New 374hp BMW M240i xDrive previewed

Straight-six flagship will head all-new 2 Series lineup when production begins this summer

By Matt Bird / Sunday, May 16, 2021 / Loading comments

BMW is never far from the news at the moment, flitting from the sublime (M5 CS) to the ridiculous (iX) from one week to the next. So much so, you’re never quite sure what’s going to emerge next – which means it’s quite reassuring to hear that the next 2 Series is lining up to be… well, exactly what we’d all expected.

“The unique selling points of the new BMW 2 Series Coupé in the competitive environment include the rear-wheel drive setup, an extremely powerful in-line 6-cylinder engine, the almost 50:50 balanced axle load distribution, an extremely torsionally stiff body and chassis technology consistently designed for agile and dynamic driving behaviour”, says the latest release. And, really, what more should a 2 Series be than that?

Despite being only one generation old, the model has followed on from the example set by the 1 Series Coupe and carved out a desirable little niche for itself, being both smart looking and good to drive. With this much disguise (and BMW’s recent run of form), the jury is still out on how the 2 Series might look, but it sounds like there’s a lot to be encouraged by from what’s underneath.

The M240i xDrive will be the flagship from launch, packing the larger M440i’s powertrain – 374hp, 3.0-litre straight-six and eight-speed auto – into the smaller 2 Series body. Well, slightly smaller; despite BMW’s best efforts here, there’s no getting away from the fact it looks substantially larger than the old 2 Series. Presumably that’s owing to the different architecture underpinning this car, with 1 Series hatch and 2 Series Gran Coupe using BMW’s UKL2 platform and this 2 Series going with a variant of the CLAR Cluster Architecture.

As is often the case, testing has taken place both on roads close to BMW and the Nordschleife. Predictably, the manufacturer reports that it is: “ideally suited to sporty, ambitious cornering including easily controllable drift manoeuvres.” To that end the xDrive all-wheel drive is rear biased and includes an M sports differential at the back, which uses an electric motor to generate a “fully variable locking effect”. Torsional rigidity is up 12 per cent on the old car, track widths are “significantly” increased, and an Adaptive M Chassis will be optional. There’s even been an aerodynamic overhaul, with front axle lift reduced by 50 per cent compared to the old 2 Series.

It sounds like cause for considerable optimism, then. Quite frankly, having any kind of small(ish), rear-drive coupe (there will be non-xDrive cars as well) is enough for us these days, but to know BMW has gone to such lengths is obviously welcome. Apparently, the 2 Series “meets the needs of particularly discerning customers are enthusiastic about unadulterated sportiness in a compact premium automobile.” And we’ll bet a few of those are lurking on PH. Given production will begin later this summer, expect to see the model shorn of its disguise very soon. And an extensive comments thread immediately after that…


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