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A Violaceous Gem: Driving the BMW G42 M240i xDrive Coupe

“Driving one is a special experience. There is a responsiveness, a smoothness, a precise sureness in the way a BMW handles that makes driving a real joy.”

Not my words, but those from an advertisement from many years ago. Though, you could almost be fooled into thinking that’s what the latest M240i xDrive Coupe is all about because the more I drove, learnt and engaged with it (on the beautiful Oberjoch Pass), the more I felt it was something special.

Other than their same numerical designations, the new BMW 2-Series Coupe has nothing else in common with its front-wheel-driven Gran Coupe and Active/Gran Tourer stablemates. Instead, it is built on BMW’s UKL platform, carrying over chassis components from both the 4-Series and Z4 roadster, promising a cracking drive.

While it might share the same underpinnings as the 4-Series Coupe, the new 2-Series Coupe is both shorter in length (4,545mm vs 4,768mm) and reduced in wheelbase (2,741mm vs 2,851mm) while being slightly taller (1,404mm vs 1,387mm) and narrower (1,838mm vs 1,852mm) than its larger sibling. Surprisingly though, it is the 2-Series Coupe with the wider front track width (1,579mm vs 1,575mm), giving you a small clue into its intent.

Also, it looks the business in BMW’s latest (very well named) Thundernight Metallic Paint, throwing off shades of deep purples to shrieking violets.

Complimenting this new shade is a unique exterior design that is one of BMW’s boldest on a series production model. Showcasing a strong hunkered down stance incorporating chunky broad shoulders and hips enveloping purposeful geometric shapes and sharp powerful lines stretched around a tautly controlled coupe body complete with flushed door handles, the new 2-Series’ aggressive design is a daring leap ahead from its predecessor.

In M Sport and M240i trim levels, this aggression is further emphasised with a deeper, sharper lower front end, M-style wing mirrors, contrasting black side skirts, a chunkier rear valance with M-car-Esque vertical reflectors on either side, larger angular tailpipes, a pronounced rear lip spoiler and even additional fender extensions over each wheel arch. A design feature not seen on a factory BMW in quite a while.

While the aesthetics on the latest 2-Series Coupe are unmistakably forward-looking, the new car’s stout sporty outlook also references styling cues from BMWs that have come before.

Non more obvious than the redesign of BMW’s front lighting signatures, a modern take on the classic BMW 2002’s headlights, featuring a single unit, circular design on either side. Also absent are the restyled Hofmeister kinks last seen on almost all other brand new BMWs and a return to simpler iconic angles. The kidney grilles are also a modernised interpretation of a much-loved design element, being wider, not deeper, brought up to date with an array of stylised active air-flaps in place of static vertical bars.

An array of stylised active air-flaps set to automatically open when charging hard up an alpine road or down derestricted stretches of the German Autobahn, roads our M240i xDrive Coupe lapped up across as we thundered across Bavaria. Sometimes with a full-sized suitcase in tow.

Once nestled within the very supportive sports seats and from behind the feelsome thick steering wheel, there’s little else indicating that 374 horses are lying dormant underneath the bonnet’s power buldge. A sense of sensibility in the cabin attributed to the nearly identical dashboard carried over from the 3 and 4-Series, though on our M240i, there is a hint of visual flair with tactile textures and a touch of colour splashed across the door cards.

With the 8.8-inch touch screen, physical buttons and BMW’s Intelligent Personal Assistant ready to receive your supplemental inputs, ergonomics and usability as always, pose little to no issues. An important aspect of interior design because once the starter button is thumbed to stir the lovely Twin-powered turbo Straight-six into life, it’s go time.

With 500Nm under the bonnet, BMW posits their car can hit 100km/h from rest in a rapid 4.3 seconds. Quick indeed, in reality though, the M240i seems to hit even quicker. Nail the throttle pedal into the floor in the car’s maximum attack settings and BMW’s sweet B58 engine will take little time to respond with a generous dollop of Bavarian power as it sweeps towards its redline.

Emanating a wonderful vocal performance combining the smooth crescendos of a beautifully tuned Straight-six with an almost violent whistling of the spinning Turbo. Breaking only occasionally for a boisterous crackle as a minute explosion erupts from the twin rear exhaust when the finely tuned ZF 8-speed punches you up into a higher gear urgently putting 374 horses into the ground through all four wheels, then another gear, and another. Finally finishing off each chorus with a succession of muted claps on the overrun as you ease off the throttle to dig into the sizeable M-Sport brakes.

Swing it into a bend and the M240i Coupe gamely responds to your steering inputs with a plentiful amount of grip even on our winters, quickly darting into each curve as it playfully eggs you on to continuously edge it in a little bit harder after each successful corner. And even with xDrive equipped, a committed push into a corner with an added dab of power allowed the rear end to rotate around after initially pushing wide before the all-wheel-drive system hooked up to propel us out towards the next corner.

While the M240i Coupe might share its powerplant and chassis components with its larger aforementioned stablemates, it feels definitively the more focused and more eager car, being at once both nimbler and easier to judge on the move whilst delivering a more fun, emotional and entertaining drive fanatics of the marque will appreciate for time to come. Is it perfect? No. Do we wish they considered making a manual with more feedback through the steering wheel? Yes. Is it really 1,765kg? Yes. Does it feel like it’s 1,765kg? No.

It is true that the M240 xDrive Coupe has its flaws, but they are flaws we’re willing to overlook given the memories it has provided us in the short span of time we shared. It was a lovely drive.

On the right roads, this little purple gem is a joyous addiction. Bringing to life the very words we started this piece with, words written over 50 years ago describing the new 2-Series Coupe’s spiritual ancestor and the one that kickstarted it all, the BMW 2002.

The BMW M240i xDrive Coupe will be available in Singapore from Q1 2022 along with its more modest but equally stylish 220i Coupe sibling. Sadly, the middle of the pack 230i Coupe has not been planned for a local release.

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