2017 BMW M2 Chris Wal­ton

“With a base price $8K be­low that of an M2, the M240i is close to its equal in per­for­mance. The burly M2 is still more hand­some.”

Motor Trend (USA) - - Update -

We love our M2, love its size, love its blis­tered fend­ers, and re­ally love its snarling 365-hp 3.0-liter N55 twin-scroll turbo-six. What might be hard to love is its $57,795 as-tested price. Re­cently, we re­viewed a $48,070 (as tested) 248-hp turbo-four 2017 BMW 230i and came away de­lighted and might­ily im­pressed, but we still felt like Goldilocks in search of ju­u­ust right. In an ef­fort to com­plete our BMW 2 Se­ries sam­ple plat­ter, we got ahold of a 2017 BMW M240i ($52,875 as tested). As its name sug­gests, it might be a stealthy M Divi­sion car in a plain 2 Se­ries wrap­per. It’s pow­ered by the new B58 3.0-liter sin­gle-turbo straight-six, and we be­lieve it might be a lit­tle un­der­rated at 335 hp.

At the dragstrip, we ex­pected the M2 to leave the M240i flat-footed at the line and never look back. Our M2 has a seven-speed twin-clutch au­to­matic with launch con­trol and 265-width rear tires to use it: 0–60 in 4.1 sec­onds. By con­trast, the M240i came with the stan­dard six-speed man­ual and 245-width tires. Al­though the M2’s N55 and the M240i’s B58 en­gines’ horse­power vary by 30 (ad­van­tage M2), their torque ratings are iden­ti­cal at 369 lb-ft (at 1,450 rpm in the M2 and at 1,520 rpm in the M240i). They left the line at vir­tu­ally the same rate. As the M2 be­gan to pull ahead, it shifted 1–2 near 30 mph. The M240i’s taller gears mean it doesn’t need to shift un­til closer to 40, so it gained back a lit­tle and reached 60 in 4.3 sec­onds. And so it goes; with the M2 car­ry­ing a nar­row lead un­til … what’s this? The M240i catches the M2 at about 70 mph, and they both cross the quar­ter-mile fin­ish line in 12.9 sec­onds (M2 at 106.2 mph, M240i at 110.5 mph). How? Horse­power should rule, right? Af­ter a 10-email vol­ley with tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor Frank Markus, we put it down to aero­dy­nam­ics. See, the M2 has greater frontal area (2.21 square me­ters) and higher drag co­ef­fi­cient (0.35) re­sult­ing in 0.75 drag area, or “air re­sis­tance.” For the M240i, BMW shows 2.14 square me­ters frontal area x 0.33 Cd = 0.71 drag area. Is that it, or is the M240i the bud­get M car its badge de­clares? We say the lat­ter.

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