I’ve always considered the BMW 2 Series Coupe (and 1 Series that preceded it), to be the perfect first car. Good looking, nimble (and fast in M trim), it also had a majority of the tech and luxury available on higher models. What more could you need for your first ride? Now, the 2 Series is all-new. Does it fix some of the issues from the F22 generation?
BMW M240i Coupe overview
What were some of those issues? Typical F-generation criticism like numb steering and a cheap-looking (and cramped) interior. But beyond that, it was one of the best BMWs from a driver engagement standpoint, and it could be had with a stick in M240i trim.
Now, the stick goes away (wait for the M2 if you want one). So does the convertible. The same B58 turbo six is carried over from the F22, now rated at 382 horses. The amazing ZF 8-speed auto is here, and at least for now, xDrive is the only available configuration.
The Coupe shares absolutely nothing with the 2 Series Gran Coupe, which is a front-wheel drive-based disaster.
Performance: 7. M2 beater.
Walk up to the 2 Series from the front, and its aggressive triangle intakes, classic-looking headlights and power dome give it a look you’d expect from a small sports coupe. Approach from the rear, and it’s clear that another controversial design from the Bavarians has escaped the studio. But this isn’t as polarizing as the M3’s front end.The new M240i also gets Shadowline Black trim around the bottom edge of the car. It is as pointless here as in the M3, but at least you can’t tell in this Black Sapphire Metallic.
Fire up the inline-six, and you’re greeted with that typical warm growl from the B58. I know and love this engine, and in the M240i it provides acceleration on par with the old M2. xDrive gives you a great launch, the auto fires off up-shifts like it’s a DCT, and there’s plenty of grip and balance as you turn in. This is despite a hefty curb weight of over 3,800 lbs.
About that old M2. Faced with the choice of selecting a new M240i or a used F87 M2, the 40i is the one you’d want. We’ll get to why in a minute.
The new 2 is a much more engaging car than the M340i, with more steering feedback through the wheel and more starch in the suspension. Choose your rubber carefully; this car should come with summer tires only. The chassis has grip to spare, and all-seasons just don’t have the level of adhesion the M240i wants. But it’s still not a true M car, so think more road than track. It’s missing the full precision and sharpness that an M has, especially at its limit. Wait for the M2 if tracking the car is in your plans.
Utility score: 6. Tight space requires grace.
Kudos to BMW for continuing to make a true coupe. In this price range, Audi’s S3 is a four-door (as is Mercedes’ offering), Nissan’s Z is just a two-seater, and the Toyoburu twins are smaller and don’t match the performance of the M240i. The 2 is the most practical of the offerings if you want the style of two doors.
Still, the back seat is tight on legroom and turns it into more of a padded shelf. You can use them in a pinch, or if you’re friends are particularly graceful at maneuvering into tight spaces. Moving up to the 4 Series isn’t going to help you much. There’s more legroom, but less headroom.
A good-sized trunk is able to accommodate plenty of daily life, but a hatch will always be the more practical choice.
Efficiency: 7. Eco-Go.
These cars are getting so good at delivering performance and efficiency, even with all-wheel drive. The M240i continues the theme with 26 mpg averaged. You can be picky and say that its 13.7-gallon tank is on the small side, but for what may be BMW’s last new gas-only powered coupe, it’s great.
Features and Comfort: 8. An improvement in every way.
Back to the old 2 Series. It’s always been a parts-bin car so to speak, but in the prior generation, those parts were not very high in quality on the inside. The driver’s seat was canted toward the center console a bit, and the A-pillar blocked the view if you were on a track looking into a turn. The dashboard was tiny, with smaller gauges than you might find in a 3 Series of the same vintage. And the M2 was harsh to live with every day, something no other M car required of you.
All this goes away on the new M240. It’s a 7/8ths scale replica of the cockpit inside my M3, and I love the interior there. A unique touch on the 2 are M stripes on the door panels (a $300 option) and oddly reversed in color from the typical M stripe. The M240 also gets a subtle but important change to get inside – flush door handles. Every BMW as far back as I can remember has had grab handles outside, but the new i4 debuted flush handles that carry to the 2 Series.
Otherwise, you get everything you need, from Apple CarPlay to the Digital Dash, even blue contrast stitching on the leather sport seats.
The BMW M240i isn’t a real M car, and that’s ok.
If you’re considering buying one of these, I applaud you. But this review is meant as much for the kid who’s about 12 right now. The M240i is going to make a heck of a car second-hand.
If there is a real need for the true M version, wait for the M2. But you’d be depriving yourself of a car that has the same performance as last year’s M in a much more complete package.