There are a lot of BMW models out there. A lot. But if we had to pick just one as a fave, we’d be leaning towards the 2-series coupe. Why? Well, call us old school, but the 2 reminds us most of the brand’s roots, from the early 1600-2002, to the 1-series, to the previous 2-series. Close coupled, personal with loads of performance and personality – and at the lower end of the price spectrum for the brand.
So, when we heard there was an all-new 2-series, we were thrilled to get the opportunity to test one. Does it stay true to the creed started way back in the late 60’s? Let’s take a look.
It’s a Looker
Ok, before we go any further, let’s say this. We’ve never gotten so many compliments on a vehicle color. BMW calls it “Thundernight Metallic” but it’s a rich deep purple that looks more like a jolly rancher candy, but it is stunning.
Up front is a pleasant surprise – no massive kidney grille like the 4-series coupe and other models. While it is wide, the grille is purposeful, with vertically arranged air flaps that operate electrically to increase airflow to the engine when needed and enhance aerodynamics when not.
The LED headlights are stylish and inspired by the legendary BMW 2002 coupe for a wide and low look. The adaptive LED lights on our tester can even “look ahead” using info from the navigation system to illuminate the road as effectively as possible. Very cool. A wider lower grille and black lower spoiler finish off a very aggressive looking front end.
The profile is pure 2-series, and we’d say leaning towards the previous M2, with pronounced fender flares, and a high shoulder line look that’s unapologetically muscular, while the long hood and short rear deck give off a powerful vibe. The 19-inch bicolor-spoke alloy wheels look massive, while the blue sport brake calipers call out more capability.
The rear is equally thrilling, with signature LED taillight that look like an inverted version of what’s up front, while horizontal LED lights below are used as turn indicators. A deep cut-in in the trunk lid gives the rear bumper a more powerful look, while a tasteful lip spoiler is sure to help with downforce.
If you don’t get a chance to hear the wonderful engine note, you can at least enjoy the massive dual trapezoidal pipes poking out under the rear valance. Al in all, a beautiful, powerful, and very BMW-like design from nose to tail!
Driver First and Foremost
Get inside, and you know immediately this is a driver’s car.
Open the long doors – this is a coupe after all – and the driver’s space is well defined with a fat leather wheel wearing an M logo, and a prominent center console creating a true cockpit. Our tester had optional black leather with blue stitching that looks elegant and smells fantastic.
Pop into the driver’s seat, and all is well with the world – BMW still makes among the best driver’s seats, with excellent shape and support, with adjustable lumbar and wings, you can hug yourself aggressively for serious driving, or set yourself up for a more comfortable position for easy multiple-hour stints behind the wheel.
The digital display is one we have become familiar with in other BMW M Sport models, and it is crisp, complete, with a clever map display that lives behind the main gauges. Like other BMW M Sport models, we still don’t like the tachometer that turns in a counterclockwise direction.
For an even quicker read, a large and bright heads-up display serves up all the necessary info.
The center console houses a stubby little shift lever for the automatic that feels great in the palm of your hand. Sorry – no manual will be available. A large circular knob with a few haptic buttons surrounding it gives full access to the info-tainment system, and for a modern complex automobile with tons of features, info, and systems, nobody makes it easier and friendlier than BMW.
You’ll also find the start/stop button for the engine there. After a few days of punching the dashboard, where you find it on most cars, we got used to it. And it does make it easy for a quick getaway – jump in, push the button, palm the shifter to your gear and take off!
The 8.8-inch, info-tainment screen is large and bright, and we’re particularly happy to have wireless Apple CarPlay and wireless charging on board. No more cables getting in your way. Another high point for us, BMW includes and actual volume knob for the Harmon Kardon audio system. Yeah, we’re old school, and we appreciate that they understand that!
The quality of all the materials in the interior feels like it has gone a step up, and the ambient lighting and Aluminum Tetragon trim surround you in dazzling style.
