BMW M240i Review
The BMW 2 Series looks great, drives even better and has a brilliant engine, however it costs more than the equivalent 1 Series and isn’t as good for rear-seat passengers
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The BMW M240i looks sporty but is also reasonably usable for a small coupe. Thankfully, boring stuff like practicality hasn’t come at the expense of making the M240i great fun to drive, and its brilliant turbocharged 3.0-litre engine always feels at the centre of the action.
It has six-cylinders compared to the Porsche Cayman’s four, as a result it sounds nicer and feels smoother because it doesn’t send so many vibrations through the pedals. More to the point, it makes the BMW extremely quick – 0-62mph takes just 4.8 seconds and it has to be limited to a top speed of 155mph.
The £1,600 eight-speed automatic gearbox is a worthwhile option that makes the BMW even quicker. It shifts gears almost imperceptibly and means you don’t have to worry about operating a clutch in town. It comes with the desirable side effect of making the BMW M240i slightly cheaper to run – increasing fuel economy to 39.8mpg from the 36.2mpg BMW claims with the manual gearbox.
The BMW M240i’s standard suspension setup is a great all-round compromise – it’s comfortable on bumpy roads and firm enough to cut out body leans in tight bends. The clever Adaptive M Sport Dampers are worth considering if you upgrade to bigger wheels. Then their ability to switch between soft and hard settings makes sense and helps make the driving the BMW M240i even more comfortable.
The BMW M240i is a sensible coupe that turns into a raving lunatic when you want it to
That usability isn’t exclusive to the way the BMW M240i drives – it also feels deeply ingrained in its cabin, which is surprisingly practical for a coupe.
First of all, the BMW M240i’s interior is well-built, logically laid out and has a satellite navigation system that you operate using BMW’s excellent iDrive control knob, which is that bit easier to use than the systems fitted to the Audi TTS and Porsche Cayman. The driver’s seat has lots of adjustment to get comfortable behind the wheel – although manual models have offset pedals, so you can feel twisted on long journeys – and, although you wouldn’t call the BMW M240i very practical, it has more room in the back than the TTS or the Cayman, the latter of which has no rear seats at all.
The boot has all the room you need for a week away and the 2 Series has a five-star crash-test rating from Euro NCAP (who tested it as the mechanically identical 1 Series) so it’s safe too.
In fact, there’s very little that the coupe doesn’t do very well indeed.
No one will pretend that this is some sort of family car, but it’s way more practical than you would expect. That said, remember that this is strictly no more than a four-seater
Normally, I'd love a quick car with a manual gearbox, but not this one: the offset pedals make the driving position really uncomfortable
The BMW M240i comes with body-hugging sports seats and they have a wide range of adjustment that includes thigh and lateral support, so they can be made more comfortable on a long journey or more body-hugging in fast corners. The driver’s seat adjusts for height and the steering wheel moves for height and reach, so you should be able to get your seat set exactly how you want it.
There is a problem, though, and that’s the manual model’s offset pedals that can feel like you have to twist your body slightly when driving. It’s not an issue in cars with the automatic gearbox.
A visit to the options list will also be required if you want adjustable lumbar support, heated seats or electrical adjustable seats that can return to your exact seating position at the touch of a button.
None of those options is available in the back seats, but they are pretty spacious for a small coupe. Adults up to six-foot tall should be able to get reasonably comfortable and smaller people will be just fine, although the lack of rear doors means getting in is a bit of a squeeze. It’s also worth mentioning that the BMW M240i is a strict four-seater, with no middle rear seatbelt. Either way, the M240i’s seats are significantly more practical than in an Audi TTS.
Fitting a child seat is also easier than it is in the Audi. The lack of back doors limits access, but the same is true of all the 2 Series’ alternatives, and the BMW M240i’s front seats move further out of the way than they do in the TT, so getting the seat in is easier and the clearly marked Isofix points make fitting the base reasonably hassle free.
