Are you the kind of driver that simply must have a trophy car? One that screams boy-racer, kitted out with aggressive attire, big bold badges and a reputation that precedes it. If that’s the case, go straight to the BMW M2 that I reviewed recently. That epic, fire breathing M car is right up there with the best BMW’s performance wand can cast a spell over. But you do have a more reasonable, sensible and economical option. The BMW M240i Coupe is no poor man’s M2, it has the performance, dynamics and appeal that left me thinking how and why people spend the extra cash.

Not Just a M Badge.

This two-door, four-seater coupe has a M badge sure. But many BMWs do, in fact Australia is the leading market for consumers ticking the M package box. But apart from wheels, body kits and other cosmetic cheats, the M240i has almost the same gusto as the real deal.

What Do You Get?

The M240i scores a single twin-scroll turbo inline six-cylinder 3.0-litre turbo engine (B58), although it’s a like a dog wearing a choker chain, being a little more restrained than the slightly different N55 engine found in the M2. It produces 250kW / 500Nm, its almost track-orientated relative bumps that up to 272kW / 500Nm (on overboost). The car I drove had the standard eight-speed transmission, there is a six-speed manual option. Now that would be true fun.

The all-important run to the tonne is done in 4.6-seconds, the M2 does it in 4.3 seconds… For about 20-grand more! But the M240i is far more closely related to its donor standard 2 series coupe. The M2 scores significantly different panel work, bumpers and underlying running gear and suspension.

Does It Drive Like an M2?

You’d barely know sitting behind the sports M steering wheel. For those attuned to the finer nuances of car dynamics, you’d only need to roll 100-metres down the street to pick the M2, it’s more of a samurai sword whereas the M240i is closer to a very sharp kitchen knife. It’s more liveable, the ride is more acceptable for a wider range of drivers, but there is still ample room for mental fun.

With 250kW going to the rear-wheels in BMW’s smallest coupe, the potential for a great Sunday drive is obvious. The inherent BMW steering feedback and body balance is there, while the brakes will hold up under duress time and time again. The suspension can be tensed up or relaxed depending on the drive mode, a trait not available on the M2. Sport mode is certainly firm but not back breaking.

The transmission is typically the very definition of finesse mostly, if you have a problem with it flick over to the paddle shifters for your own blend of shifting fun. The M240i’s twin-exhaust lacks the visual appeal of the M2’s quad-pipe setup but it holds its own on the noise front. It scowls and whines nicely but doesn’t quite bark like the big dog.

A Selfish Car to Buy?

Well yes probably, you clearly love to drive if you get one of these. Room is ok up front; the rear two seats won’t keep anyone but a couple of kids happy for too long. But overall you score the typical BMW interior, nice but a little dated. Our test car as you can see had the wild ‘Dakota’ red trim, I like it, others may hate it. It’s nice to have proper boot, although you won’t be venturing away from the city for too long, a couple of medium sized suitcases and smaller backpacks will just about do it.

The Tech.

The updated M240i scores the latest iDrive 6, the test car featured the class-leading wireless Apple CarPlay. That’s a $623 option that inferior cars offer for free. If BMW introduces the overseas subscription plan here I’d frankly be even more disappointed. However, a 12-speaker harmon/kardon sound system, brilliant LED headlights and a raft of safety features take away the sour taste.

AEB will stop you when you fail to notice a hazard, such as a vehicle or pedestrian. Lane-departure warning vibrates the wheel but doesn’t physically intervene. I was surprised by the lack of blind spot monitors.

The Value Game

$76,800 before on-roads verses $93,300 – $99,000 for the M2 Pure and M2 Coupe variants. If it’s a game of maths and performance, the brain will always win, but for many who are shopping in this category it’s a heart job. Do you settle or take the punt and extend yourself? Either way both cars are marvellous. Fuel economy is claimed to sit at 7.1L/100km, you will not achieve that. If you do please let me know what your trick is.

The EFTM Rubber Stamp of Approval.

This is a car that will thrash so many more expensive offerings, yet it’s still some way off being the real halo M2. It’s the old wolf in sheep’s clothing type of car, one that offers near flawless driving satisfaction without being an all-out hot rod. I award the BMW M240i the EFTM Credit Rubber Stamp of Approval.