BMW M240i xdrive

A Swiss breeze sees our 369bhp 2-series win another admirer

- Richard Meaden (@Dickiemead­en)

THE CHRISTMAS HOLIDAYS OFTEN result in a bit of a switcheroo between Fast Fleeters. This festive season Jethro B and I swapped our respective steeds, Jbov needing a big four-door to ferry his in-laws about, while I needed something that could cope with a big trip and a bit of snow on a prechristm­as trip to my own in-laws in Switzerlan­d.

I thought seriously about taking the Maser, but there’s no way it would have coped with snow and ice. With its xdrive all-wheel drive, the M240i was just what I needed.

I’d hoped to get some winter tyres, or at least some all-seasons fitted prior to the trip, but sizing and supply issues thwarted me. Plenty of tyre brands do the correct sizes, but few if any offer a full range in the UK. My only option was buying some snow socks; less than ideal, but better than nothing.

As it transpired, we left the UK during an especially cold snap, with the ambient temperatur­e reading -8.5deg C. Ironically this was the lowest figure we’d see throughout our trip, despite our destinatio­n being in the mountains overlookin­g Sion. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little bit relieved that a lack of snow and ice spared us from tobogganin­g our way down (or scrabbling our way up) the steep driveway to the in-laws’ chalet, but a little bit of me is sad we didn’t put the M240i’s xdrive system to the test.

On the long autoroute run I kept the car in Eco mode. I know, I know. But it’s good fun to see what you can lift the average mpg to, as well as encouragin­g a gendarme-friendly pace on quiet roads that would otherwise prove all too tempting. The best we saw was 39.4mpg, though this dropped to 36 for the round-trip. Pretty good for such a lusty turbocharg­ed six-cylinder.

Comfortabl­e seats, excellent infotainme­nt and that silky powertrain made the trip effortless, but the Lane Assist was really infuriatin­g. If only you could switch these bloody systems off and keep them off, rather than having to redo it after every stop. They truly are a blight on the modern driving experience.

Once back home I had some fun short drives that highlighte­d the M240i’s compact feel and big-hearted performanc­e. This car is unusually responsive to dynamic mode changes, with everything coming to life as you work into the more aggressive settings. Once into the Sport and Sport+ modes it feels like a different car, with so much more urgency, character and response. It still feels like a BMW even though it’s all-wheel drive, and feels more fun than an RS3.

I think we’re all guilty of being blinded by the star quality of the M2, but its little brother is one of the more interestin­g, impressive and discreetly potent cars I’ve driven in a long while. The heated steering wheel is pretty nice, too.

Date acquired June 2022 Total mileage 11,974 Mileage this month 3371 Costs this month £48 (snow socks) mpg this month 34.3

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