Entry-level sports coupe’s performance a throwback …
If you wait long enough history often repeats itself, sometimes even for the better.
Example: BMW’s new 2 Series sport coupe. In ancient times, when Johnson, Nixon, Ford, and Carter were our presidents, BMW was famous for its 2002 sport sedans. Cute (but boxy) sedans that could rip around corners with just enough power to be fun and handle like the 2-seat sports cars that were still being made at the time.
This new 2 Series coupe (OK it’s a coupe, not a sedan) is a throwback in that sense, as it’s not huge, it’s not a crossover, and it’s not an SUV with a monster V8 and bulging 22-inch tires.
No, the tested M240i xDrive rides on a modest 107.9-inch wheelbase and is just 179.4 inches long. That means it’s smaller, even with its miniscule rear seat, than Lexus gorgeous LC500 sports car. Plus, like the old BMW 2002 sedans it’s light and lively, and doesn’t require cashing out your IRA account to finance.
Let’s start at the bottom of this incredible performance market with the BMW 230i with a base sticker of about $38,000 including delivery. It’ll cost you $2,000 more for xDrive, BMW’s AWD system. So, for $40k you’ve got a sporty coupe that handles great, looks sporty and packs a strong 255-horse 2.0-liter turbo I4.
Move up to the 240i for about $10,000 more; the tested xDrive model lists at $49,545. I know that’s not cheap, but it is reasonable for a home run of a car with looks, power, handling, grip and ride.
The pertinent numbers?
This version packs a twin-turbo 3.0-liter I6 that creates 382 horsepower and an impressive 369 pound-feet of torque. Car and Driver says the 240i will do 0 to 60 in just 4.1 seconds, while the 230i takes 5.5 seconds. All that power, in both models, is channeled through a silky 8-speed automatic to deliver kick-ass acceleration that is as impressive as it is refined.
Power is muscle car strength and the handling feels racetrack ready. With the xDrive AWD system the traction is superb too, although remember that AWD adds weight to the coupe while the 230i without it might seem even more nimble. Side note, the 240i is about 350 pounds heavier than the 230i, even without the xDrive.
Watch Mark’s video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G9nvc2uzhIo
Four driving modes allow the 240i’s pilot to ride in Comfort or pretend it’s race day by dialing in Sport mode, which of course firms the ride, handling and adjusts tranny shifts. Adaptive and Eco Pro also are available, but Comfort is just fine for both performance and city driving where you’ll be dodging street craters. Ride is downright civil in Comfort mode, even here in Midwest Lunar Land.
But there’s more than performance to recommend the 2 Series coupes, including looks. With a long hood and short tail this belies muscle car stance and profile, and, get this, the nose features small BMW kidney-shaped grilles that fit the car dimensionally. These are not the screaming monster nostrils some of its new larger sedans and coupes snort with. Perfect!
Add to that a spectacular paint scheme, a deep eggplant-like metallic purple that the BMW marketing crew labels Thundernight Metallic ($550 extra, but do it). Ah, to work on the paint color naming team!
Inside, the BMW is a nice mix of modern digital controls and normal analog buttons and such, all wrapped in typical black leather finery, this with blue stitching to brighten it just a touch. That costs $1,450 extra, and may even be worth it.
Add to that what designers call aluminum tetragon trim for $150. That defines the console and dash to give the 240i’s interior a jeweled look that is now seems as popular for interiors as a Starbucks is on every corner.
Comfort and convenience are on their front foot here too. Seats are heated as is the steering wheel, part of a $2,750 premium package. That also adds adaptive LED headlights, a head-up display and Live Cockpit Pro with navigation. LCP is a fancy digital instrument panel that displays not only a speedometer, but radio stations, cruise control and a live nav map, among other necessities.
The BMW seats also are exceptional in their support and adjustability including power adjustable side bolsters and an extendable lower seat cushion that’s helpful to drivers with long legs. A power lumbar support was added here too, costing $350 extra.
Rear seats are for show and insurance purposes, but trunk space is good for a sports coupe, easily accommodating golf clubs or several suitcases.
Other goodies inside include a 12.3-inch touchscreen that is reasonably easy to adjust and includes, get this, 8 actual buttons just below the screen to program in your favorite radio stations. Bravo. Oddly BMW continues offering its rotary dial on the console to search the info screen for various functions, but it’s a redundant system that isn’t needed.
A fine Harman Kardon surround sound system enlivens the audio scene, but of course adds $875 to the bottom line. Standard though is a wireless charger under the center stack and the steering wheel is a thick leather-wrapped M model, although a racier flat-bottom would seem more appropriate.
I’d also like to see cooled seats that would help take the edge off these black leather bun warmers in summer.
Safety features such as blind-spot warning and lane departure are mostly standard, but a driving assistance package adds smart cruise control, a drive recorder for when you head to the racetrack, active park distance control, and a parking assistant feature, plus a surround view camera with 3D feature. That’s $1,450 extra.
Gas mileage is acceptable for a high-horse sport coupe, rated at 23 mpg city and 32 mpg highway by the EPA. I got 26.4 mpg in about an even mix of city and highway driving. But, and it’s a big but, the BMW prefers premium (91 octane) fuel. Ouch!
This one listed at $49,545, which seems on target for this market, but it skyrockets once all the options are added, hitting $56,845. Considering this is the entry-level 2 Series that seems a bit much. In fact, the lower cost 230i seems the bigger bargain at roughly $40,000, including xDrive.
If you desire power, handling and looks the 230i or 240i hit on all cylinders though. Consider too the venerable Ford Mustang, and even the soon to depart Chevy Camaro. On the import side the new Nissan Z will give the BMW a run for its money and the Lexus IS sedan sort of fits in this category too.
FAST STATS: 2022 BMW M240i xDrive
Hits: Sporty looks, cool color, great power, excellent handling and grip with AWD. Ride good in Comfort mode. Heated seats and wheel, wireless charger, easy touchscreen, super seats with adjustable side bolsters. 4 drive modes, 8 pre-set radio buttons, sporty interior with blue seat/console stitching, good trunk space.
Misses: Prefers premium fuel, no flat-bottom wheel, needs cooled seats, gets pricey with so many add-ons.
Made in: Mexico
Engine: 3.0-liter twin turbo I6, 382 hp/369 torque
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Weight: 3,871 lbs.
Wheelbase: 107.9 in.
Length: 179.4 in.
Cargo: 10.0 cu.ft.
MPG: 26.4 (tested)
Base Price: $49,545 (includes delivery)
Thundernight (purple) metallic paint, $550
Black leather seats w/blue stitching, $1,450
Driving assistance pkg. (active cruise control, parking assistant plus, drive recorder, active park distance control, surround view w/3D) $1,450
Premium pkg. (heated steering wheel, heated front seats, adaptive LED lights, head-up display, Live Cockpit Pro w/nav), $2,750
Aluminum tetragon trim, $150
Lumbar support, $350
Harman Kardon surround sound, $875
Various deletes, -$275
Test vehicle: $56,845
Sources: BMW, www.kbb.com
Photos: Mark Savage