Okay, BMW, you’ve converted me. This BMW M240i is the ultimate tanning machine.
by Kimberly Phipps
10 things to know about the 2018 BMW M240i convertible.
I have to come clean here: I started this test drive with some unfair prejudice. I confess that I’ve never been a fan of BMWs. Maybe it was all the John Hughes 80s movies where the snobby rich kids always drove a Bimmer. Maybe it’s the crazy guys in my neighborhood who roar around in their black BMWs with complete assholery, oblivious to other drivers, pedestrians, children, and small animals, showing off for each other. All this to say—my test drive of this car started out with a few strikes against it. I did not want to like this car. But the best relationships often start out that way, even in those John Hughes movies—right?
Looks aren’t everything, but even I had to admit that this is one fine-looking ride. When it’s parked next to a whole posse of available convertibles, foreign and domestic, the 2018 BMW M240i’s classic good looks and breeding are evident. It’s not crazy mid-life crisis sports car flashy, nor is it round and cutesy-cuddly. It’s a really good-looking, solid, grown-up car that happens to be convertible. The cool headlight design give it a mischievous, let’s-get-into-some-trouble expression.
The interior is both well-styled and super comfortable. Although BMW is a luxury brand, its German DNA is evident in the restraint used in the styling, both inside and out. The interior has luxury, high-end materials but not a lot of shiny things, swirls and swoops that other high-end convertibles might sport. Most of the controls in the car are comfortably and sensibly analog—real knobs and buttons, as opposed to little arrows to press, which is very satisfying. The 2018 BMW M240i doesn’t come right out and say, “Hey! Look at me! I’m so FANCY!” If it were an outfit, it’s more Coco Chanel, less Donatella Versace. Whether you like it or not will depend on your taste—some will appreciate its toned down subtlety, while others might want a little more cockpit bling.
The model I drove had white leatherette seats, which I must say are the perfect seats for a convertible, both for style and practicality. See, leather in direct sun with the top down can get searing hot really fast. Black leather, if you’re wearing a short skirt or a sleeveless top, is cast-iron skillet hot. In contrast, these seats were white, beautifully textured and breathable. Even after being in direct sun, it won’t sent you to the burn unit. In addition to the aforementioned white, the interior is available in cognac. And, have you noticed that red interiors are making a comeback this year? (YES!!!!) The 2018 BMW M240i is one of a growing number of cars that are available with a fabulous red interior. See ya later, boring beige!
The seats themselves are supple and supportive, both for the driver and passenger. The backseat ride is roomy and comfy in comparison with other convertibles, but not for the super-tall. Kids, carseats, pets, and average height friends will fare just fine in the back seat. One definite bonus is that this car has good headroom whether the convertible top is up or down. And you can try it both ways, because the automatic top both opens and closes in a mere 22 seconds.
The BMW is often known as a “driver’s car”, and the this 2018 BMW M240i certainly lives up to that name. Sure, the engine is powerful, but it’s not all just about the horsepower. The steering, shifting, and clutching, and breaking all feel like they’re working seamlessly together, and may very well be reading your mind. Even while driving on a crazy winding Malibu road that was unfamiliar to me, I felt myself trusting this car’s response. I was confident enough even in the first few minutes to pick up some speed and really whip it around the curves with no fear. And I’m no daredevil, so that’s saying something!
If you’re going to spring for a car like 2018 BMW M240i, do yourself a favor and get one with a manual transmission. Seriously, you will feel like you’re mind-melding with the engine. Shifting is silky smooth, but nice and firm—like good chocolate. If you haven’t driven a manual since learning on your big brother’s old beater car, you are in for a treat. If you don’t know how to drive a stick shift, this is the perfect excuse to treat yourself to some lessons! On a car like this, it’s a blast. And, chances are good that your kids will not be asking to borrow it, unless they want to learn how to drive it. Being a grownup has its benefits. But one thing to note before you test drive it—this transmission has eight gears, and the reverse gear may not be where you thought! I found that out the hard way, when I pulled over (safely!) for a selfie op, and then needed to back up. Oops! So what did this Bimmer newbie do? I just Googled “reverse on a manual BMW transmission” on my phone, and found a little diagram showing me exactly where I needed to go to get in that gear. Easy peasy! Turns out, living in the internet age has its benefits.
For the built-in screen display, BMW offers a wireless version of Apple CarPlay. So instead of a clunky infotainment system that is just one more thing you have to learn to use, you get one that interfaces with your iPhone. CarPlay is not an in-car system that runs iOS apps, but a system that has the same look and feel of your iPhone, making it more intuitive to control with touch or your voice. BMW and Apple have been long-time collaborators for in-car tech, and it has paid off.
It’s a little detail, but it’s a cool one. When you start to really accelerate, the seatbelt senses this action and gently tightens around you. Hmmm, maybe it really is reading your mind…In any case, it does make you feel more secure in your seat—like getting a hug from your car!
One last piece of advice, if I may: This is a car for grown-ups. Yes, it’s fun to drive and safe. But it also has a LOT of power. This is not a car for a teen, or any young driver. Even if your kid is super responsible and the perfect child in every other way, a young person’s lack of driving experience, plus the natural and understandable adrenaline rush that comes with driving a car like this is just not a good combination. So parents, please…just say no on this one. They can wait. You, on the other hand, are a grownup. You’ve earned it, you can handle it, and you deserve it!
gorgeous color choices
decent back seat
lack of tech safety