The BMW M240i’s interior storage is really good – for a sporty coupe. The front door bins are huge and the glovebox is also massive – they’ll be able to swallow several bottles of water between them. You also get a couple of cupholders in front of the gearstick and a tray for your phone that’s available with wireless charging.
Because the BMW M240i sits at the top of the range, it also gets BMW’s Extended Storage package, which includes things such as map holders on the backs of the front seats, a 12v power socket for rear-seat passengers, plus a netted cubby and a couple of extra tie-down hooks in the boot.
The BMW M240i’s 390-litre boot is surprisingly generous for a sporty coupe – in fact it’s bigger than you’ll get in small family cars such as the Volkswagen Golf and also larger than the capacity you get in the TTS.
It means the BMW M240i can carry everyday items such as a set of golf clubs or a baby buggy with no problem at all – you can even squeeze in a couple of large suitcases. Loading isn’t helped by the tall load lip and small, saloon-style boot opening that makes getting bulky items in harder than you’ll find it in an Audi TTS.
BMW doesn’t quote a maximum luggage capacity with the rear seats down, but there is space for a bike with one wheel detached, and the back seats split 60:40 so you can carry a combination of long luggage along with one or two passengers.
The BMW M240i is a fast sports car that’s loads of fun but also comfortable on the motorway and easy to drive in town, but to get the best from it you need the optional automatic gearbox
Under the BMW M240i’s smart suit is the body of an athlete that’s dying to burst out
The BMW M240i’s 3.0-litre engine is one of the best things about it. It emits a smooth snarl that makes the four-cylinder engines in the Audi TTS and Porsche Cayman sound as tuneful as a piano that’s been dropped from a crane.
Thankfully, the BMW M240i’s numbers sound just as good as its engine. Getting from 0-62mph takes just 4.6 seconds, so it’ll happily keep pace with a basic Porsche 911 off the lights – never mind a Cayman – and hit its 155mph limiter a short time after that.
The combination of a large-capacity engine and a turbocharger means the BMW M240i can make swift progress without having to be stressed, so it can be a relaxed cruiser when you want it to be.
The impressive 36.2mpg fuel economy figure backs up this theory, and 30mpg is readily achievable in the real world – not bad for a car with this turn of speed.
The BMW M240i is a brilliant car straight out the box, but it’s worth investing in the automatic gearbox. It shifts gears so smoothly you’ll barely notice it happening and with no need to operate a clutch pedal, it makes the BMW more relaxing to drive in town.
Low-speed maneuvering and parking is also easy – helped by the 2 Series’ standard rear parking sensors and the decent view out the back.
That automatic gearbox makes a case for itself on the motorway, too, where its eight gears (the manual has just six) means the BMW’s engine doesn’t have to be worked hard a cruise.
At those sorts of speeds, the 2 Series suffers from more tyre and wind noise than an Audi TTS, although that being said it’s still a decent car to cover long distances in.
To boost safety on the motorway (and bring the coupe up to speed with newer rivals) it’s worth paying £360 for adaptive cruise control. It means the BMW M240i can brake by itself when the car in front slows down, then return to a cruising speed of your choosing automatically.
Although the BMW M240i has never been crash tested by Euro NCAP, the mechanically identical 1 Series was awarded the full five stars in 2012.
Anyway, it’s best not think about things like crashing and instead enjoy the BMW’s grippy handling. It’s an easy car to drive at the limit because the steering gives your fingers a good idea how much grip the car has. It’s no lightweight sports car, but the BMW M240i’s small body gives you more road to play with and the car’s stability control system doesn’t spoil the fun, but will keep you out of trouble if things get out of hand.
There’s no limited-slip differential – like you get in the BMW M2 – but lairy powerslides aren’t really an option out on the road where this car will likely spend the majority of its time.
The BMW M240i’s interior is best described as ‘nice’ rather than jaw droppingly stylish, but everything works with beautiful simplicity