“The ultimate concept car will move so fast, even at rest, as to be invisible.”
― J.G. Ballard
While I am sure BMW has no desire to make its cars invisible, there is an element of truth in the observation by novelist JG Ballard encased in the M240i xDrive Coupé. Painted in the shimmering purple of my test unit that changes the intensity of colour in a light display as the angle of reflection off the surface alters.
However, there is more to this car than simply being a passing shimmer in the sunlight. It is fast, handles like a go-kart and is, in every inch, a driver’s car.
Sadly, given the appalling state of our roads – national and regional – and the law, there is minimal opportunity to push the car to its very distant limits. Even the private road I use for handling is too narrow and short to allow the M240i to show its capabilities. It deserves to be on a race track.
A potential track champion
While some may be happy to mortgage the significant other, kids and family pets, to own one as a boulevard cruiser, cruising in Sport mode and taking in the chooglin’ boogie of the throttle blips up and down the cogs in the robot to robot drag, true petrolheads will find it difficult to resist the little speed demon whispering into their ear and urging them on.
The M240i carries an engine for speedsters
Nestled beneath the long bonnet is a 3,0-litre turbocharged inline six-cylinder engine pumping out 285 kW at 5 500 r/min with 500 Nm of torque on tap from 1 500 r/min, driving all four wheels through an eight-speed gearbox and ready to launch from rest to 100 km/h in 4,5 seconds.
Top speed is limited to 250 km/h with average fuel consumption, in Normal mode, of 8,4 l/100 km. Naturally, this changes dramatically in hooligan mode.
Design and dimensions
The BMW kidney grille is horizontal in design and features vertically arranged air flaps at its heart in place of the classical bars. These open electrically when the engine has an increased need for cooling air.
The two-joint spring strut front axle and five-link rear axle were re-designed for this latest version to minimise weight and optimise rigidity. Standard-fitted lift-related dampers enhance both the sporting ability of the new car and its ride comfort. Although it must be said, the driver will feel every ripple on the road through the low profile 225/40 R19 tyres fitted as standard (options are also available).
The system is clever enough and reacts to minor imperfections on the road surface to try and keep things comfortable. There is also a 12% increase in torsional rigidity compared to the previous model, along with a near-perfect 50:50 weight distribution.
The M Sport braking system and M Sport differential at the rear is standard in the BMW M240i xDrive Coupé variant.
Some 105 mm longer and 64 mm wider than its predecessor, the current M240i is 28 mm lower (1 390 mm high) and, for improved handling, the wheelbase is 51 mm longer with track widths up by 63 mm at the front and 35 mm at the rear.
In simple terms, you would have to do something stupid to shake this car loose from the tarmac.
That said, despite the impressive array of driver aids, the laws of physics cannot be broken and will win if you fall short in the talent department – with pretty grim consequences.
The M240i is extremely capable in all spheres of handling in both Normal and Sport modes and, kept within your limits, will provide an exhilarating and adrenalin-inducing driving experience.
Safety, comfort and convenience
Of those driver aids, among the systems available as options are the Driving Assistant with Lane Change Warning, Rear Collision Prevention and rear crossing traffic warning, Active Cruise Control with Stop&Go function (including manual Speed Limit Assist), Park Distance Control, the Reversing Assistant, the Reversing Assist Camera, Surround View and Remote 3D View.
It comes fitted with the BMW Operating System 7 that gives access to a range of digital services, including the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant, BMW Digital Key, Connected Music and Remote Software Upgrades.
10,25-inch control display
The standard BMW Live Cockpit Professional features a high-resolution instrument cluster behind the steering wheel with a screen diagonal of 12,3 inches and a 10,25-inch control display.
Standard specification also includes acoustic glazing for the windscreen, three-zone automatic climate control, and ambient lighting.
Cargo capacity and boot space
The new BMW 2 Series Coupé’s boot offers a load capacity of 390 litres, and the height of the loading edge is reduced by 35 millimetres compared to the predecessor model.
Comparable to high calibre engines
For interest, comparable performers in the same price grouping as the BMW are the Ford Mustang 5.0 GT Fastback, Audi TT RS coupé Quattro and Toyota GR Supra 3.0T Track.
Optional features for buyers with specific needs
As is the norm with BMW, there is a wide range of optional features so buyers can tailor the car to their specific needs, but whatever those may be, even from showroom standard, this car demands to be on the road.