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2022 BMW M240i xDrive Review

2022 BMW M240i xDrive Review

The takeaway: BMW’s M240i xDrive is the epitome of the perfect sports car, with exceptional handling characteristics and huge power reserves. The sporty coupe is neatly positioned between the standard 2-Series and the upcoming M2, which will be unveiled later this year, following the same hierarchy as the M440i xDrive. That said, the M240i is just a different gravy compared to its bigger and heavier relatives.

  • BMW’s xDrive all-wheel drive system produced astonishing traction while providing a secure platform in wet conditions – not to mention that our test car was still running on winter tires.
  • BMW’s variable sports steering system can change the steering ratio (how fast the front wheels turn from lock to lock) in an instant, optimizing low-speed maneuverability and high-speed stability.
  • Compared to the previous model, the M240i has a completely new chassis that is much stiffer and lighter for better performance and comfort on the road.

    Specifications:

    • Base Price: $48,550
    • Engine: 3.0-litre turbocharged six-cylinder in-line
    • HP: 382 hp
    • Torque: 369 lb-ft
    • 0-60 time: 4.1 seconds
    • Transmission: 8-speed automatic
    • Drive: four-wheel drive
    • Fuel economy: 26 mpg (combined)

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      Behind the wheel

      Unsurprisingly, BMW’s M240i ticks all the boxes that make a great sports car: huge power reserves, excellent handling and a luxurious interior. My one week with the four-wheel-drive brute was mostly short bursts through the twisty country roads just off the Popular mechanics office in eastern Pennsylvania. However, I also took a longer drive to Pine Grove, Pennsylvania, to evaluate the new Bimmer’s behavior on the highway.

      Power-wise, the M240i is comfortably one of the fastest cars I’ve driven. Under the hood, it uses the same 382 hp 3.0-litre turbo engine as the M440i. With less weight to haul — 3,871 pounds compared to the 4,169-pound M440i — the smaller M240i is much faster.

      Trevor Raab

      bmw m240i in use

      Trevor Raab

      Subtracting the weight will always improve cornering ability. However, BMW’s xDrive all-wheel-drive (AWD) system is the clear star of the show here. Whether riding in cold and wet or hot and dry conditions, I had way more traction than I would ever need on the road. Our tester was still fitted with winter tires — which weren’t nearly as grippy as Michelin’s Pilot Sport 4 S all-season tires that come standard — and I was impressed with the amount of grip.

      Unlike most AWD systems that distribute power equally between the front and rear axles, the M240i can actually send 100 percent of the drive to the rear wheels. This helps the front axle be much more responsive and communicative, allowing me to feel what the front tires were doing when I flipped into a corner. To cope with the torque at the rear axle, the vehicle is fitted with an electronically controlled differential lock, which can change the torque distribution between the two rear wheels. When it detects a loss of traction, it can lock both wheels from spinning together to increase forward traction. It can also send more torque to the outer wheel when I go around a bend to help the car turn.

      The elephant that’s not in the room

      bmw m240i kidney

      Trevor Raab

      For better or for worse, the redesigned front end of BMW’s latest 3 and 4 Series proved controversial. Everyone and their brother eventually came up with lewd nicknames for the ugly grille. That said, the M240i retains the relatively standard “kidney” grilles seen on previous models.

      Even with its smaller – and arguably better looking – front grille, the M240i has the same active cooling valves as the M440i. These can open and close in ten steps to keep the engine at exactly the right temperature. Further down, the vehicle has horizontal ducts that adjust to supply the brakes with fresh air when needed. Finally, the brake channels at the front of the car act as air curtains to reduce turbulence in the front wheel arches.

      Our tester arrived in BMW’s new shade of purple, which he calls “Thundernight Metallic.” You will see in the photos that it is not the brightest shade of purple. And that’s a good thing. I would describe it more as a black with purple undertones rather than some of the flashier purples we’ve seen before.

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      Inside the cockpit

      The interior of the M240i is BMW by the book and offers just the right balance between comfort, luxury and sportiness. Case in point: The driver’s seat remained super comfortable on longer car journeys while holding me tight during spirited rides. With BMW’s heads-up display, I never had to take my eyes off the road to view relevant information.

      The seat and handlebars were super easy to adjust to set my riding position exactly where I wanted it. This is something I don’t take lightly as it leads to a more comfortable and engaging experience behind the wheel.

      bmw m240i interior

      Trevor Raab

      bmw m240i in use

      Trevor Raab

      bmw m240i apple carplay

      Trevor Raab

      bmw m240i dashboard

      Trevor Raab

      While heads-up display (HUD) systems are nothing new to the automotive industry, 2022 will mark the first year they’ve been implemented in BMW’s 2 Series lineup. During my testing, the HUD was helpful in keeping me both safe and informed. The color readout allowed me to keep track of stats such as my speed, speed warnings, turn-by-turn directions and even media controls without having to look at the dashboard or infotainment system. However, it still became essentially invisible when I wore my polarized sunglasses.

      I must confess that most of my time with any infotainment system involves Apple CarPlay. However, when I didn’t have Apple Maps or Spotify on the BMW, I noticed that the brand’s iDrive interface has improved a lot from previous years. You no longer have to go through tons of hoops to complete simple tasks like plugging in your phone; once I connected my mobile device via wireless Apple CarPlay – a process that only took a few minutes – I was pleasantly surprised at the sound quality coming out of the Harman Kardon stereo. This was typically a weak area for BMW and has been greatly improved over previous generations.

      The verdict

      Despite its inherent shortcomings in the field, the M240i is absolutely usable as a daily driver. Its three different driving modes (eco, comfort and sport) help it serve as anything from a weekend barbeque to a docile daily driver. Sure, you’d be hard pressed to argue that the BMW M240i is the last with just two roomy front seats. But it’s not too long-winded.

      So it’s no surprise that the M240i is far from the most practical vehicle on the road. That said, for a vehicle capable of doing the weekly Monday through Friday commute and beating a track day on the weekend, it’s hard to beat. The M2 is rumored to be priced at around $60,000 MSRP. Therefore, if you’re looking for a comparable sports car that won’t break the bank, look no further than the M240i.

      bmw m240i in use

      Trevor Raab

      Matt Crisara
      Matt Crisara is a native Texan with an unbridled passion for cars and motorsports, both abroad and domestically, and as Autos Editor for Popular Mechanics, he writes the bulk of automotive digital and print coverage.

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