Road test: the BMW M240i xDrive Coupe looks different, but feels good

The new 2 Series goes from 0-100kph in 4.3 seconds

Just as we were getting used to BMW’s newfangled oversize grilles, the marque’s design team has thrown a curveball via the all-new G42 2 Series Coupe. In stark contrast to its current 4 Series sibling, the newcomer has a minuscule pair of nostrils, flanked by slit-like eyes.

It’s hard to fathom this abrupt departure from the Bavarian marque’s new design direction but, at the very least, the new 2 Series should please all those who have been up in arms about BeeEm’s recent XXL grilles – most notably on the latest 4 Series, 7 Series and X7.

Contentious grill aesthetics aside, there are plenty of good bits. The new 2 Series, due on sale in the UAE next January, reprises the spirit of BMW’s famed 02 models, built from 1966 to 1977. Look closely and you’ll spot a few design elements that link the newbie to its half-century-old ancestor, such as the boxy glasshouse and squared-off flanks.

The specs

Engine: 3.0-litre 6-cyl turbo

Power: 374hp at 5,500-6,500rpm

Torque: 500Nm from 1,900-5,000rpm

Transmission: 8-speed auto

Fuel consumption: 8.5L/100km

Price: from Dh285,000

On sale: from January 2022

The basic ingredients bode well for the new 2 Series, as torsional rigidity is up by 12 per cent over its predecessor, while weight is distributed in an almost perfect 50:50 split over front and rear axles.

The newcomer has a more sizeable footprint on the tarmac as overall length and width have been incremented by 105 millimetres and 64mm respectively, and the front and rear tracks have also been pushed out. That said, the G42 2 Series sits 28mm lower than its forerunner, so the car looks squatter.

We tested the range-topping (until the M2 arrives) M240i xDrive at its international launch in Munich, and this model will be priced from Dh285,000 when it lands here in two months.

This spend gets you a pocket rocket that’s powered by a 3.0-litre, six-cylinder turbo engine that pumps out 374hp and 500Nm, propelling the compact coupe from 0 to 100 kilometres per hour in 4.3 seconds and on to a top speed of 250kph.

It only takes a few kilometres behind the wheel to glean that the M240i is a rapid little device. The peak torque figure of 500Nm comes on tap from just 1,900rpm, so there’s plenty of urge for brisk overtakes or to nip into gaps in traffic.

The straight-six motor has a pleasing rasp when you extend it, yet isn’t intrusive at steady cruising speeds. The eight-speed auto is a highly intuitive transmission, but you can also override it via steering-mounted shift paddles.

The 2 Series Coupe sources its core suspension set-up from the 4 Series, while optional M Sport suspension (standard in the M240i xDrive) brings firmer spring and damper settings. What it adds up to is a taut and focused coupe that makes short work of carving up the winding Bavarian back roads across which we tested it.

The combination of all-wheel-drive (xDrive in BMW-speak) and the beefy footprint provided by chunky rubber on 19-inch alloys means you need to be pushing extremely hard to overcome the M240i’s grip levels. Unfortunately, there’s not much in the way of feedback that comes through to your fingertips from the thick-rimmed steering wheel, but that’s one of the few shortcomings in an otherwise dynamic and engaging coupe.

The cabin stays true to the familiar BMW recipe and our test car was equipped with the optional Live Cockpit Professional that comprises a fully digitised instrument cluster supplemented by a 10.25-inch infotainment screen. The driver and front-seat passenger have no reason to complain, but the rear seats are best allocated to juniors.

The M240i xDrive’s Dh285k start price puts it up against diverse opposition that includes Porsche’s 718 Cayman S and Chevrolet’s Camaro ZL1. The Cayman S is the most tactile and agile of the trio, while the Camaro ZL1 has by far the most grunt.

So, where does that leave the M240i xDrive? Our verdict is that it’s a well-rounded sporting coupe that serves up a healthy serving of performance and dynamism, yet without sacrificing practicality and everyday usability.

Updated: November 18th 2021, 4:48 AM
The specs

Engine: 3.0-litre 6-cyl turbo

Power: 374hp at 5,500-6,500rpm

Torque: 500Nm from 1,900-5,000rpm

Transmission: 8-speed auto

Fuel consumption: 8.5L/100km

Price: from Dh285,000

On sale: from January 2022