Everything up front is wonderful and comfortable, and while the cabin is wider, the rear seats seem to have less head and legroom and before. Certainly useable for kiddos, but for your envious friends who are begging for a ride – better make it a short trip. The rear seats do fold down, and combined with a nicely sized trunk, gives surprising flexibility and cargo space for a dedicated driver’s coupe.
The Ultimate Driving Machine
You know, in a world of carmakers constantly changing their tagline – we still like “Oh what a feeling for Toyota!” – it is refreshing that BMW has stayed true to their roots.
And also like BMW, as a new generation bows, the bar gets raised. Today’s M240i is nipping on the heels of the previous M2, and that’s impressive.
Under the hood is BMW’s 3.0-liter turbo engine, now pumping out a mountainous 382 horsepower and 369 -lb.-ft of torque at just 1,800 rpm. That’s an increase of 47 horsepower and 1 lb.-ft of torque. The engine starts with a “whump” and settles into deep, dark idle. And it pulls to the redline with urgency and sounds great doing so.
While a manual transmission isn’t available, the 8-speed automatic is excellent, and it pops off shifts like a direct sequential gearbox, especially in Sport Mode. The transmission can even use the navigation system to avoid unnecessary gear changes through the twisties and can shift down early when approaching an intersection or a vehicle ahead. Very cool.
In our experience this transmission was always in the perfect gear, especially when coming out of a corner – no fumbling around, it just hooks up and goes. On the M240i xDrive all-wheel drive is currently standard ( a rear wheel drive model is coming) and boy, does it help lay the power down. Figure on 0-60 mph in the mid 3’s, which is phenomenal – it’s faster than the Dodge Charger Scat Pack we recently tested! In fact, there are very few cars on the road that are quicker.
And it’s more than straight-line speed. The all-wheel-drive system is biased to the rear wheels for a sporty feel and great steering response, while the M Sport rear differential doles out the power and gives the coupe amazing agility. When you get deep into the powerband the front wheels share the load, and that helps you grab corners with amazing traction – the kind that would slam you upside the door panel, if it weren’t for the awesome sport seats holding you in place. This would be a great car for your local autocross or a track day.
Just as impressive to us, the M240i is so livable. Put the adaptive suspension in Comfort, and it is smooth, controlled, and quiet. A great place to do the daily commute or handle a long trip. With a 32 mpg rating on the highway, it’s efficient, too.
While there may be a few sports cars that can hang with this little beast, there’s probably none that also work as well as a real-world vehicle. It’s the kind of genius that BMW does best.
The Price of Doing Everything Well
So, how much for such excellence? There’s exciting news here – if you are willing to forego that powerful 6-cylinder and xDrive, you can get into a 230i Coupe starting at just $36,350. And it’s no slouch, the 255-horsepower turbo 4-cylinder is strong, and with a few nice options like the M Sport package you could slide in under $40k and have a fantastic sport coupe.
The M240i is a horse of a different color – with M-Sport, xDrive and that 382-hp turbo 6 all standard, you’re looking at a base price of $48,500. Like most BMW’s there are plenty of available options to tempt you.
Our loaded tester included Thurndernight Metallic Paint ($550), Black Leather ($1,450), Driving Assistance Package ($1,450), Shadowline Package ($400), Performance Package ($2,750), Cooling and HP tire Package ($2,400), Lumbar Support ($350), Harman Kardon Sound system ($875) and Aluminum Tetragon Trim ($150). Add in $995 for destination, and we rang the bell at $59,545.
A little sibling rivalry is always fun, so we built out an M440i xDrive Coupe and we came in at $64,700. You do get a larger rear seat, but we like the looks of the 2 series better. A Mercedes AMG C43 Coupe came in at an eye watering $70,900. So, let’s just call the M240i an incredible performance value.
A perfect combination of size, performance, and style, the all-new 2022 BMW M240i is a stunning driver’s machine!
Ben Lewis grew up in Chicago, and after spending his formative years driving sideways in the winter – often intentionally – moved to sunny Southern California. He now enjoys sunny weather year-round — whether it is autocross driving, aerobatics, and learning to surf.