There is no doubt we are living in rather daunting times, having just pulled ourselves through the worst (fingers crossed) of a global pandemic, we had hoped to see light at the end, but now, saddled with constantly unresolved conflicts around the world and an ever-changing climate upending the global economy and supply chains, inflation has now firmly established itself into every nook and cranny of our lives.
An unfortunate issue that can be felt very dearly in Singapore’s automotive space, as escalating manufacturing costs, a newly revised automotive import taxation system and an influx of wealthy individuals have caused local car prices to spike exponentially to a level high enough to give young car enthusiasts little reason hodl to their dreams.
This is a rather disappointing development because if we closed our eyes and for a moment, imagined a much calmer world where the prices of cars were much more within reach of an aspiring working adult, there has never been a better time to be a petrolhead.
With manufacturers transitioning to an inevitable EV future, we are now seeing a revival of the cars we grew up falling in love with as the final champions of Pure Internal Combustion Engine love, with a show of force to demonstrate that, no, our mighty engines are not about to go gentle into that good night, that we will continue to burn and rave at close of day, and rage, rage against the dying of the light.
And as you’re about to open your eyes, I’d like you to once again, go into your thoughts and remember what you love about driving BMWs as I present to you, the new BMW M240i xDrive.
Modern is also how one would best describe the 2’s aesthetics, while BMW makes references to iconic BMWs for certain elements of its exterior, this is without a doubt a forward-looking design all around.
With larger dimensions all around from the car it replaces, the new 2-Series is also one of those cars that look much better in the metal than in pictures and is in my opinion, one of BMW’s best-looking cars on sale today. Made more so with its gorgeous signature Thundernight Metallic hue.
Diving straight in is a cockpit most BMW drivers will be familiar with, albeit, a slight bit more snug. With an interior layout being taken straight off the 3-series before its LCI treatment, one that the 2-Series will also be scheduled to receive with its updated iDrive interface and facia. Though much more sophisticated in design and outlook, the physical buttons eventually to be phased out will be sorely missed.
I’ll admit I had a bit of hesitation as I approached the M240i. Having driven one and falling in love with it back in Germany a few months back, I had my doubts about just how well those fond memories would transition to our ever-so-restrictive home grounds.
South Buona Vista in place of the Oberjoch pass, 90km/h in place of 250km/h (and beyond) and patchy uneven surfaces in place of smooth open stretches of tarmac, few would argue that Singapore is a place to fully enjoy an automobile without bending a number of traffic laws.
Those worries were soon put to rest moments after I brought the lovely B58 Straight-six into life with a push of my thumb and punched my way through mid-day traffic.
Packing a claimed 374 horses and 500 Newton metres of torques (we all know there’s more), this Thundernight number is able to scrabble up all 4 wheels to propel itself up towards 100km/h in “4.5 seconds”, quote and unquote because while those are BMW’s own figures, a few independent tests have shown that the Bavarians have been rather humble with their numbers with some acceleration runs towards the century mark coming in below 4-seconds. Putting it right on par with the previous M2.
Everything I remembered the M240i to be was still relevant even at our lower thresholds of speed, its effortless runs through the gears, its juicy low-end grunt and joyous zing towards the rev-limiter and its phenomenal ability to hang on to corners steadily with an over-exuberant driver at the helm.
An over-exuberant driver who would, of course, appreciate a bit more feedback from the steering and would be much happier if BMW decides to map drive-mode buttons to said steering wheel as well. Because currently, the buttons to toggle between drive moves sit way too close to the starter button for one’s comfort.
That said, the M240i’s M-lite magic was still there, continuously egging one on to play while sounding, might I add, even more, sonorous than the unit we drove in Germany, with plenty of thunderous noises on the over-runs.
It was a joy to drive in Germany, and I’m happy to report, a joy in Singapore as well. Its size, its character, its balance, its playful nature, and perhaps, even its poise. The BMW M240i is Freude am Fahren, and now, it’s sadly time to wake up and return the car.