Tag Archives: sports coupe

2022 BMW 240i xDrive Performance

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!

            Final numbers?

            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. 

Spiffy wheels and blue brake calipers!

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: 23/32

MPG: 26.4 (tested)

Base Price: $49,545 (includes delivery)

Invoice: $46,645

Options:

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

2017 Mercedes-Benz C300 Coupe 4Matic

Mercedes’ sporty C300 coupe a smoothie …2017 Mercedes-Benz C300 coupe

            Mercedes-Benz is on a roll. Not only has its Formula 1 racing team dominated for three straight years, now its street cars are back on top of their game.

A couple years ago I sort of fell for the C300 sedan and now, in the dead of winter I get to drive the C300 coupe with 4Matic, Mercedes’ all-wheel-drive system. Glad I had the extra grip as we had snow and slush and sloppy roads during the test.

This model features slimming sporty coupe lines that make it stand out among today’s usual humdrum car designs. And while it leans heavily toward sport, the luxury and pleasantness of the sedan are ever present.

The C coupe rides on the same smoothing 111.8-inch wheelbase and weighs a bit more than the sedan at 3,770 lbs. The car feels deliciously well balanced.2017 Mercedes-Benz C300 coupe

As in the sedan Mercedes delivers a scrumptious blend of sporty power, the eager 2.0-liter turbocharged I4 that kicks out 241 horses, and comfort. All that starts with a silky 7-speed automatic transmission that easily harnesses the turbo’s 273 ft-lbs. of torque, and cushions the ride with independent suspension at all four corners.

Ride is absolutely stellar, controlled and easy on the occupants, but still responsive enough to be sporty. Cornering is smooth and as precise as you want it to be courtesy of Mercedes’ Agility Select system that allows the driver to toggle through four settings, from Eco, to Comfort to Sport to Sport+. Continue reading 2017 Mercedes-Benz C300 Coupe 4Matic

2016 Lexus RC 200t

Lexus RC looks, drives like a sexy beast 2016 Lexus RC 200t

Not much in the car world is better than a sexy sports car, except maybe one that offers four engine choices and a wide span of prices so more folks can afford said sexy beast.

Lexus happily does just that with its RC sports coupe, which offers two versions of its 3.5-liter V6, plus a rockin’ 467-horsepower V8-powered F model for the serious racer wanna-bes or guys overcompensating for something.

The tested base RC 200t lists at $39,995 while the V8 version starts at about $64,000.

I tested the RC 350 more than a year ago and found it powerful, stylish, nimble and well, pretty much a hoot to drive. The 200t is less of the same.

Still stylish with its distinctive spindle grille and edgy overall looks, the RC 200t features a good looking interior too and all the handling and fun of the 350, but with less power and one major stumbling block, an annoying hesitation for that power to kick in when you first tromp the gas pedal.2016 Lexus RC 200t

Here’s the deal. Continue reading 2016 Lexus RC 200t

2014 Scion tC

Scion’s tC edges out some competitors with style, quickness … a fun drive

I know the street racers out there, and many of my media colleagues, will disagree, but I like the Scion tC sports coupe better than Scion’s base FR-S, for a couple reasons.scion

I think its styling is edgier and more fun, and despite it being a front-drive coupe compared with the rear-drive FR-S, it handles extremely well. Plus, with its easy shifting 6-speed manual and more than sufficient 2.5-liter VVT-I 4-cylinder engine, it’s quick and fun to drive.

Then there’s the base tC’s starting price of just $19,200, with a $795 delivery fee. That’s affordable, and my bright “absolutely red” test car managed 27 mpg in about 60% highway driving. Quite respectable! The EPA rates this t 23 mpg city and 31 mpg highway.

The tC is bare bones fun without a totally bare bones feel. It’s great for first-time buyers needing value and valuing style and fun behind the wheel. The coupe doesn’t feel cheap and looks spectacular. For 2014 the nose is restyled with a wide-mouth grille, more attractive lightning-bolt-shaped headlights with LED running lights and I like its flat roofline that gives it a distinctive profile compared with the plethora of round roof sports coupes.
You already know some of what I like, but the heart of my appreciation for the coupe starts with its performance.

Slip into the well-shaped sports seats and the car delivers a straightforward no nonsense dash, albeit a blah gray plastic trim that looks a little too value minded. But turn the key, yes it still has a key, and the test car fired up with a throaty roar that would make most drift car pilots envious. This is a big can that really stirs up the 4-cylinder’s exhaust tone. All that is due to a TRD (Toyota Racing Development) performance exhaust that costs $699 extra. You’ll love the sound, so if you can spare the cash, go for it. Continue reading 2014 Scion tC

2013 Scion FR-S

Spiffy sportster rekindles Toyota’s sport coupe tradition

Finally, a new sports coupe from Toyota, albeit offered through its entry-level youngster brand, Scion.

2013 Scion FR-SI’ve missed the Toyota Celica for years now, and I’m not alone, so with the 2013 Scion FR-S, Toyota again has a low-cost sports coupe that looks great and will provide much entertainment for those of us who prefer cars to look sporty and handle likewise. Plus this is a near identical cousin (if that were possible) to Subaru’s new BRZ. They both even have three letters as their name.

Toyota and Subaru worked together on this sports coupe, with really only the sheet metal reflecting their differing visions of what a cool coupe should look like. Both look pretty sexy and I can assure you even some Audi owners were gawking at the Scion, trying to guess its heritage. Continue reading 2013 Scion FR-S