First Drive: BMW M240i xDrive 2022 Review

BMW's smallest M car, the M240i, has gone all-whee-drive...
18th March 2022
Seán Ward



When BMW decided to make the 1 Series front-wheel-drive there was outcry. Admittedly not worldwide outcry, but many who had preached the benefits of buying a rear-driven BMW found themselves facing a changing brand. That classic rear-drive balance, so well associated with BMW for decades, seemed to be coming to an end. Mercifully, some at BMW had the nous to fight for BMW’s right to party. It is to those individuals we can give thanks for this, the new BMW 2 Series Coupe.

The 2 Series Coupe, unlike the 1 Series, is still rear-wheel-drive, made possible because, despite its relatively compact size, BMW took the underpinnings for the 3 and 4 Series and shrunk a smaller body over the top. The eagle-eyed among you, however, will have spotted that this is not merely a 2 Series Coupe review but a first drive of the M240i xDrive Coupe. Moreover, as the name suggests this isn’t just the hot 2 Series Coupe but, for the first time, it’s all-wheel-drive.

We like

  • Accessible performance in all conditions
  • Controlled but not crashy ride
  • The interior isn’t too futuristic, and all the better for it

We don't like

  • Doesn’t have the drama of the old rear-wheel-drive M240i
  • No manual option
  • Aggressive bonnet is on even the most basic 2 Series Coupe



It looks terrific. The kidney grille is appropriately sized, there’s a ‘power dome’, as BMW calls it, on the bonnet, and there are two wonderfully simple triangular intakes below the slender, detailed headlights. In profile there’s a familiarity in its shape, the same three-box look we’ve seen on numerous BMWs (long nose, cabin, short rear overhang), and at the rear? Well, the rear isn’t its best angle. The 2 Series Coupe’s behind has grown a tad, with seemingly more metalwork comprising the rear deck and a flatter, more bulbous appearance overall. On the subject of growth, compared to the old M240i this new car is 2.8cm lower but 10.5cm longer and 5.2cm wider. The wheelbase has grown by 5.1cm and the front and rear tracks increase by 5.2cm and 3.1cm respectively. Different car and different time but, if you’re interested, that makes it bigger in every respect than an E46 M3.

The flared arches at both ends, particularly at the rear, are excellent, while the door handles are deliciously sleek and the wing mirrors superbly sculpted, looking as if they should connect to the car from two points but only joining up from the bottom. The only proper gripe is that whether you buy a 220i or an M240i, the power dome remains – great for buyers of the former, less so for those spending more money on the straight-six of the latter.

Performance and Handling


Speaking of the engine, the recipe here is wonderfully simple. Up front there’s a 3.0-litre, twin-turbocharged straight-six with 374PS (275kW) and 500Nm (370lb ft) of torque, the former an increase of 34PS (25kW) and the latter the same as it was before. As mentioned previously power goes to all four wheels, albeit with a rear-bias split, via an eight-speed automatic.

It is a quick car, of that there’s no doubt, but perhaps because the all-wheel-drive system takes difficult road conditions in its stride the car doesn’t feel quite as rapid as the numbers suggest. From a standing start you’ll career away without drama. Peak torque, of which there remains a colossal 500Nm (370lb ft), is available from just 1,900rpm, so it’s very easy to make swift progress without revving the engine out. You should, though, because it’s a silky engine with a lovely howl to it at higher rpm. The gearbox is quick going up the gears but a little sluggish on the way back down. Then again, what it lacks in absolute speed it makes up for in smoothness. Move through the drive modes, from Comfort through Eco Pro and Adaptive and into Sport, and there’s a delightful, discreet and satisfying boom from the exhaust as you go up a gear.

Should it be all-wheel-drive? Well it’s certainly a shame there’s no rear-drive option, and no doubt there will be BMW traditionalists who aren’t entirely happy. But all four wheels tugging away at the ground means greater security – the M240i xDrive has a tremendous chassis, and you can enjoy it more of the time without worrying about the car biting you.



This is not the all-singing, all-dancing, most up to date and tech heavy interior BMW has to offer. But honestly it is better for it.

The driving position is great, with lots of adjustability in the wheel and seat. There are two screens, one in the instrument binnacle and one mounted centrally on the dash. It’s how you interact with those screens, and the car’s interior as a whole, that’s refreshing at a time when so many cars rely heavily on haptic controls or touch sensitive panels. Want to change drive mode? There are buttons for that. Want to turn off the traction control? There’s a button for that, too. BMW’s seventh-generation iDrive system, lost in cars like the 2 Series Active Tourer and iX to an eighth-gen iDrive, is easy to use, controlled via a centre-console mounted wheel and the central touchscreen. Moreover, there are buttons on the dash for the climate control, the radio and more. It’s all relatively simple and it all works.

The red and black plastic trim inserts above the armrests in the door look a little low-rent, as are the plastic ‘M’ badge on the headrests. But most of the textures, the fit and finish, are good. All BMW really needs to do is make the steering wheel a little thinner – it isn’t the chunkiest BMW wheel but it’s still like wrapping your hands around a flagpole.

Technology and Features


The interior screens, a 12.3-inch unit up ahead and a 10.25-inch touchscreen unit on the dash, are clear and easy to navigate. Again, that they aren’t the flashiest systems is no bad thing – clarity and simplicity go a long way when you just want to get in a car and go for a drive. What’s nice about the central screen is that there are apps for the car’s various systems and apps from external sources, like RingGo, Spotify and Amazon Alexa.

As standard you’re treated to auto-dimming folding wing mirrors, an auto-dimming rear mirror, heated memory seats, automatic air-con, adaptive LED lights, high-beam assist, a digital radio, one USB and one USB-C input. Beyond that deciphering the options list is not a tricky task, with nine individual options to choose from and five option packs. The ‘M240i Pro Pack’, for example, brings a different 19-inch wheel design, darker headlights, a Harmon Kardon sound system and the ‘high gloss shadowline’, which darkens much of the exterior trim including the intakes on the nose and the kidney grille.

What hits as hard as an unwarranted slap in the face is BMW’s decision to offer only the non-metallic Alpine White paint as a no-cost option. The other colours, of which there are six, will set you back £595 each. In reality, then, BMW’s list price of £45,795 should in fact be £46,390, because no one will buy one in the basic white.



No, the M240i xDrive is not the rear-wheel-drive baby M-car some might want, but it isn’t front-wheel-drive, and given how easy it would have been for BMW to drop a small sportscar like this altogether and focus on everything 3 Series upwards, we should be happy rather than downcast. The all-wheel-drive chassis is great fun – composed in all conditions but still entertaining and rewarding. It’s one of those cars that just feels right as soon as you get going, a companion that wants to make every drive a little bit more interesting. What more could you want from a mini M-car? It all bodes well for the M2. Well, provided the standard colour isn’t a flat-white.



3.0-litre twin-turbocharged straight-six


374PS (275kW) @ 5,000rpm


500Nm (370lb ft) @ 1,900-5,000rpm


Eight-speed automatic, all-wheel-drive

Kerb weight


0-62mph 4.3 seconds
Top speed 155mph
Fuel economy 34.9mpg
CO2 emissions



£45,795 (£50,365 as tested)