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Quick Take: 2018 BMW M240i Convertible

A drop-top that thrills

Billy RehbockWriter, photographer

BMW's M-Sport cars don't promise hardcore performance and typically walk comfortably between luxury and sport. The 2018 BMW M240i Convertible disrupts its marque's numerical hierarchy by maximizing fun without sacrificing daily usability.

The Estoril Blue convertible packs a punchy turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six that throws down 365 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. Without reading the rest of this review, you'd know how I felt about this car if you saw my grin reflected in the blue and white roundel on the steering wheel.

Our tester had white seats (which BMW calls Sensatec Oyster) that contrasted beautifully with the paint. The interior is fairly minimalistic compared to the cabins of other luxury cars. Although the interior trails the industry's tech-heavy approach to luxury, I felt that the simplicity offers an environment that frees the driver from distraction.

Options were sparse, but the included $2,250 Premium Package sprinkled in a number of options I wouldn't want to live without if this was my only car. It includes a heated steering wheel, heated front seats, satellite navigation with upgraded traffic information, and remote services. The stunning Southern Californian weather negated the need for the cold weather tech, but even L.A. gets chilly enough in the winter for these to be useful options.

The BMW tester was also equipped with the $100 Moonlight Black soft top, which has a beautifully textured fabric. The roof is a bit slow to retract and deploy, so it stayed down for the majority of its time under my watch. Other non-standard features included $800 park distance control, $800 adaptive headlights, $500 wireless charging, and $300 Apple CarPlay.

I didn't spend my time with the convertible BMW pining for more options since it was such an involving driver's car. The sport exhaust sounds incredible, snorts during shifts, and makes delicious crackles upon throttle lift off. It drives with sublime tactility and poise that one would demand from a car that bears a $56,345 price tag.

This BMW convertible isn't as wide as the M2 long-termer we once shepherded, so those looking for a proper compact will enjoy being able to tuck the two-door away in tight spots.

Dimensions aside, I also found our M2's suspension to be a bit too hardcore to enjoy it in the majority of everyday situations, and the dual-clutch transmission causes the car to shudder in traffic.

Without these performance enhancements, the M240i gains tons of usability without giving much away in the fun-to-drive department. It's still fast, handles well, and represents what an Ultimate Driving Machine ought to be.

The adaptive suspension and eight-speed automatic are a big part of the formula that makes the M240i so easy to love. It rides well in the "Comfort" and morphs into an even better driver's car when the "Sport" mode is chosen. BMW tuned the dampers to suite a range that drivers actually experience rather than anticipating track use with too much optimism. There's still plenty of grip to go around when the road gets curvy. When I took it on Malibu's canyon roads, the sticky rubber dug in and held on tight.

The M240i Convertible has limited competition. Audi's A3 cabriolet is down on power, and lives in a segment akin to the less powerful 230i convertible. Aside from Ingolstadt's offering, there isn't a single compact four-seater convertible on the market to compete with BMW's medium-spicy 2-Series.

The lack of industry parallels are all the more reason to plunk down cash on 2018 M240i convertible. It offers a unique driving experience that excites without asking for an eye-watering sum. This petite sports car has the acceleration, handling, and usability to satisfy every day of the year and although it isn't a full-fledged M car, it is a complete package.

2018 BMW M240i Convertible Specifications
PRICE $50,050/$56,345 (base/as tested)
ENGINE 3.OL turbocharged DOHC 24-valve I-6/335 hp @ 5,500 rpm, 369 lb-ft @ 1,520-4,500 rpm
TRANSMISSION 8-speed automatic
LAYOUT 2-door, 4-passenger, front-engine, RWD convertible
EPA MILEAGE 21/30 mpg (city/hwy)
L x W x H 175.9 x 69.8 x 55.2 in
WHEELBASE 105.9 in
WEIGHT 3790 lb
0-60 MPH 4.5 sec
TOP SPEED 155 mph