2's Company : BMW E10 2002 Tii (1973) & G42 M240i xDrive Coupe (2022) First Drive Review
Singapore - Beyond the obvious badge appeal of the blue-white roundel, BMW has long had a reputation as driver’ cars, especially insofar as its compact coupes are concerned.
Compared to the outright performance of the 2002 Turbo and M2, we like how the 2002 Tii and M240i xDrive Coupe are distinguished by their blend of real-world fun and function.
This sees them acquit themselves well both on cross-country winding road touring excursions, as well as in the cut-thrust melee of peak-hour traffic.
There are a few categories of petrolheads: the one group that chases outright performance with the latest and greatest top-shelf, track-ready aggro-aero stuff.
Then there’s a second group, which is enamoured of cars with holistic performance and balance that can better be exploited in real world driving conditions.
This second group prefers the powertrain and ride characteristics to be optimised for patchy roads, start-stop traffic and highways, as well as more importantly, winding roads, with perhaps only the occasional track outing to speak of – if at all.
Since its inception, the M Performance Automobile (or MPA for short) variant of the 2 Series model has attracted a strong fan following for its compact, agile proportions and punchy, perky engines – traits it shares with the 2002 Tii.
Purple Reign - BMW M240i xDrive Coupe (2022)
M Performance Automobile models like the M240i xDrive Coupe are progressive all-rounders engineered to suit the second group of petrolheads, because in real life, roads don’t always resemble the pristine, mirror-smooth and pothole-free surfaces of race-tracks.
The M240i xDrive Coupe’s Thundernight Metallic is a striking shade that brings to mind the gorgeous Techno Violet of the E36 M3. Despite its hue, the M240i xDrive Coupe is no shrinking violet and packs a devastating wallop that it can unleash at will when the hammer falls.
Fans of the colour might like to know that the luscious shade of purple isn’t reserved for the MPA model alone, but can be specified on the regular 2 Series Coupe as well. The colour sets the stage by tugging at the heartstrings of us older petrolheads who recall the E36 M3.
Even the muscular M240i xDrive Coupe’s design blends classical elements harmoniously and effortlessly with the modern, such as the active air-flaps within the horizontal kidney grilles (and lower intakes) and the 02-inspired circular headlights for instance.
The flanks are powerfully sculpted with phat wheel arches and there’s a visual flair to the proceedings that evokes a predatorial grace. A defiant ducktail ‘gurney’ completes the rump-end with a rear apron insert and trapezoidal tailpipes.
At the heart of the M240i is a turbo’d 3.0-litre inline6, which musters a mega 374hp/500Nm, with the latter available from just 1900rpm!
This means you’re seldom out of the powerband and maximum attack mode is just a quick flex of the right foot away.
Furthermore, the power delivery can’t be too peaky (and it isn’t), because you’ll need quick access to the huge hit of torque low-down in the rev-range to exploit gaps in traffic for overtaking.
The power delivery is explosive and brooks no-nonsense, with a taut competence to the car as you give it a good wind-up on winding roads and the gearbox punches furiously up and down the gears.
The controls are reassuringly weighted, with a chunkiness to the steering wheel that adds to the sense of occasion.
We even like the cabin’s classy black-tan colour combi, not just because it reminds us of Guinness, but because it isn’t finished in the usual ‘racy’ colours like red-black, black-black and so-on...
During hard driving, the 8spd Steptronic Sport automatic transmission snaps to attention by delivering sharp and slick shifts, but these segue into smooth slurs when you’re taking it easy.
Now, we understand that some drivers are bigger on big lateral forces than straight-line acceleration, but nevertheless, the M240i xDrive Coupe’s 4.3secs from standstill to 100km/h in pedal-to-metal driving is nothing to sniff at.
In addition to the near 50:50 weight distribution and revised track/wheel camber settings, the new model also boasts M Sport differential as standard and an up-to 12 per cent stiffer static torsional rigidity than its predecessor, all of which contribute to the compact Coupe’s stellar, rear-biased dynamics.
Yes, even though the xDrive all-wheel-drive is there to aid and abet you by offering rocksteady grip in slippery conditions, the system can switch to 100 per cent rear-wheel drive when, erm, you want to get jiggy with the slippery conditions!
There’s an engaging balance to the M240i xDrive Coupe that lets you fluidly thread one corner to the next. It isn’t so much about being outright ‘fast’ as it is about being fun and feelsome and this hunk of Deep Purple is scalding smoke on the water...
