Picture a fast BMW 2 Series. Chances are you’ll see a BMW M2, the halo car of the range, painted in signature Long Beach Blue. Since its arrival just over twelve months ago, the M2 has eclipsed the attention surrounding every other version of BMW’s smallest two-door car. But while the M2 deserves its status, there’s another 2 Series that, in many ways, is even more appealing. That’s because the 2017 BMW M240i convertible has two things the M2 can’t match. The M240i has even more torque than the M2, making it feel even stronger when pinning the throttle from a standing start. And while the M2 is only available as a coupe, the M240i is optionally available as a convertible. The sensation of speed is really maximised this way, with the additional sensory involvement that drop-top motoring gives a driver.
The M2 comparison is inevitable, especially given there is just a $6,600 jump from the M240i convertible to the M2 Pure, a more basic and manual-only edition of the $99,210 M2. But perhaps the more meaningful comparison is between the M240i and other quick convertibles in BMW’s range. The M240i is the sweet spot in BMW convertibles. At $83,610, it’s much less expensive than the $117,900 440i that uses the same engine. The 2 Series looks better, and the dynamics are tighter, too. Of course, you could spend silly money on a brash M4 or M6 convertible but both are relatively boaty in comparison to the lithe M240i. The law of diminishing returns operates to its full effect when choosing a convertible BMW. Spend less; get relatively more.
Some will find the M240i too small for their tastes, preferring the grander and more muscled look of the 4 Series and 6 Series-based drop-tops. But while preferring your BMWs on the larger side is a perfectly valid choice, it is a choice that ignores the brand’s history of making small performance machines with delicate dynamics – a legacy many link to the E30 3 Series, a vehicle the modern 2 Series almost matches for size. Delicate, an M4 ain’t – and some would argue the 250kW M240i is itself too much of a hammer, with the 185kW 230i a more balanced machine.
The point is, though, that today’s 2 Series – in coupe or convertible form – is as close as a modern BMW gets to replicating the company’s best-ever cars. Sure, it’s small – the back seats are tiny, and the tight lines are much less showy than the relatively yacht-like 4 Series. That’s the point. This is a classically taut, rear-driven BMW sports car that aims to maximise the connection between driver and machine. For that reason, I found it very likeable.
I also found it great to look at. These are ideal BMW proportions – short overhangs, long doors, a gradual wedge shape forming towards the nose. And they are classic BMW lines. The 2 Series is almost a nineties BMW in its refusal to adopt overly fussy creases. It’s very handsome from the front and the side, and it’s not too bad from the rear. Our car’s Mineral Grey paint over oyster grey and black leather is as good a combination as can be selected on this car. The M240i-specific, grey 18-inch wheels masking blue calipers complete a look that manages to combine a rare combination of elegance and sporting intent.
The shape of the convertible is more beautiful than the coupe, but you pay for it. The open-top form adds $9,000 to the cost of an M240i, and in my observations, you see far too many driving around Sydney with the roof up to have justified the extra outlay. Despite testing the car in winter, I made a point of driving it every day with the roof down. Don a ski jacket and it’s entirely possible (and fun). If you buy the convertible, you have to use it – it’s the best way to hear the luscious straight six and the gurgling and popping exhaust, and see and smell everything around you – the real joy of driving any convertible, but especially one as good as the M240i.
Key specs (as tested)
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Budget Direct Insurance arranged by Auto & General Services Pty Ltd ACN 003 617 909(AGS) AFSL 241 411, for and on behalf of the insurer, Auto & General Insurance Company Limited(ABN 42 111 586 353, AFSL 285 571).Because we don’t know your financial needs, we can’t advise you if this insurance will suit you. You should consider your needs and the Product Disclosure Statement before making a decision to buy insurance. Terms and conditions apply.
Indicative quote based on assumptions including postcode , 40 year old male with no offences, licence suspensions or claims in the last 5 years, a NCD Rating 1 and no younger drivers listed. White car, driven up to 10,000kms a year, unfinanced, with no modifications, factory options and/or non-standard accessories, private use only and garaged at night.
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