They disappeared from the streets, small and powerful coupes suitable for everyday use. Today five-door models are being built, such as the A-Class from AMG or the RS3 from Audi. BMW’s M240i is a truly exotic car. And it’s not that small, with a wheelbase of 2.74 meters and a length of 4.5 meters, it obviously towers higher than the majority of the compact class. This may have something to do with its pedigree: Although the 2 Series Coupé is placed close to the first category, it has almost nothing in common with it. While the 1 Series with a transversely mounted front engine, maximum four cylinders and a standard front engine is a typical representative of the compact class, the 2 Series Coupe’s roots lie in one segment higher. BMW took the platform from the 3 and 4 series, compressed all the dimensions a little and turned it into a small sports coupe with everything that goes with it: a longitudinal engine, a standard engine and up to six cylinders. The M240i’s 275 kW (374 hp) three-liter six-cylinder engine is essentially nothing more than the concentrated power of the two-series M440i. This means that BMW has at least one cylinder more than its closest competitor. The Audi RS3 comes with a 2.5 liter inline five-cylinder engine. In any case, the AMG A45 follows the principle of increased output per liter, which is currently prevalent in Affalterbach, and therefore works with four cylinders. The big engine affects its weight: the M240i tip the scales at about 1.7 tons – empty and driverless. But the B58’s performance makes up for the extra weight with plenty of power. It beats the old M2 by 4 hp and 35 Nm and with 4.2 seconds to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h it even keeps pace with the M2 competition. This raises anticipation for the current generation M2, which is being prepared and expected to be launched in 2023.
directly on the gas
The flat torque curve ensures that the maximum torque of 500 Nm is already available below 2,000 rpm. This means the M240i propels forward almost instantly from a standing start. The turbo lag in the currently sportier 2 Series Coupe is a bit smaller than what’s known on the M3 and M4. The fact that the B58 is equipped with a twin-scroll turbocharger instead of the two single-pass turbochargers of the S58 pays off here. This means that the M240i is extremely easy on the gas and responds reactively to automatic pedal movements. An eight-speed automatic transmission is the only option for a small sports coupe – you can no longer shift it manually. This may be disappointing to some, but arguments are still needed to convince purists to buy the M2. And the transmission ZF works perfectly, only the control element still has room for improvement. Here, the electronics take their time on acceleration before starting to shift to a lower gear. Fortunately, manual intervention is possible with two paddles on the steering wheel. However, in Sport or Extra Sport mode, the transmission responds almost instantly and almost as quickly as a dual-clutch transmission.
The dimensions of the 2-Series Coupe may be compact, but the massive engine block cannot be hidden while driving. There is always a feeling that there is a large three-liter under the hood. It feels like a small four in the line can’t deliver, no matter how much liter capacity it offers. As standard, the M240i sends its torque to all four wheels, with the rear axle giving clear priority. The front axle is only engaged when the rear axle has problems transmitting torque to the asphalt. This helps when starting the race with launch control, but also in cornering. In this way, BMW also tolerates a lot of acceleration when cornering early, without the car being behind. Instead of turning, there is a shift of torque to the front axle until it is set to a controllable minimum. BMW knows its customers have strained right feet – but that doesn’t mean the M240i isn’t fun. Despite its relative size, the Bavarian in particular feels at home on the winding roads. Before the control got involved, there was still neural twitching on the rear axle when the seal was depressed, despite the all-wheel drive. Nothing challenging, just a sign that there is still plenty of torque left on the rear wheels. Then there is the sound. You can almost no longer mention it in praise, but the six included sounds really good because they are really natural. The sound does not need to be artificially generated or amplified, but it is still a byproduct of the combustion process. like this.
Better than the M2?
The structure is totally fun. An elaborately designed front axle with double wishbones and tension struts ensures clean, precise handling on winding country roads. The bulging steering wheel feels good in the hand and the feedback is right off the road. Despite its compact dimensions, the car feels massive when being chased through a mountain pass and thrown from one bend to another. And this, of course, also has to do with the fact that it is huge – the 1.7 tons is difficult to conceal. The second-series coupe is also very convincing on long trips, because that’s where the fact that it’s actually not small comes into play. The long wheelbase ensures smooth straight-line stability, so that long road trips – even at high speeds in a large canton – remain stress-free, which is of course not in the compact class. The chassis is solid, and the connection to the road is direct, but it’s still balanced. It doesn’t feel like it’s too tightly set. So we dare expect the 2 Series Coupe to be much better than the future M2.
In order to master the process of balancing sporty and everyday use, the M240i has premium front-row seats on board. The oversized upholstery rests comfortably against the body and provides adequate lateral support – thus an ideal prerequisite for a sporty weekend excursion. But the padding is also enough to cover kilometers on the highway. Despite the flat roofline, the headroom is sufficient so that tall people do not feel cramped. The sitting position is sporty in the depths of the car, so if you want to get yourself out of the car, you have to stay a bit sporty. The rear seats need more movement. Here, the second-tier retains its coupe character and offers not enough legroom and not enough room for adults. Theoretically, the second row of seats will provide three places, but in practice, the middle seat is not suitable even for children. With a capacity of 390 liters, the trunk is also similar to a coupe, but the rear seats can be folded into two parts so that larger items can still be transported.
If the interior looks familiar: here, too, the similarities with the older brother of the fourth series are obvious. By that, we don’t mean they’re the same because they’re from the same manufacturer, but: they’re identical, as if they were the same car.
Comparison with Big Brother
The fully digital instrument panel is complemented by a central infotainment screen. Both look a good size and not deceptively large. There is also a vertical display. The materials are just as high-quality as the four with beautiful details such as the light blue, white and red accents in the door panels. The optional leather seats (the standard is just a cloth…) convinces with its quality. Only the buttons on the steering wheel with their signature lettering no longer look quite contemporary. The voice control works fine as usual and is therefore much better than most competitors, with the exception of Mercedes. Other than that, the Series 2 includes all relevant systems from adaptive cruise control to lane assistants. Anyone who wants to blow off steam with systems settings can adjust everything as they see fit, from chassis settings to ESP and assistants.
Can the M240i compete with the larger M440i, which costs over 15,000 Swiss francs? The 4 Series is based on the same engine, the same chassis, an identical interior and there is no noticeably more spacious space. Although the second-series coupe scores energetic driving performance and compact dimensions, the fourth-series mainly accounts for it. It’s a personal matter. The same applies to comparison with the competition. The Audi RS3 and AMG A45 take a different approach, offering a higher utilitarian value in everyday life due to the body. But also a bigger compromise – which doesn’t mean it’s the overall best package in the end.
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