Orange Crush - BMW 2002 Tii (1973)
Alongside the fast and fearsome M240i xDrive Coupe, the Inka Orange 2002 Tii (for Touring Injected International) is positively petite... dainty even, as it attracts a fair share of coos and ooos from passers-by.
We’re crushing on it and understandably so, given no one is really immune to its charms – the older crowd this author belongs to is understandable because we’re of a similar vintage – but the fresh colour also hits all the right notes with the young’uns.
We’ll save you the trouble of sauntering to the back to check out if it has the round tail-lights – this Model Year 1973 2002 Tii doesn’t.
Don’t be mistaken into thinking this is a cutie-pie, because there are subtle cues to clue the cognoscenti in on the 2002 Tii’s credentials – make no mistake, this toothy predator wears urban camouflage and is adept at hiding in plain sight.
Don’t believe us? Just take a look at that menacing shark-nose and sporty, squared-off silhouette.
Naturally, the keen-eyed would have spotted its vertical kidney grilles, so no, the front grille of the latest M3 and M4 isn’t that new a phenomenon.
Like the M240i xDrive Coupe, the 2002 Tii is the Goldilocks sweet-spot that sits just below the top-shelf model – M2 for the former and 2002 Turbo for the latter.
The 2002 Tii cabin’s black-beige is a nice match to the M240i’s black-tan: classy and composed for some hard-driving shenanigans then...
The cabin is spare but features driver-oriented ergonomics – after all, BMW has long touted its cars as ultimate driving machines.
From steering wheel to pedal placement and gear-shifts, the driving position is well-worn, in a sense that it fits you as perfectly and as comfortably as your fave PJs.
The weighting of the controls feels ‘natural’, so nothing is overly assisted or augmented, which is a nice reflection of the car’s ‘honesty’.
You slip into the driver’s seat ready and raring to go, without experiencing any rough edges or kinks that need to be worked out over the course of the drive.
The seating configuration is pretty ‘upright’, with an expansive glass area to create the impression of airy space.
Even after a week-plus of disuse, the mechanically-injected 2.0-litre fires up on the first crank with no fuss or fanfare.
The workout of manoeuvring the 900+kg 2002 Tii out of the parking space and onto the arterial roads is a warm-up before the main event and a chance to suss-out its mechanicals.
There’s a smell we’ve come to associate with old Bimmer cabins and the 2002’s hits us in the feels, simply because this is a cool, time-capsule snapshot of what cars used to be like.
Simple on the frills, but complex in the way it overloads your senses.
Thanks to its sub-one-tonne kerbweight, the 2.0-litre’s 130hp/178Nm manages reasonably brisk progress as it glides effortlessly into gaps in traffic, but the card up its sleeves is when you roll yours up to inflict your interpretation of the pain-pleasure principle on the 2002 Tii.
The engine thrives on revs and it loves to be run ragged, since the only way you can enjoy the euphoria of its thrilling soundtrack is when the needle arcs towards redline.
Shifted confidently, the shifts of the 4spd manual transmission are notchy and positive, with a delightful sense of mechanical completeness when each gear is engaged.
Like all revvy engines, you’ll find yourself working the shifter hard in the 2002 Tii, even as your two feet play-out the tappity-tap ritual familiar to all who drive their manual cars hard.
The ride isn’t track-car-hard, but softly pliant and obliging in soaking up road imperfections. It handles naturally, organically even, with no aero-aids, big tyre grip or trick electronics to flatter and fawn over you.
It’s down to the nippy agility of a natural athlete, scrubby little tyres, feelsome body-roll and your talent that keep the 02 out of the bushes.
We like that the 2002 Tii’s chassis isn’t too rigid as to insulate the driver from the feel of the road and there’s a smug satisfaction to be savoured after you’ve had a quick blast along your favourite winding road, much like how we felt in the M240i xDrive Coupe.
Like its modern day MPA counterpart, the 2002 Tii is designed for fast-road touring, which means it’ll accommodate four adults in comfort for cross-country long hauls on the highway with accompanying barang-barang.
True to form though, the 2s are also great company for us driving enthusiasts, because they’re ever-ready to let their hair down on long and winding roads for a session of rowdy, rousing fun.
BMW 2002 Tii (E10)
Engine 1990cc, inline4
Transmission 4spd manual
Top Speed 190km/h
Fuel Consumption est. 10.6l/100km
Kerbweight est. 990kg
BMW M240i xDrive Coupe (G42)
Engine 2998cc, inline6, turbocharged
Transmission 8spd auto
Top speed 250km/h
Fuel consumption 8.9l/100km
PHOTOS Zotiq Visuals