Home' Open Road Western NSW : OR0317 Contents BUYERS IN THIS PREMIUM segment expect something
special for their sports car dollar, and the BMW M240i certainly
delivers. Replacing the M235i, which was the class’ runner-up
last year, the updated 2 Series’ flagship model comes to market
$3500 cheaper while sporting extra standard equipment and
features. That gives it a handy head start on the dearer
Mercedes-AMG A 45 when it comes to price and depreciation.
However, the extra coin for the Merc will get you a lengthier
list of standard features than the BMW, even with its recent
upgrades. New features on the Beemer include adaptive
headlights, a 360-watt 12-speaker Harman Kardon audio
system, keyless access and driver assistance technologies
such as approach control warning, lane departure warning,
pedestrian warning, light city braking function and
The M240i features the latest-generation M Performance
engine that now uses a little less fuel than its predecessor and,
importantly, delivers an extra 10kW and 50Nm. Maximum
outputs now total 250kW at 5500rpm and a virile 500Nm at
1520-4500rpm. And what a cracking engine it is. All judges
enthused over the 3.0 -litre turbo in-line six-cylinder engine’s
muscular performance through the rev range and its eager
throttle response. It revs freely and emits that sweet
soundtrack that’s so typical of BMW’s brilliant straight sixes.
The standard eight-speed auto features a launch control
function, and there are paddles for when manual selection is
desired. The gearbox received the judges’ universal praise for
its lightning fast and intuitive changes. All in all, it’s a sublime
experience to savour.
The M240i also won compliments for its ride and handling
finesse. Steering is light and responsive, and underpinning its
sporting credentials is the purity of BMW’s classic rear-wheel-
drive agility, fine dynamic balance and a communicative chassis.
Its cabin is a user-friendly place, earning high marks for
ergonomics and build quality, and features the latest generation
of BMW’s iDrive infotainment system. Very comfortable front
seats with good adjustability rated well, although ultimately not
as highly as the body-hugging sports seats of the Merc.
The end package is a winning combination of powerhouse
performance and sporting dynamics, plus everyday liveability.
Mercedes-AMG A 45
After two years reigning over this class,
the Mercedes-AMG A 45 has been
narrowly beaten. But as the high on-
road scores attest, the hot little Merc
still has enormous driver appeal.
Buying and owning the A 45 punishes
the bank balance more than the BMW
M240i, but offsetting its higher price is
a more impressive standard equipment
list. And there’s that stonking 2.0 -litre
turbo engine pumping out 280kW and
475Nm, making it one of the most
powerful production engines of that
displacement you’ll find.
The more overtly styled interior in
the A 45 has switchgear that’s too
fussy for our liking, but the body-
hugging sports seats provide great
comfort and support.
Best Sports Car
More kit for less money makes the BMW M240i Sport
Line a clear winner amongst an impressive group
Engine: 3.0-litre turbo six-cylinder Transmission: eight-speed automatic
Power: 250kW Torque: 500Nm Fuel consumption: 7.1L/100km (claimed)
ANCAP: Not rated Price: $81,634 (indicative drive away)
3RD PLACE Ford Focus RS
With an-road price just over $55,000,
Ford’s new hot hatch is the second
cheapest car tested in this class and will
deliver ear-to-ear grins for drivers.
The 2.3-litre EcoBoost turbo engine is
mated to a slick six-speed manual
gearbox for 257kW and 440Nm (470Nm
in overboost for up to 15 seconds).
There’s a launch control system for
really quick getaways, and Brembo
brakes to halt proceedings efficiently.
The RS is equipped with all-wheel-
drive, dynamic torque vectoring, sports
suspension with adjustable dampers,
and four drive modes. The system even
includes a controversial yet effective
‘drift’ mode for tyre-frying fun, not
intended for public roads. Steering and
dynamics also impressed, although the
hard-edged ride was less appealing.
The A 45 (above) and the Focus (below).
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