2021 BMW’s 240i xDrive: Skyline GTR reincarnated? Here’s 7 reasons why we believe so….

BMW, the company that brought us lovely sounding inline-6 engines on highly capable RWD chassis has been evolving. Their engines getting steadily turbocharged, and the chassis changing from delicate, balanced machines, to more dense and butch instruments. Just look at how the M3, M4 and M5 have evolved over the years. 
Its the same with the all-new 2 series. The flagship M240i xDrive is far from the big cc NA and lively RWD chassis BMW used to be known for. This, on paper, seems like something new, yet familiar. This car, seems like its the reincarnation of the R32 GTR for 2021. Just like the new Supra, if Nissan had JV’ed with BMW to develop the Skyline GTR again, this should not be too far off. Here’s 7 reasons why. 

Its got an inline-six engine, turbocharged

And not just any engine, the now-famous B58 block which BMW’s thrown into everything from SUV’s to Luxury sedans. And the brand new incarnation of the Supra.  The stock figures are already brilliant with 374bhp, ad more importantly 500Nm from 1900rpm. That’s 100Nm more than the torque of the E92 M3.

Computer controlled AWD system with an Active Diff   

Just like the ATTESA system, only better. Of course, since this car enjoys nearly 3 decades of automotive engineering advantage over the GTR. The xDrive system, based on the press release from BMW, seems to work in principle like the ATTESA System. It’s a multi-clutch system that splits the torque to the front and rear axle on demand, governed by software. But the cherry on the icing is the M Differential at the back. That thing works like Ferrari’s E-Diff that you see in the V8 Ferrari’s since the 430. 

This powertrain on a sleek, coupe body   

Which is saloon derived. Just like the Skyline. A version of this powertrain can be found in the current 3 series, imagine this entire package in a smaller, more agile 2 series body, which has a smaller footprint than the 3. The R32 has a relatively small footprint when compared with the R33 and 34. The 2 series emulates that, in this refreshingly traditional 3 box coupe body. 

Serious performance under subtle body 

The merit of the R32 GTR was that it was unassuming, giving Supercar humbling performance from what was a saloon derived body. All this was thanks to the technology it packed under the skin back in 1989. Its the same with the M240i xDrive. The car has an 8 speed gearbox, M sport suspension, 19 inch rims and 4 piston caliper brakes up front. Together with the M sport diff, you could easily hustle this car along roads like Kuala Kelawang wit ease, regardless of weather. And a 0-100kph of 4.3 seconds, it would worry some Porsche’s on track too. 

With a lot more potential to come

Some have already begin experimenting with 4 digit power outputs from this engine. And the chassis which features extensive use of aluminium also provides a good base for chassis tuning. The market is already full of aftermarket toys for these generation of BMW’s. Even the Japanese tuners have begun tinkering with them. It’s only a matter of time before extensively tuned examples of these cars pop up, if you fancy that route. 

M Division goods with 'Lift Related Dampers'

Not that you really need to go through all that trouble. The car already comes with a whole host of M Sport goodies. And from experience, if used properly, M Sport items are as good as they get for a BMW. As mentioned, the brakes are M Sport systems that come standard for the M240i, so do the high performance tyres and M Sport suspension. 
The suspension mounts are hydraulic, and the suspension arms are aluminum to reduce unsprung mass. The dampers itself feature something called ‘lift related dampers’, which we understand works somewhat similar to the ‘helper spring’ setup you get in adjustable suspension. Simply put, there are two springs which work with the hydraulic bump stops to ensure your bumps are absorb, without sacrificing damper stiffness for good body control.  We will explain more about it in a later content. The net result of this is excellent body control and continuous traction. 

It comes in purple

This is more of a sentimental aspect. When you think of Skylines GTR’s you’d mostly picture them in Black or the blue of the R34. But the connoisseurs will know Purple is the unicorn of the range. For a limited time it was offered for the R33, and the R34. This car comes in purple. If you use your creativity…….

Overall...

We truly believe BMW’s created a restomod version of an R32 Skyline GTR.  It may have not been intentional, but we feel that’s how this M240i xDrive feels like, especially with M sport items. It may not be homologated for racing, and might only come with an automatic, but that’s ok, as its a more usable package overall. And with skyrocketing prices of the actual R32, 33 and 34, a price tag around the RM400,000 mark might even seem like good value. What are your thoughts on the BMW M240i xDrive ?

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