Auto123 reviews the 2022 BMW M240i xDrive.
If you're at all interested in cars, and at all familiar with the marketing campaigns that surround them, you probably know all about BMW's longstanding devotion to delivering Sheer Driving Pleasure via The Ultimate Driving Machine. Clear enough.
Let's linger on that first one for a moment. It’s no longer officially in use by BMW, by the way, though unofficially it’s still a common sentiment expressed by fans of the brand. And certainly, it popped into my head more than once during my test drive of this 2022 BMW 2 Series, a devoutly fun-to-drive car.
In fact, ever since the automaker entered the small compact coupe category in 2008 with the 1 Series, that marketing slogan has been a mantra for BMW, to be followed to the letter, especially when it comes to versions powered by a wonderful inline-6 engine.
This BMW's latest entry in the compact coupe segment. Purists can rest assured, this BMW M240i xDrive has absolutely nothing to do with the BMW M235i xDrive Gran Coupe. The first is a rear-wheel drive car in character, while the second has four doors and is more of a “front wheel drive" type of car. Yes, it's true that both have "xDrive" in their respective nomenclature, which points to them featuring all-wheel drive, but that's the only real commonality between the two versions of the 2 Series.
And as you can see from my snow-enriched pictures, the road conditions during my days of driving this Beemer in January were ideal to test the car's behavior when road grip is not a given.
Never trust the pictures
You can be sure that the introduction of any new BMW model or generation will be greeted with mixed reactions by purists. These folks are passionate aficionados of the brand, especially when it comes to appraising an agile and powerful coupe.
The design of the headlights, the extra-wide grille, the cut of the bumper, the windows and the shape of the parking lights - several elements of this 2 Series coupe were not well received by enthusiasts and even the greater automotive press. Including yours truly. But, like the M3/M4 tandem with its oversized grille, the new 2 Series is frankly better looking than expected in person.
During my time with the car, I also took the liberty of glancing at my old spec sheets, especially the ones concerning dimensions. To illustrate just how much the car grows and grows, the new 2022 M240i xDrive Coupe is longer, wider and lower than the 3 Series produced in the 2000s, known by those in the loop as the E90 generation. Only the wheelbase of the new 2 Series coupe is a tad shorter than that of the coupe sold just under 20 years ago. In other words, the new 2 Series offers roughly what the 3 Series coupe offered less than 20 years ago... in terms of dimensions, anyways.
The more I looked at this perfectly sized coupe, the more I tarted to feel that the proportions of the new 2 were even more attractive than the previous version. The fenders are much more rounded, the hood has that little bump in the middle to confirm there’s something powerful lurking under the hood, and the very aggressive bumper gets more attractive the more you look at it. Sure, the rear marker lights have an unusual design and look too low, but at the risk of repeating myself, this M240i xDrive coupe gets better with age. Oh yes, and what about the "Thundernight Metallic" finish, an original shade for a sporty car.
More powerful than an M2!
With its 382 horses, the new M240i xDrive just barely surpasses the excellent previous-generation M2, which at the time of its introduction developed a whopping 370 hp. Granted, the M2 Competition and the sublime M2 CS leave this M240i xDrive in their dust, but still, BMW's smallest performance coupe of 2022 is very well equipped to handle your heavy right foot.
There is, however, the thorny issue of the transmission. The M240i xDrive is offered solely with an 8-speed automatic unit, which is being extended to many models across the lineup. Its efficiency has been proven many times in the past and, once again, I have nothing to complain about with this essential component of the car's operation. Shifts are very quick - especially in Sport Plus mode - and it calms down when put in Eco Pro or Normal mode. In short, it’s an exemplary transmission for most situations.
No doubt the excellent 6-speed manual transmission would be welcome in this “accessible” sports car, but given the lack of interest for it from customers, BMW has reasonably decided to limit its availability to the models tattooed with the "big" M, not the "little" M of this M240i xDrive.
Now THIS is a Beemer!
The debate surrounding the choice of gearbox aside, this little 2 Series is exactly what a Beemer should be in these times when electric power is emerging as the future of transportation.
The rigidity of the chassis, coupled with BMW's expertise in adaptive suspensions, works wonders, crevices encountered on the road be damned. The steering is heavy without being overly so and the braking is very effective. However, it's the blast from the turbocharged inline 6-cylinder engine that really seduces every time you put your right foot down. The sound of the engine is superb in Sport Plus mode with the gear changes getting quicker and more energetic the harder you push the car.
And the automatic transmission frankly has the advantage of not forcing the driver to change gears, so on slippery roads, whoever’s behind the wheel can concentrate on controlling the car, especially if the traction control system happens to have gotten deactivated. If you know what I mean. Even when skidding, the M240i xDrive remains as neutral as possible. Any novice driver can become a hero behind the wheel of this 2 Series, even as it’s got the goods to appeal to driving enthusiasts. This is in contrast with the 2 Series Gran Coupe, the mission of which is a bit more utilitarian or family-oriented, if you will.
The last word
I could go on and on about the many qualities of this compact coupe, such as its four-season versatility - thanks to the xDrive - or the BMW's engineers dedicated insistence on not sacrificing occupant comfort in the name of performance.
I should also mention that the asking price for this option-rich coupe is very high - $68,595 is not a small price to pay - and that rear seat space is limited compared to the interior volume of a BMW X7 - though if you're still reading this, you know exactly what to expect.
The 2022 BMW M240i xDrive admirably continues the automaker's tradition in this class, which it created from scratch with the very first 3 Series in the 1970s, or if you want to go back even further, to the model that preceded it, the iconic 2002 BMW.
The sound of the engine
The driving pleasure
We like less
The asking price (!)
The absence of a manual transmission
Lack of storage space
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