BMW M240i xdrive
A Swiss breeze sees our 369bhp 2-series win another admirer
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