Traffic is coming back with a vengeance in cities across Canada, but right now there’s no car we’d rather be driving than BMW’s all-new 2 Series coupe. Munich’s smallest two-door is a supercar for the city, a coupe built for the real world of rush-hour and construction. It lives for on-ramps, and in it, so do we.
We’re driving the full-fat M240i xDrive, which tops the 2 Series lineup (for now, until the next-gen M2 arrives). It may be a compact car but the 2 sounds big; the turbocharged straight-six makes a surprisingly deep growl. When a gap in traffic opens up, a quick jab of the throttle effortlessly sends the car lunging forward, propelled by 382 horsepower and a mountain of torque. What a time to be alive; nearly 400 hp in a compact coupe, and this isn’t even a proper M car. Yeesh.
Trying to thread any big modern SUV through Toronto’s tight alleyways is enough to make a driver sympathetic to the captain of the Ever Given container ship. But the compact M240i can go anywhere: alleyway shortcuts, iffy parking spaces, and too-small parking garages pose no problem. From the driver’s seat, this car feels just right, like your best pair of jeans.
Compared to its predecessors, the new M240i coupe makes fewer compromises. New adaptive dampers make the car both more comfortable on bad roads and much sharper on a racetrack. Where the old car liked to understeer occasionally when pushed, the new one really doesn’t. The wider track and updated xDrive all-wheel drive system makes the front end feel pointy and eager to change direction on a moment’s notice. The steering is quick, but not as feelsome as, say, a Porsche Cayman. The AWD system does a good job of making the car feel rear-drive, most of the time, but this BMW isn’t a tail-happy hooligan’s toy. (For that, wait for the upcoming M2.) This M240i is meant for the real-world — not racetracks.
If it’s a choice between driving the latest wedge-shaped Italian supercar around the city for a week or this most-affordable BMW coupe, we’d take the latter every time. The reason? It’s simply more fun, more of the time, and you don’t have to be as precious about it. Besides, the 2 Series will fit your friends in the back seats, and carry more than enough luggage for a weekend getaway.
None of this happens by accident. There’s history here. You see, the new 2 is the heir to a long line of little BMWs that punched way above their weight class. From the original 2002 that blew critics away in the 1960s, to the E30 3 Series of the ‘80s, to the E46, and the more recent V8-engined M3, BMW has stuck to a tried and true formula: practical compact cars with wicked engines and great chassis. Cars like these made BMW, BMW.
It’s worth pointing out that the two-door 2 Series coupe is a very different animal from the four-door 2 Series gran coupe. Mechanically they have little in common, which explains why the two-door is so good to drive. BMW’s engineers essentially took the 4-Series coupe and made it shorter. Voila! 2 Series coupe. But, just because it’s the least expensive coupe in BMW’s lineup doesn’t mean corners were cut. What we have here is a proper little luxury car. Taking into account the fact it shares so much with the 4 Series, the M240i xDrive Coupe’s starting price of $56,950 feels like good value. There’s really nothing else like it right now.
Frankly, we think the 2 Series just looks better than the 4 Series too, although you can make up your own mind. The small coupe was designed by Jose Casas Peña, who also penned our beloved BMW Vision M Next supercar concept back in 2019. The 2’s proportions bring to mind the now-classic early-2000s M3. Without being retro, it pays homage to its predecessors with little design cues like the slightly squared wheel-arch flares and classic horizontal kidney grille. BMW is really throwing a bone to its biggest fans here, and, well, we’re grateful.
If you’re looking for a classy, entertaining, and practical sports car under $70,000, you should get the all-new 2 Series coupe, preferably in six-cylinder all-wheel drive M240i xDrive trim. The only reason why we’re not putting one in the SHARP garage permanently is because we’re waiting to see the upcoming M2.