For a while now, BMW’s latest M Performance models seem to be just as fast and nearly as capable as the outgoing generation of BMW M cars. It happened with the E36 M3 and the E46 330i (more specifically the ZHP), and in recent years, the G20 M340i has proven to be on par with the F80 M3. For 2022, with the G42 M240i on the way, it’s happening again, this time with the M2. In a recent video by Throttle House, the two models were compared head to head, and the winner might come as a surprise.
It didn’t take long after the introduction of the M2 in 2016 for the model to become BMW’s most popular and hottest-selling M model. Given the M2’s compact footprint and the great power from the N55 turbocharged inline six, the M2 was essentially an instant classic, offering BMW fans a taste of what they had been missing since the onset of heavier, less connected, but more capable models. If you’ve had the chance to read our breakdown of the M2 model lineage, you’ll know that the initial variant develops 365 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 369 pound-feet of torque from 1,450 to 5,250. That’s more than enough output to ensure a good time, but when the S55-powered M2 Competition and range-topping M2 CS came out, it became clear that BMW left something on the table.
The second-generation BMW 2 Series is set to arrive for the 2022 model year, and an M240i can by specified and optioned to cost almost exactly as much as a pre-owned, low-mileage M2—but which one should you actually buy? The B58 turbocharged inline six of the M240i has output of 382 horsepower from 5,800 to 6,500 rpm and 369 pound-feet of torque from 1,800 to 5,000. Those figures are enough to propel the M240i xDrive from zero to 60 mph in just 4.1 seconds (compared with 4.2 for the outgoing F22 M240i xDrive), but it’s important to note that the second-generation 2 Series is hundreds of pounds heavier than its predecessor (and the F87 M2), and cannot be had with a manual transmission (the entire M2 lineup came standard with a manual, while DCT was optional.)
So, which is the car for the genuine driving enthusiast? Although the M2 might be a bit slower than the M240i, the performance-oriented nature of the true M car (even though it doesn’t use a full M engine) provides the driving experience that many of us are looking for. The M240i, on the other hand, comes with all of the latest technology and full warranty coverage, neither of which should be discounted, and can also be optioned with xDrive, the lack of which can be a dealbreaker for some.
Of course, the M240i is merely the M Performance model of the second-generation 2 Series lineup, and we’re still waiting for the next-generation M2. Nevertheless, the new Two is still a serious contender.—Alex Tock
[Photo courtesy BMW AG. Video courtesy Throttle House on YouTube.]