BMW's M240i has a price tag starting from R1.1million. News24 Motoring contributor Imraan Buccus recently drove it and reckons he would fork out the cash for it.
One can immediately tell that the dimensions of the new BMW M240i are different from the previous iteration, mainly from its more muscular appearance. It's now lower and wider than before, and the accentuated wheel arches add to the ferocity of its appearance making for a meaner-looking M240i.
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It's a compact coupe, but it can comfortably take two people and their luggage. It would be comfortable with four people but only over a shorter distance. Variations include the 2.0-litre petrol, a diesel four-cylinder, and the distinctive M240i xDrive.
The refinement of the BMW M240i is clear, and the driving position is the right fit for a car like this. But this model gives off a feeling of brutal power, fantastic luxury, and opulence when you're behind the wheel. I've seen it described as 'blue-blooded to the core', and this may well be an appropriate description.
Among the standard features, one can expect the following equipment to justify its R1.1million price:
- electric folding mirrors
- cruise control
- multifunction steering-wheel controls
- keyless entry
- rain sensor wipers
- Bluetooth connectivity
- sports suspension
- Anti-lock braking system, stability control and six airbags.
What's the interior like?
The inside has the quality and sophistication one has come to expect from German cars, especially from BMW. Of course, this model has the interior made for a sporty version, with an appropriate driving position and an M Sport steering wheel that feels like a dynamic steering wheel should. And it has a blatant presence.
The sports seats have an impressive finish and offer the driver extra supportive comfort. The interior doesn't differ too dramatically from other BMWs, with great thought informing the logic and simplicity of the interior. The massive screen is positioned conveniently, making the technological interaction easy and enjoyable.
It has the usual Apple CarPlay, Android Auto smartphone integration and satellite navigation. Perhaps somewhat annoyingly, it does take over your phone but allows you seamless control of multiple functionalities. As time passes, the screens on many cars offer increasingly impressive graphics and sharp resolution. The M240i bears testimony to this.
It's not too much of a mission to get into the second row, albeit easier to get in than get out. Even though it is a little cramped, it works for shorter trips to work and to the store; and it certainly works for the kids too. However, longer trips will not be pleasant, so abandon thoughts of long road trips with the family.
What's it like to drive?
The raw performance is staggering – 285kW of power and 500Nm of torque. Little surprise that it will get you from 0-100km/h in 4.3 seconds, just fractionally slower than an M4 Competition. The all-wheel drive system guarantees confident, solid performance and excellent all-weather traction. The impressive 8-speed automatic gearbox is mated with an intelligent all-wheel drive system, making it extra capable, profoundly confident, and powerful. To some dismay, the BMW will disrupt the serenity of our most picturesque settings with its loud bangs and angry roars. Of course, this would be music to the ears of others.
One may pause to consider whether the BMW M240i works as a daily drive or a weekend performance car. Well, there seems to be broad agreement that it certainly can. You have multiple drive modes to choose from, making this an adaptable vehicle. It can be the quiet, sophisticated ride to the office and the untamed wild beast over the weekend.
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The top speed is 250km/h. Road holding and grip are superb on this all-wheel drive, filling you with confidence as you enjoy the confident and captivating bass from the sports exhaust over the weekend.
Regarding fuel consumption, BMW claims 8.0-litres/100km, but it's probably more in the 9-10l/100km range. But it may be best to abandon thoughts of these conservative estimates bearing in mind the seduction of an M Performance-tuned engine. According to the manufacturer, CO2 combined emissions are 185g/km, and the tank capacity is 52 litres.
Regarding safety, this iteration of the M240i has been crash-tested by the Euro NCAP vehicle safety programme, where it emerged with a 4-star rating. Its safety assistance systems came in at 64%, scoring 82% for adult occupant safety. You don't have to worry about child occupancy safety as it scored an A in this regard, a solid 81% and 67% for pedestrian safety. Six airbags come as standard equipment, and it also has ISOFIX child seat anchor points.
BMWs are undoubtedly expensive, but you get what you pay for; or do you? You'd have to fork out R2m for the M4, but you'd get most of the performance experience of an M4 in the M240i for about half the price.
Perhaps still expensive, starting from R1.1m, but the seduction and the sonorous roar of the engine, along with its superb driving dynamics, make it worthwhile. With South Africa's significant high-performance enthusiasts, the M240i is more than likely destined for a bright future -perhaps a roaring success.
Also, remember that you are getting much more for your money than you would with the previous model. If it's on your bucket list, go ahead and get it, especially if you've passed the 30-year mark. You only live once!
Type: Six-cylinder petrol turbo
Capacity: 3.0 litre
Top speed: 250km/h
0-100km/h: 4.3 sec (as claimed by BMW)
Fuel Consumption: 8.0-litres/100km