Sporty, subcompact fun
The front end of the M240i, replacing the former M235i, features a sportier bumper wearing larger, more aggressive lower air intakes reminiscent of other current BMW performance models.
The BMW 2 Series first launched in 2014 as a spiritual successor to the agile sub-compact 1 Series. For 2018, the entire line-up has been refreshed inside and out, and DARPAN got its hands on the loads-of-fun rear-wheel drive (RWD) variant of the M240i Coupe to check out the changes firsthand.
The front end of the M240i, replacing the former M235i, features a sportier bumper wearing larger, more aggressive lower air intakes reminiscent of other current BMW performance models. Additional horizontal bars can be found in the middle of the outer pair to emphasize the car’s wide stance. All headlamps are now bi-LED, comprised of projectors surrounded by the familiar “angle eye” accenting and eyebrow signature lighting up above. In addition, designers have tweaked the iconic kidney grille ever so slightly creating a more refined look.
Updates to the inside include a new, wider instrument panel and a high-gloss finish applied to the centre stack trim. The interior layout is intuitive and the controls driver-focused for the most part, although being wintertime when I evaluated the vehicle, I would have preferred a heated steering wheel button that wasn’t hidden away on the side of the steering column. On my RWD tester, a six-speed manual gearbox is blessedly standard, however the reverse gear is located just to the left of first and is easily engaged by accident – happening to me on a few occasions – since no lock-out ring or other preventative mechanism is present.
BMW’s ConnectedDrive infotainment system remains intuitive and easy to use. Content is channelled through a central 6.6 inch display, or an enlarged 8.8 inch unit if the Navigation Package is purchased. Users have a choice of inputting commands using their voice, the onboard iDrive Touch Controller or fingers to tap directly onto the touchscreen monitor. Upgraded verbal recognition means the computer is better at picking up queries spoken in a natural, rather than convoluted, manner.
While the entry level 230i is equipped with a 248 horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-litre four cylinder engine, our M240i utilizes a healthier turbo 3.0-litre straight six making 340 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque and capable of getting from 0 to 100 km/h in less than five seconds. The little Coupe feels lively and agile, running on an Adaptive M suspension setup comprised largely of aluminum. Throw in a low centre of gravity, near 50:50 weight distribution and variable electromechanical sport steering and what you’ve got is a car that truly handles as though it’s on rails, to abuse a common expression. I felt like I was turning using just a thought. The automatic rev-matching downshifting makes gearing down for a corner great fun as well.
There is a whole bunch of safety technology available to consumers, part of the Driving Assistant Package added to DARPAN’s loaner, such as Lane Departure Warning and City Collision Mitigation. The former most people should be aware of by now, where alerts sound anytime the vehicle drifts out of a lane, and the latter automatically applies the brakes at speeds up to 60 km/h if an imminent collision is detected with an approaching automobile, motorcycle, pedestrian or other object.
A Parking Assistant is also optional, which via built-in sensors helps to locate a suitable spot under cruising speeds up to 35 km/h. Once something suitable is found, the system can autonomously park the car into both parallel and perpendicular spots at the touch of a button.
MSRP (as tested): $57,200
Motor: 2.0-litre turbocharged inline six cylinder
Horsepower: 340 @ 5,500 rpm
Torque (lb-ft): 369 @ 1,520 rpm
Gearbox: Six-speed manual
Layout: Front engine, rear-wheel drive
Fuel economy: 12.9 L/100 km mixed city/highway (observed)