Occasionally, there are moments when expectations are soundly rewarded when one gets behind the wheel of a highly anticipated new ride. Attributes like plopping into sublime seats; hearing the delicious exhaust note warble; enjoying a driver’s perfect combo of thrust, balance and handling. This storyline encapsulates the 2017 BMW M240i.
The latest model replaces the M235i and personifies the essence of BMW’s soul. It’s fast, engaging and reacts to your every whim. And while extremely quick, the M240i also calmly cruises when the desire or situation dictates. Think of it as a highly satisfying daily driver option to the more robust M2 sibling with nearly all the fun while saving you about $8,000 to boot. That’s a win-win in anyone’s book when in the market for an energetic, luxury two-door coupe.
The 2017 M240i is virtually the same outside as the outgoing M235i, casting a nicely balanced athletic stance without brandishing over-the-top cosmetics. Tasteful sporting fascia including more pronounced front air intakes and black trim add just enough pizazz compared to the base 228i. However, it’s not nearly as burly as the M2 –which is also part of its charm. Call it a wolf in pleasing sheep’s clothing. The Alpine White exterior looks splendid on 18-inch Double-Spoke Orbit Grey rims. It really is a lovely stunner while giving a hint of badass you’ll appreciate long into ownership. New BMW LED headlights, taillights and polished dual exhausts complete the pleasing overall silhouette.
Oh, the performance! This car will scoot and move to your every wish. That grin-inducing exhaust note is so cool, you’re motivated to turn off the radio and use the engine as your traveling soundtrack.
The turbocharged in-line six 335-horsepower/369 lb.-ft. of torque (15-hp more than the M235i and only 30-hp less than the M2) delivers superb power that never overloads your comfort zone. You can opt for thrust (0-60 in 4.4 seconds) or chill down the highway in equal aplomb. Opt for a responsive 8-speed auto gearbox or 6-speed manual shifter. My tester had the automatic and not once did I yearn for a clutch pedal.
Handling is near perfect with BMW’s legendary 50/50 balanced chassis and M Sport tuned suspension. Choose either rear-wheel drive or the optional BMW xDrive all wheel formats. I always lean towards AWD even in the Sunbelt because it’s so worthy when the climate dictates additional secure traction. M Sport brakes (blue-painted calipers in my model) are extremely capable and smooth when slowing your rocket.
Sport mode is what I loved the most. It’s plenty responsive without jarring passengers or roughing out the ride. The suspension change isn’t noticeable but the gearing kick-points deliver lovely higher-rev input. On and off ramps are pleasures to dive into with nary lean. It’s the epitome of BMW’s famous Ultimate Driving Machine moniker.
Gas mileage is a commendable 21/32 and I squeezed 24mpg overall while pushing it hard with premium fuel.
Not much has changed from the previous model. As a two-door coupe, the back seats won’t house large adults comfortably, but hey – this is a driver’s car and not a people hauler. The cabin layout is clean and easy to navigate. Visibility is good for such a low-slung ride and the rear-view camera is excellent.
The heated front seats are superb. The soft and supple leather provides all the support (back, thigh and side bolstering) one desires, feeling like a perfectly tailored suit.
The optional heated M Sport steering wheel is thick and perfect, complete with handy controls at your fingertips. All controls are driver-bias and easy to access via the iDrive control knob with its lovely tactile feedback. The instrumentation is clear although I wish BMW would offer a digital speedometer in the dash for easier viewing (yes, you can choose the optional Heads Up display) as the ride is so effortless, you aren’t aware how fast you’re barreling down the road.
There’s decent storage for your knickknacks and the trunk is a commendable 14 cu-ft. of cargo space for your clubs (the folding rear seats are an added bonus). A generous Moonroof adds welcome light into the cocoon.
BMW offers some of the best displays I’ve seen. The fonts are perfect and easy to read even with aging peepers. An updated infotainment screen is pleasing to the eye and simple to navigate through various radio formats and audio inputs.
You can stream mp3 and download various apps like Pandora and Spotify. Wi-Fi hotspot, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration are new additions plus mobile inductive phone charging. Options include premium Harman/Kardon audio ($875), Driver Assistance ($950) and carbon fiber Mirror Caps ($770). And, don’t overlook the covered regularly scheduled maintenance for three years/36,000 miles.
The 2017 BMW M240i checks all the boxes for those looking for some real driving fun without the fear of being overpowered. It symbolizes the true soul of the proud brand and will motivate you to take the long way home with a wondrous balance of speed, handling and cruising while smiling the entire way. Plus, who couldn’t use some extra soul?
Test-drive the 2017 BMW M240i at Classic BMW in Plano.
Golf bags: Two with rear seats folded down
Curb appeal: Subtle badass
0-60: 4.4 sec
Mileage: 21/32. Observed 24 overall
Must-haves: Driver Assistance Pkg, Apple CarPlay, Dakota Leather
Warranty and Maintenance: 4yr/50K mile warranty & 3/36K scheduled maintenance
Base price: $44,450
Price as tested: $53,370
Who buys it? Those desiring a superlative coupe with workable cargo area
Finish line: Another winning BMW inside and out