Sunday Drive: Spring in Southern Utah with a BMW coupe
With spring finally arriving in Utah the first week of April, it offered us a chance to spend a few days in St. George during our week with the new generation of the BMW 2. However, it was mostly for the sake of getting to take an extended road trip in “The Ultimate Driving Machine,” and that coming in the form of a coupe was just a huge bonus.
It just so happened that a couple of months earlier we had rented a home to stay in with Craig’s sister Christi, her husband, Ray, and his mom, Pat, looking to get out of the cooler weather of the north by heading south into Utah’s warmer climes. We were rewarded somehow for our efforts with each of the four days in Utah’s southern corner reaching almost 90 degrees.
Thursday morning, we loaded up the ample trunk space of the BMW M240i with two carry-on suitcases, a box of food, three pillows and a blanket and headed south on Interstate 15, leaving behind what had been snow earlier that week.
The 2022 model year for the M240i heralds the second generation of the entry-level luxury sports coupe, and with it many great features and additions that make driving the BMW a truly exceptional experience, as we were to find over the next few days on our travels in the south desert.
Inside, we were surrounded with comfort and, most importantly, technology that put the BMW at the head of its class. The seats were especially comfortable, and we can truly say we were energized after every drive, sometimes going over 150 miles between breaks, which were of course suggested by the BMW and its technology that seemed to know that we were tired and needed to stop.
Another awesome addition was the BMW personal assistant, a feature we have come to completely enjoy. Simply by saying the words “Hey, BMW” and asking for directions, climate controls and other information, the vehicle would take care of it automatically.
It also now has the ability to tell the difference between driver and passenger. Thus, if Deanne wanted it warmer or cooler on the passenger side, all she ad to do was ask and the coupe would respond for only her side of the car.
The navigation is now tied to the adaptive cruise control, along with getting outside information from others like the WAZE app, as it would alert to the upcoming problems along our path. This information would even be projected into the added heads-up display, things like slow traffic ahead, car on the side of the road ahead or even letting us know if there was an officer doing speed checks along the upcoming route.
On a road trip such as the one we took to St. George, this type of information can be invaluable, as we found on our way home when the traffic was pretty much bumper-to-bumper the entire way back into Utah Valley. Seems that we were not the only ones who had the idea to head south that weekend.
The adaptive cruise control was also a huge help in this endeavor, keeping the M240i within the posted limit, and would stop and go with ease as we traveled home, never having to reset or worry about our speed.
Our test ride also came with the addition of the BMW Live Cockpit, which upgrades the infotainment screen to a 10.5-inch touchscreen and puts a huge 12.3-inch, high-definition LED display that is customizable as the driver’s display. These two additions alone make for a huge difference in the driving experience, especially on a longer journey like we took.
Technology aside, the BMW M240i is one of the last remaining coupes with rear-wheel drive, as power can be sent via the xDrive option to just the rear or it can also be sent forward to the front if the situation calls for it, thus making under steer or over steer situations virtually nonexistent.
Add this to the 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder BMW twin-power turbocharged engine that would deliver 382 horsepower with 369 foot-pounds of torque and rocket the coupe to 60 in a mere 4.1 seconds, and we had quite the “Ultimate Driving Machine” for the week.
Any kind of turbo lag was not even noticeable as we passed others, accelerated from a complete stop or just needed more power along the way. Also included in the M240i was a launch control system that would allow us to get the quickest off-the-line starts possible from the vehicle, just in case a drag race was in the cards.
New this year to the M240i is a video feature that will record and store 40 seconds of video from around the car using the driver assistance cameras that can be downloaded through a USB port in the vehicle. In the case of an accident, it will keep 20 seconds of video before and 20 seconds after the crash recorded. Now there is a way to know who or what was at fault in an accident.
Of course, Apple CarPlay was wireless, as has come to be the norm in a BMW with them being one of the first to get this technology working, and it gets better and better every time we are in a new one of their cars. Coupled with the wireless charger, our phones could have lived in the vehicle.
It is also possible now through near field communication to unlock the coupe using an iPhone by just holding it near the door handle. This same key can be shared with up to five drivers, making it possible to put limits on different drivers such as speed, power and maximum radio volume — a parent’s dream with teenagers.
Having the BMW for a trip to beautiful St. George was a treat in and of itself, again proving over and over that having “The Ultimate Driving Machine” is more than worth the price, especially on a road trip!
Base price: $48,550
Destination price: $995
Price as driven: $57,295