Car enthusiasts in colder climates are presented with a unique challenge: cars that we truly enjoy are only suitable for us eight months of the year. The rest of the year is reserved for driving old beaters or the family crossover. Recognizing that the perfect four-season fun cars are few and far between, BMW made a somewhat controversial decision to switch from rear-drive to all-wheel drive on the all-new 2022 BMW M240i xDrive, and discontinued the sacred-to-enthusiast manual transmission along with it. We spent a week with one during the heart of winter.
BMW’s design language has drawn a fair share of criticism in the past few years, with particular focus around its signature kidney grille for its liberal use of real estate up front. Well, the M240i features a ‘normal’ sized front grille, but the Internet critics were not kind to it still and picked its design apart. In real life, the new 2-series looks fresh and stylish.
We love the heavily sculpted body and the pronounced hips that offer an athletic look out of the box, and its silhouette is noticeably sleeker than the previous generation. Adding to the appeal is the gorgeous Thundernight Metallic (read: purple) paint that is quickly becoming one of our favourites; it attracts attention everywhere without being overly flashy and is well worth its $895 price tag.
Powered by BMW’s M TwinPower Turbo inline-six (codenamed B58), the M240i xDrive can accelerate like few sub-$100K cars can. The loss of its manual transmission may have turned off some purists, but we have no complaints with the quick shifting eight-speed Steptronic sport transmission being the only choice. It enables the 382-horsepower pocket rocket to accelerate to 100 km/h in as little as 4.3 seconds (4.1s for a zero to 60mph sprint), and sharpens up the M240i’s response considerably.
Thanks to an innate bias, the BMW M240i xDrive handles like a rear-drive car. The drive system sends most of its power to the rear first, allowing the M240i to happily wag its tail at corner exits, before applying power to the front wheels to correct its course. You can sense that the xDrive system is carefully calculating how much power to distribute to all four corners to achieve the maximum stability and the fastest result, inspiring an unbeatable amount of confidence in all types of road conditions.
With the help of a set of Pirelli Sottozero 3 performance winter tires, the M240i xDrive navigated through a nasty winter storm that brought over 30 centimetres of snow onto our city without even a slight hesitation – something we would not feel as confident doing in a traditional rear-wheel drive sports car.
On dry pavement, the BMW M240i xDrive is an exceptional car to row. After years of research and development, BMW has finally created an electric steering system that is incredibly accurate and more importantly, with genuine road feel. The chassis is well balanced and the M240i has some of the quickest reflexes in recent BMW history outside of the dedicated M portfolio. The adaptive M suspension offers quick adjustment on the fly without feeling harsh even in the stiffest setting, and there are plenty of settings to create an individualized experience.
BMW estimates that the M240i xDrive will consume about 8.0L/100km over in a combined setting, with our observed figure ringing in around 10.5L/100km. Winter driving or performance driving will always lead to greater fuel consumption and we did both a fair amount in this case so the additional cost is justified. Premium fuel is recommended for its 52-litre tank.
Interior layout is of the typical BMW design – neatly appointed and easy to use. The iDrive infotainment system is displayed on the 10.25-inch touchscreen atop the centre console, with commands accepted through touch, voice, or the rotary dial. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are integrated wirelessly, though we experienced an intermittent connection that marred our experience. The M240i comes with BMW’s Intelligent Personal Assistant using voice commands, with an ability to learn how to personalize its response to the driver over time.
The low seating position in the M240i makes for ample headroom up front, and the overall space for the front passengers is quite generous. Fun fact, the M240i xDrive’s dashboard has the same width as the larger BMW M440i, which explains the good shoulder and elbow room despite the compact size. Understandably, the rear seats are reserved for children, but we like that the power adjustable front seats are quick to fold up and would return to its original position after. Cargo volume is measured at an acceptable 391 litres.
With a starting MSRP of $56,950, the 2022 BMW M240i xDrive is a serious bargain in the world of performance automotive. Our loaded tester rung in at $68,595, which is still a good value as there simply are not many rivals in the market. The Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 4MATIC is closely matched in size and price, but its power and driving dynamics do not even come close to the M240i xDrive. The Toyota GR Supra shares the same powertrain and similar engagement as the BMW coupe but is down two seats and two driven wheels, making it a less useable car than the M240i xDrive.
Theoretically, by adding all-wheel drive and deleting the option for manual transmission, the all-new 2022 BMW M240i xDrive is no longer the enthusiast’s choice it once was. Instead, this is now a sophisticated pocket rocket capable of delivering a fun driving experience year-round, and that makes it even more appealing to those in colder climates. The M240i is one of the best daily drivers available today, and purists can wait a little longer for the upcoming M2 model. We expect it to be offered with a manual transmission in a rear wheel drive configuration that guarantees maximum fun.