While poring over our test data for the redesigned 2022 BMW M240i xDrive coupe, a friend called to tell us about the new pre-owned car he’d just bought: a 2019 BMW M2 Competition. Which made for a record-scratching coincidence, given that we’d just noticed a surprising similarity between the performance results of this second-generation M240i and those of the, you guessed it, 2019 M2 Competition models we tested a couple years back.
For the unfamiliar, the rear-wheel-drive-based 2-series coupe is not to be confused with BMW’s 2-series Gran Coupe sedan, which is a very different, front-drive-based animal. The optional turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six in the newest iteration of the M240i now makes 382 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque, which matches the output of the M340i (a 255-hp 2.0-liter turbo four is standard.) Those figures make for increases of 47 horses and a single pound-foot over last year’s M240i . A ZF eight-speed automatic transmission with a torque converter remains standard, but the new car’s gearbox gains shorter ratios for the first three gears, quicker shifts that are reminiscent of a dual-clutch unit’s, plus launch-control functionality. This all adds up to a hellacious 3.6-second run to 60 mph and a 100-mph sprint in 9.1 seconds, beating the times for a 2017 rear-wheel-drive M240i automatic by a sizable 0.7 and 1.2 seconds, respectively, despite the new all-wheel-drive car weighing an additional 307 pounds, at 3877.
Meanwhile, the outgoing rear-drive-only M2 Competition cranks out 405 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque. With the standard six-speed manual, it weighs 316 pounds less than the new M240i xDrive and maintains a 249-pound advantage when fitted with its optional seven-speed DCT automatic. And yet, both versions trail the new M240i to 60 mph by almost a half-second. By the end of the quarter-mile, both M2s cross the line 0.3 second behind the new M240i, which trips the lights in 12.1 seconds at 114 mph. The DCT-equipped M2 Competition does edge the new M240i xDrive in our 30-to-50- and 50-to-70-mph tests, but only by a scant 0.1 and 0.2 second, respectively. While Bimmerphiles will note that the 2020 M2 CS remains the quickest BMW 2-series we’ve tested, that was a rather special limited-edition model with a burly 444 horses and a price tag that could approach $100,000.
Hauling ass is all well and good, but the 2022 M240i xDrive scores what might be a bigger win with its fuel efficiency. Its EPA estimates of 26 mpg combined, 23 city, and 32 highway better those of the outgoing 2021 model by 2 mpg across the board. And those figures crush the M2 Comp’s combined ratings of 20 mpg for the manual and 19 mpg for the automatic, largely thanks to the M240i’s taller final-drive gearing and extra gear ratios.
What’s more, the new M240i coupe’s chassis and rolling stock encroach on the M2’s territory. The former’s 62.2-inch front and 62.8-inch rear track widths are not only now more than two inches broader than the outgoing M240i’s, they’re also dead even with the M2 up front and a paltry 0.2-inch narrower out back. The optional high-performance 19-inch Michelin Pilot Sport 4S summer tires on our test car also share the same 245/35R-19 front sizing, while the rears are only slightly narrower at 255/35R-19. The M2’s wheels are a half-inch wider front and back, though.
Along with a better front-to-rear weight distribution versus the nose-heavy xDrive model, this amounts to a slight road-holding advantage for the lighter M2. Our M240i posted a commendable 0.94 g of grip on the skidpad, yet we’ve recorded as high as 1.00 g for the M2 Competition. But this difference doesn’t materialize much on the road, where the M240i xDrive corners with the balance and poise that makes it feel every bit as rewarding to hustle down challenging roads, at least at speeds that won’t immediately land you in the hoosegow. The main letdown is the paucity of feedback through the steering. The grip of the wheel itself is excellent, turn-in is crisp, and there’s some buildup in effort, but it’s more proportional to steering angle than the actual cornering forces at the contact patches.
As before, the M240i coupe is suspended by front struts and has a five-link arrangement in the rear. The front and rear ends are now 2.0 inches farther apart than before owing to a wheelbase that has been stretched to 107.9 inches. This helps settle the ride and enhance straight-line stability, and the tuning of the Adaptive M suspension dampers has been massaged to suit. There’s now a meaningful difference between the Comfort, Sport, and Sport Plus settings, and the softest of those modes makes the M240i easier to live with and far less brittle riding than the last M2 we spent time in.
What the longer wheelbase and wider body don’t do, curiously, is add up to more interior space. The front sport seats appear small, and it seems overly necessary to deploy their adjustable thigh support cushions to get comfy. Legroom is generous up front and there’s more width inside the cabin, but the M240i’s larger standard moonroof intrudes to a greater degree. This isn’t much of a consequence up front, but the already cramped rear seat, which inexplicably loses nearly an inch of much-needed legroom, suffers from a loss of 1.8 inches of sunroof-mandated headroom. As for luggage space, the new M240i holds the line at 14 cubic feet, same as the previous car’s.
Our friend admitted to us that he did consider purchasing an M240i, but ultimately dismissed it because he absolutely wanted a manual gearbox, which we can’t argue with. At present, the M240i is only available in xDrive form at a base price of $49,545. A new rear-drive M240i model arrives later this year, but word is that it will no longer be available with an optional manual transmission, which brings us to the highly anticipated second-generation M2. With the new M240i xDrive as quick as it is, we expect that new M car to be a monster.
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