If you’ve been following our reviews you’d be more than familiar with the BMW M range by now, but does an ‘M-light’ really have the potential to be the best vehicle in the BMW sportscar lineup this year? We’ve had the chance to peel back the curtain on one of the most exciting sports cars on the market right now to unearth what truly makes the M240i special, and if it’s a preview of what’s to come from the next-generation BMW M2 – oh boy will that car be bonkers. Let’s check out what makes the 2022 BMW M240i tick.
BMW M240i Performance
What Engine Does it Have?
It’s crazy to think that a BMW ‘M-light’ (not a real M car by definition) can hold its own in a straight line against the top of the food chain hyper hatches – Audi’s RS3 and Mercedes A45 AMG – but the M240i with its new xDrive (4WD) system takes it to the pack of hatches like a bull at a gate. It’s rapid, and while it mightn’t have the gut-wrenching speed between corners like the BMW M4 Competition convertible we drove the week before, the wheelbase and nimbleness of the chassis make it feel just as quick.
The numbers back it up too, 0-100km/h takes 4.3-seconds (although plenty tested it quicker) and the power output of the B58 inline 6-cylinder engine is turned up to a stout 285kW @ 5800rpm – a figure that’s only 10kW less than the first-generation BMW M2. You get the same low down grunt we’ve come to expect from modern ‘M’ badged cars, with torque figures of 500Nm @ 1900-5000rpm. All of this power is sent through the invariable 8-speed ZF automatic gearbox.
If you were to summarise it in one sentence, the M240i is a lighter, faster, and more nimble M440i (although it’s still bloated). And that makes sense because after all, they share the same engine and drivetrain.
How Does it Handle?
We’d been in and out of M cars all month and it was surprisingly pleasant to jump in something a little smaller. The bonkers M4 Competition is uber-quick, but it’s also a lot of car for the road with only 70% of the performance available in any given situation. The same can be said for the M440i whose wheelbase is 110mm longer than the M240i which in turn offers less response overall. The BMW M240i on the other hand is a cleanse we needed, and while it mightn’t be anywhere near as capable, there’s still plenty of fun to be had in something this size.
It’s so well composed on bumpy roads. Fast, slow, or anywhere in between, it’s a comfortable driving sportscar that shrinks around you and asks to be pushed at any given opportunity. You have confidence throwing it into a corner because of the front end grip provided by the xDrive system, but also the weight and feedback through the steering wheel – something it shares with the M440i Gran Coupe. It’s the difference between the M240i and most of its competitors who use a lighter 4-cyl engine.
We always say that a good sports car is one that shrinks around you and lets you become part of the car – the Porsche GT3 does it better than all – but the M240i shares some of the same characteristics and encourages the driver to become one with the inputs. The brakes and sharpness of the gearbox are the only aspects we’d like tightened, but you’ll soon forget they’re much of an issue after throwing the car into Sportsplus where it becomes rear-end happy. You’ll also find the limit quickly if you push it too hard – hint, hint, it’s lower than the M4 Competition – it WILL step out if you poke the bear too much with its standard limited-slip differential.
Is it Good Around Town?
The new BMW M240i is enjoyable to drive around town with its compliant suspension, smooth gearbox, and driver aids like hill hold, lane assist, and one of the best adaptive cruise controls in the business. Thanks to the xDrive system it’s plenty quick enough when taking off from a set of traffic lights and the steering isn’t darty in traffic. Without massive tires, there’s no ‘tram lining’ effect on uneven pieces of road and the gearbox never shudders when slowing down in traffic. All around a pleasant place to sit on your daily commute, but not as nice as another BMW we drove earlier this year.
We’d happily road trip the M240i for a few hours at a time and with combined fuel consumption of 8.0L/100km, it’s rather frugal for such a fun sports coupe.
BMW M240i Design
How Does it Look on the Outside?
We love the design of the 2022 BMW 2-series and think BMW knocked it out of the park – particularly when it wears the $1700 AUD Thundernight Metallic paint job. We understand that the design certainly isn’t for everyone – with commentators suggesting the rear end didn’t look to flash on release – but, we’ve come to love the taillight design. Our least favourite angle is from the front left where the triangular grilles meet the headlights – there are too many angles going on for us. The design of the Kidney grilles (more like lungs here) is not the best and we’d prefer them with a mesh look, that being said, they’re functional as ‘air flaps’.
We’re big fans of the anodised-look trim pieces that match with the purple paint better than black would (although that is optional in the Shadowline package). Good looking 19-inch wheels, puddle lights, in-set door handles, and a little rear boot lip round out the exterior package.
What About the Inside?
BMW is in a bit of a transition phase when it comes to its interiors. Comparing the M240i to the M440i Gran Coupe we drove and it’s essentially the exact same interior minus a few neat lights in the door cards (which we love). In fact, you’ll find the general design of the interior is shared with all the other models we’ve driven this year, bar the latest BMW iX SUV whose interior will trickle down into the new 3-series (and eventually 4-series).
What you get is a 10.25-inch central touchscreen, a heads-up display, a wireless charging pad (big enough for an iPhone Pro Max), and the usual wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Drivers receive the same 12.3-inch digital display that’s functional but lacks any real customisation like Mercedes or Audi. Right now it seems the 2-series interior will fall behind the rest of the BMW lineup once 2023 3-series orders arrive, however, it’s a functional place to sit and we love all the physical controls that won’t date as bad as larger touchscreens and pesky capacitive touch buttons.
Our test car was fitted with ‘Vernasca’ leather upholstery, but we’d prefer the cognac option instead. At 6ft tall we had no issue fitting in the driver’s seat and although it feels notably smaller than the M4 we hopped out of, it’s more than comfortable and we’re happy to report the seat goes nice and low, and the steering column can be brought plenty far forward. Overall the interior is very well made, and functional, but hardly something stunning to look at.
Should You Buy the BMW M240i?
How Much Does the BMW M240i Cost?
The 2022 BMW M240i costs $89,900 AUD before on-road costs ($8000 more than last generation).
Competition in this segment is still, although the M240i is equally as competent (while maybe not garnering the badge presence) as other AWD hyper-hatches such as the Mercedes-AMG A45 S ($99,895 AUD) and Audi RS3 sedan ($94,700 AUD). The biggest difference here is the number of cylinders and BMW’s xDrive system which is rear-wheel drive prominent.
What About Servicing?
We’d recommend BMWs service plans if the purchase of a 2022 BMW M240i is in your future, they’re priced as follows.
- 5-year/80,000km ‘basic’ plan – $1650 AUD
- 5-year/ 80,000km ‘Service Plus’ plan (brake pads, rotors, etc.) – $4340 AUD.
What About Warranty?
We’ll highlight BMW’s lacklustre 3-year / unlimited KM warranty here and if you don’t consider yourself ‘brand loyal’ this might be a big factor to take into consideration before purchase. Pretty much all competitors Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Lexus, Jaguar, and even Genesis offer a more substantial 5-year plan. BMW does offer a six-year / 100,000 km warranty on their PHEV high voltage batteries.
Those looking for something that resembles a budget M4 Competition should understand one thing first – while we’ll sink praise into the BMW 2-series chassis dynamics and overall pace, it’s no fully-fledged ‘M-car’ in any way other than straight-line speed. It handles well enough to the point you can have some serious fun, but take it up to the limit of your capabilities and you’ll find them far quicker than you will in an M2 or M4.
That being said, there’s an argument to be had that this is the best way to spend $100,000 AUD on a car in 2022 and if you come up to a set of traffic lights against a previous-gen M2 driver… guess who’s getting the chop.