Caraganza First Drive Review BMW 230i Coupe: Still fun, only cheaper

There’s something to be said for chain restaurants. I mean, sure when I travel, I would rather search out and find a local establishment, one found nowhere else. But barring that, or if Yelp tells me a local place might be best avoided, I will head for a chain simply because I usually know what I’m getting. They are all formulaic and normally use the same sort of ingredients. Yes, some are better than others, but you pretty much standard fare across the lineup.

It’s sort of the same way with cars. Like BMW.

BMW sent me a 230i coupe for a recent week. I already sort of knew what I was getting since I had a week with a 240i about a month prior.

The 2 Series BMWs get more power, and get more expensive, as you move up the line. The 240i I had a prior week with was the M model, and the all-wheel drive. The 240i didn’t have the “M” designation but had the optional M Sport packages making it pretty close to that M model.

The 240i and the 230i look pretty much the same on the outside. It’s underneath, what you can’t see, where the differences are.

Under the hood the 240i gets an inline 6 with 382 horses, while the 230i has a 2.0 liter 4-cylinder with 255 horsepower. The M 240 also had the all-wheel drive while my latest 2 Series didn’t (though it’s available).

Caraganza First Drive Review 2022 BMW M240i: A Cure for the Mundane

Because of all the M Sport options the 230 had the same sport suspension, 19-inch wheels, sport brakes, differential and sport styling the 240 had. Inside the differences weren’t noticeable, which I knew would be the case. Also, with the options the 230 had the same heated seats, leather upholstery, M Sport steering wheel, adaptive headlights, surround-view camera system, a head-up display, adaptive cruise control and a Harmen Kardon surround premium sound system with of course all the safety systems you come to expect like forward collision warning and mitigation, and blind-spot monitoring.

There is also Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and an 8.8-inch infotainment display and navigation system. All-in-all a 240i.

I knew that the biggest difference would be on the road, and I was right. In the more powerful 240 0-60 was 3.4 seconds; in the 230 5.1.

Aggressive cornering didn’t seem too different which makes sense since while the 230 wasn’t all-wheel drive, it weighs about 300 pounds less with most of the weight loss coming up front. Like the 240, the 230 was a blast to drive, and while perhaps a bit tamer than it’s snarling M beast twin, I think it would be more manageable for everyday driving.

At the end of the day, you get what you pay for with the BMW 2 Series. The M240i I had topped out with an MSRP of $57,295; the 230i topped out at $48,945. For $9000 less you still get a fun luxurious sporty coupe that will be just as entertaining to live with on the road at an affordable price.

It’s sort of like going to my favorite chain steak house and ordering something lower down the menu that normal. Still a good steak, and still fills me up when all is said and done.

The 2022 BMW 23i Coupe

MSRP: $36,350
MSRP (as tested): $48,945
Engine: Intercooled Turbo I-4, 255 hp @ 5000, 295 ft-lb. torque @ 1550 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed shiftable automatic
Fuel Mileage (EPA): 26 city, 35 highway, 29 combined
Fuel Mileage (as tested, mixed conditions): 32 mpg
Curb weight: 3,519 lbs.

Exterior Dimensions (inches)
Length: 179.4
Overall Width with Mirrors: 81.4
Overall Width without Mirrors: 72.4
Height: 55.3
Wheelbase: 107.9
Ground clearance: 5.0

Interior Dimensions (Inches)
Front head room: 38.1
Front leg room: 41.8
Front shoulder room: 55.9
Rear head room: 34.7
Rear leg room: 32.2
Rear shoulder room: 51.7
Cargo capacity, all seats in place 10.0 cu.ft.

Basic: 4 yr./ 50,000 mi.
Drivetrain: 4 yr./ 50,000 mi.
Rust: 12 yr./ unlimited mi.
Roadside: 4 yr./ unlimited mi.