A superb BMW

convertible

BMW M240i Convertible, action front
BMW M240i Convertible, action front 2
BMW M240i Convertible, action side
BMW M240i Convertible, action rear
BMW M240i Convertible, front seats
BMW M240i Convertible, rear seats
BMW M240i Convertible, boot

YEARS ago, when I first started road testing cars I would often be stopped by the boys in blue if I was driving something exotic.

No, it wasn't because I was driving at naughty speeds - perish the thought - it was simply because they wanted to have a look at the car.

This hadn't happened to me for years until recently, when I was ambling through the lanes of Berkshire with the roof down on a BMW M240i.

The traffic patrol officer who stopped me was interested only in the car, because it was the first one he had seen close up. He was very taken with it - and so was I.

The M240 is the range topper for the convertible, with no less than 335bhp from a silky smooth 3.0-litre straight six turbo, which delivers the most awesome performance from just about any speed.

It's about the same size as the original BMW 3 Series convertible all those years ago and feels absolutely marvellous on the road.

But, as you would expect, such performance necessitates stiffer sporting suspension and this does have a small effect on the quality of the ride.

However, it must be said that BMW does sporting suspension better than anyone else, so, where other cars become downright uncomfortable when fitted with it, this one is hardly affected at all.

The car came with BMW's £1,500 eight-speed automatic gearbox and that seems absolutely right at this level.

There is sometimes a slight delay on kickdown in Drive, but with the gearbox in Sport mode it's immediate. This does use more fuel though because it's always one gear higher.

There is also a manual mode and this is selected immediately when you touch the paddles behind the steering wheel.

But, from what I can gather, very few owners ever use this, preferring to let the car do the work for them.

Comfort is very good over reasonably surfaced roads but it was more lumpy on poor back roads.

The whole car has that real BMW feel, with marvellous steering, superb electronics to save you when you make a mistake and tremendously driver-focussed handling.

The balance is a delight and the grip and handling are almost unbelievable, backed up by intuitive steering and stupendous brakes.

Inside, the car had red ochre leather seats. This is one of the colours that BMW continues to produce so presumably, they have markets for it, but I would not have thought the UK was one of them.

The electric hood is reasonably quick up and down and, when it's down, the heating system is more than man enough to keep front occupants at least snug and warm, with an excellent built-in wind deflector.

Standard equipment is very good, as it should be at this exalted level, with parking sensors, alloys, Bluetooth, USB and aux-in, DAB radio and a six inch screen for controlling most functions as well as the sat nav.

It also has climate, remote controls on the wheel, xenon headlights, a body kit and variable rate sports steering.

FAST FACTS

Price: £40,465

Mechanical: 335bhp, 2,998cc, 6cyl petrol engine driving rear wheels via 8-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 155mph

0-62mph: 5 seconds

Combined MPG:34

Insurance Group: 42

C02 emissions: 189g/km

Bik rating: 32%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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