£35,235 - £36,775 Price range
34 - 37 MPG
The BMW M240i is the performance version of the BMW 2 Series and it’s one of the best sports cars on sale today. The Audi TTS and the Mercedes CLA45 AMG and VW Golf R are similar in price and performance while the Porsche Cayman is a more expensive and driver-focused alternative.
If the M240i isn’t quite extreme enough for you, check out the full-fat BMW M2 – this coupe gets a monstrous 365hp for even faster acceleration. Still not enough? Check out the rumoured 400hp M2 CSL that could hit the roads later in 2016.
There isn’t much difference between the interior of an M240i and a regular 2 Series, except for a few M badges. For increased personalisation, you can opt for the no-cost option of contrasting stitching on the steering wheel. Passenger space is good for a coupe and the boot is about on par with rivals.
If there were only one reason to buy the M240i it would be the engine. It’s the largest in the class at 3.0-litres and as a result, it has power that pushes you into the seat from a standstill and doesn’t let off until you reach a top speed of 155mph. The manual and automatic gearboxes are equally good and the one you choose will come down to personal preference.
Only the more expensive Cayman can match the M240i on driver enjoyment and it’s one of the best handling cars in its class.
The M240i isn’t cheap but for the money you get that fantastic engine and some nice equipment such as leather seats, cruise control, parking sensors, climate control and xenon headlights.
Inside there are very few differences to tell you this is the most powerful model in the range, except for the attractive M Sport steering wheel which is thinner than the ones in other M performance cars. It gets a lot of praise from critics for being a joy to hold.
The M240i also gets black leather sports seats, which manage to be supportive in hard cornering yet comfortable on long drives.
The 2 Series is more spacious than the 1 Series and that translates to the M240i too. It has more space for the driver and front passenger and after they have squeezed behind the front seats, two adults can sit in the back seats in relative comfort.
The only criticism is that the driver’s seat could have been mounted a bit lower to improve the driving experience even further.
The boot is bigger than the one in the 1 Series, at 390 litres, but the narrow opening makes it difficult to use all the available space and the tall boot lip makes it harder to lift objects into it.
Almost all of the M240i’s rivals don’t even come close to the BMW when it comes to driver involvement and handling agility.
Despite some body roll, the M240i has huge performance potential. We like the balance of the car, which means it’s enjoyable to flick between a series of bends of a country road, without the car ever feeling like you should slow down.
Drive it fast enough into a corner and the front tyres will push wide (called understeer), but you can mitigate that by getting the full-fat M2 with its active rear differential.
M Sport adaptive dampers are optional but highly recommended. They come with several driving modes to choose from depending on conditions and the mood of the driver with Comfort, Sport and Sport+ modes.
Some cars win you over with their stylish cabin or cosseting ride, but the BMW’s trump card is its 340hp 3.0-litre turbocharged straight-six. It’s good for 0-62mph in 4.8 seconds (4.6 seconds with the automatic gearbox) and the smooth delivery along with the pleasing soundtrack stays until you hit the car’s speed limiter at 155mph.
The six-speed manual gearbox is highly praised for its mechanical and easy shifting action, which adds another level of driver involvement. However, BMW’s eight-speed automatic makes the car faster, more fuel efficient, cheaper to tax and easier to drive in city traffic, so we’d recommend it over the manual.
The official fuel consumption stands at 36mpg (39mpg with the auto) so it shouldn’t be too expensive to run. However, because it emits 179g/km of CO2, annual road tax is £230.
Neither the M240i nor the regular 2 Series have been crash tested by Euro NCAP, but the sister car to the 2 Series – the 1 Series hatchback – scored the maximum five stars, so expect the M240i to be very safe.
For peace of mind, there are optional clever safety systems such as adaptive cruise control with speed limit recognition as well as automatic headlights that dip automatically when they sense another car coming the other way.
The M240i is the most expensive 2 Series you can buy, and as a result, it comes with plenty of standard equipment including BMW’s iDrive infotainment system with DAB digital radio and a 6.5-inch display. However, most buyers go for the Professional Multimedia system that has a big 8.8-inch display and a touchpad instead of the rotary controller.
For some reason, though, BMW asks for £350 for the Bluetooth phone connection – something that is part of the standard equipment on cars much cheaper than the M240i. That said, the M240i is still a bit of a bargain considering how fast and fun to drive it is.
The BMW M240i has a spectacular blend of talents – it has a superb engine, well-thought-out cabin, good looks, a reasonable amount of interior space, usable boot and great handling. It really trumps the competition in just about every area and as a result many reviewers call it the best sports car in its class.