from the performance aspects.
Then there’s the trunk, with 13.8 cubic feet. Again, this is no Grand Coupe sedan, but for a 2-door M-badged coupe, it exceeds most expectations. To put it in perspective again, it is slightly larger than the trunk of the Mustang.
There is decent storage in the front, and it’s plenty comfortable for a trip across the country. On that note of practicality, gas mileage was very impressive on our 70 mph highway MPG test. EPA states 30 mpg highway, and we achieved mid-30s with ease.
Equipped with the latest BMW iDrive infotainment, the M240i hosts an intuitive user interface and great displays all around. Though this did not feature Gesture Control, I didn’t exactly miss it. It’s a fun way to engage with iDrive, but not needed due to the ease of the interface and options to interact therein. The center display is 8.5” and driver display is 8”, both easily legible in broad daylight. Though the center display is smaller than many other BMW offerings, it suits the small coupe well and makes use of great pixel density.
Heads up display is well done, not too big and in your way. The driver and center displays are both great as-is and not extremely customizable, but they show you really everything you need. The fact that you can program the station memory buttons to do things other than just recall stations is great, and allows for the next level of customizing the car to your liking. It is a great implementation and a way to bring prior technology into the modern realm.
The input wheel in the center console is easy to operate without being a distraction while driving, and the screen itself is also a touchscreen when all else fails. It is very responsive, with little startup time needed when the car turns on. Wireless Apple CarPlay is also very fast to connect, and you can leave your phone on the Qi charger in the front of the center console.
The Harman Kardon sound brings over 200W through 10 speakers, and sounds quite good. The bass is still a bit imprecise, but given the size of the car, it felt a bit tighter than it did in the X5 xDrive45E recently tested.
M Performance has a legacy, and I am somewhat disappointed at how many models can wear the badge. This is of course no M2, nor does it pretend to be, but it holds its own as an enticing one-car solution. The xDrive system and weight distribution pair nicely with the tried and true inline-6 for an engaging drive in all foreseeable environments. We don’t test many cars that hold their own in both canyon blasts and highway driving, but I would gladly take this on a thousand mile trip in a heartbeat. Practicality and comfort are on point barring larger familial needs.
The steering may be a bit disconnected, and the styling is subjective to say the least, but it was a car we enjoyed in all of our testing. If you need more performance, a true M car will appease that need, but at the potential expense of daily usability. My one-car solution would be something akin to the BMW M240i. Priced as tested at roughly $55,000, it carries a unique value proposition that enthusiasts would be remiss to overlook.
- Exterior design 7.5/10
- Interior design 9/10
- Materials 8/10
- Build quality 8/10
- Comfort 7.5/10
- Capacity 7.5/10
- Acceleration 8/10
- Handling 8/10
- Efficiency 8/10
- Connected services 8/10
- UI/UX 7/10
- Active Safety 7/10
Editor’s Assessment 8.3/10
- Value 8/10
- Market placement 8/10
- Editors Influence 9/10