It's a common problem. You've grown up, possibly without realising it, and progressed far enough along the journey of life to find yourself with a blossoming family. And that brings all kinds of joy, of course - but at the same time some predictable limitations. More often than not, the kind of car you buy must reflect the growing numbers at the dinner table. Unless you're wealthy enough to have a fleet - and probably a nanny on tap to give you the breathing space to enjoy trips out in two-seaters - the pressure to compromise on driving pleasure and chase practicality is inevitable.
So, if the time with your Porsche Cayman or Alpine A110 has run its course, but your desire to drive something exciting and pleasurable hasn't, what choice do you have? If your available funds are around £45,000, we'd argue the new BMW M240i xDrive is a worthy contender. It's based not on the 1 Series and 2 Series Gran Coupé platform (which is predominately front-wheel drive) but on the CLAR platform that underpins the current BMW 4 Series. What you get, then, is the same longitudinally-mounted B58 3.0-litre straight-six as the M440i xDrive, right down to the available power output of 374hp. That, for the record, is more than a Cayman S.
If you're thinking that's all well and good but the M240i's xDrive drivetrain will be neutering the fun, you might be surprised. Sure, it isn't going to emulate the dexterity of a rear-wheel-drive mid-engined car, but all that power and its considerable torque (369lb ft) is sent rearwards as a rule. It's only when the rear tyres run out of ideas that the M240i will call upon its front axle to dig you out, which means the potential for fun remains. And while the extra components add 205kg to the car's mass - which stands at a considerable 1,765kg - like the latest M3 and M4, the M240i xDrive has an uncanny ability to disguise its portliness well.
It's also refined and easygoing when you're not barrelling around and, crucially, has the selling points of four useable seats and a generous boot. Is it the answer to your prayers, then? Watch our latest video to find out, and don't forget to like and subscribe to the PistonHeads channel to get alerts for all our forthcoming content.