In the upcoming weeks, you’ll see I’m on a quite roll when it comes to small sporty cars. I recently drove three of the top cars within this segment and each was as good as the other. And, to bias myself a little, I love smaller cars with biggish engines, or at least some turbo goodness. So, needless to say, my tester this week scratched me where I itched.

The 2018 BMW M240 coupe is chock full of goodness and also induces the hairs on your neck to stand up in enthusiasm. On looks the M240 is one of BMW’s most conservative-looking cars. It’s meant to be an introduction vehicle (starter car) for the BMW line. It does that well.

EXTERIOR

It has the typical “kidney bean” grille that typifies the Beamer brand. Evenly spaced out and split headlights and running lights balance out the front end. The entire front end has subdued styling, as does the side where only a subtle side indentation adds to the fit and finish. The back end is equally conservative with downplayed styling. Even the tail lights lack pizzazz on this somewhat sleepy little coupe. The dual exhaust pipe is the only hint of excitement but surely tips its hand at what you can expect from behind the wheel.

PERFORMANCE

There are three different engines for the three different 2-series trims. My tester was the M240i, which comes with a turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine. It makes 355 horsepower with an eight-speed transmission standard. However, for an upcharge, a six-speed manual is available and will be what the enthusiasts will want (and pay for). As such, the M240i with the 8-speed automatic does an amazing job. The car’s performance is outstanding. There aren’t enough superlatives to explain the driving experience behind the wheel of this little sporty coupe. And there’s just enough of a growl out of that dual exhaust that it will really get your pulse going. The M-suspension system is the perfect blend of performance suspension and comfort. Dynamic driving settings allow you to change up the M240’s overall performance, as if normal mode isn’t good enough.

This is one of the best handling cars I’ve driven in a while. Cornering was a blast and confident even with the rear-wheel drive, it remained under control. For an “entry-level” BMW, this is a great initiation into the brand. It has all the Beamer feels!

INTERIOR

Inside, the BMW representation and branding is on full display as well. As a two-door coupe, you expect the back seat to have limited legroom, and it certainly does. The rear legroom was just enough for me, and I’m only 5’9”. Headroom was adequate too. But what’s most impressive inside are the quality touchpoints found throughout. As an introductory car to BMW luxury, the 240 hits the mark again with sophistication and luxury. There’s no short cuts taken on account the car’s smallish price point (for a BMW).

There’s 13.8 cubic feet of trunk space which is near the top in this segment. You could almost play the what if game and wonder how the back seat could use another inch or two and forego the spacious trunk.

BMW’s iDrive infotainment system is pretty typical for a German-engineered car. It’s high on technology but is also somewhat over engineered. Therefore, it could be more intuitive. Although the 8.8-inch touchscreen is responsive and dominates the dashboard. There’s a nice combination of knobs to offset those annoyed by too many touch options. The Harmon-Kardon sound system is outstanding and there’s a WIFI hot spot (subscription) and interaction with smart phones through Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The M240 is the middle of the three trims available for the 2-series. My tester had a starting MSRP of $45,450. With features heated steering wheel, advanced navigation, remote start and park assist, the M240i had a final price of $53,095.

This sporty little coupe has an EPA rating of 21 mpg/city and 30 mpg/highway. I got into the turbo a lot, so my average of fuel economy of 23.6 was a little on the heavy-footed, low end.

The BMW M240 is meant to be an introduction the Beamer lifestyle. It certainly accomplishes all that and would be ideal as a daily driver or someone who wants German refinement and enthusiastic engineering, but also doesn’t need a lot of space inside the car.

SPECS

2018 BMW M240i Coupe

Price/As tested price……………………. $45,450/$53,095

Mileage…………………………………… 21 mpg/city; 30 mpg/hwy

Engine……………………………………… 3.0-liter six-cylinder

Horsepower…………………………… 335 hp/369 lbs./ft.

Transmission…………………………… 8-speed automatic

Drive Wheels………………………. Rear-wheel drive

Final Assembly Point………………….. Leipzig, Germany

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Jimmy Dinsmore

For several years Jimmy Dinsmore has reviewed new vehicles, offering up a unique look and an interesting voice in his weekly column. Jimmy looks at vehicles from the consumer’s point of view. Light on the technical jargon, and lacking the cynicism that pervades many other auto reviews, Driver’s Side treats each vehicle fairly, offering a light-hearted take. Email him at - jimmydinsmore@yahoo.com and follow him on Twitter @driversside.

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