For ten years, the BMW 1 Series has been the company’s big gun when it comes to luxury compacts. Over the years, it’s gone through a number of variants and iterations, but now BMW is taking the lessons learned from the rear-wheel drive 1 Series, mixing them with its TwinPower Turbo technology, and has come up with the BMW 2 Series Coupé. Harkening back to the BMW 02 range of 45 years ago, the company is aiming to make the 2 Series distinct from its predecessor and able to see off the car maker’s competitors in the luxury compact market.
The two-door BMW 2 Series won’t be confused with the 1 Series easily. It’s 72 mm (2.8 in) longer than the 1 Series Coupé, has a 30 mm (1.2 in) longer wheelbase, and is 5 mm (0.2 in) lower, but retains the three-box body. The lines are sportier with a strong through-line, wrap around monoblock headlamps, overlapping surfaces, and a rear spoiler lip for greater downforce.
In front, there’s a split grille that’s somewhat overwhelmed by the air scoops below, but blends nicely into the longer bonnet that accommodates a choice of engines, one of which BMW says produces the most powerful petrol-driven of the brand’s M Performance Automobile line-up.
The 2 Series comes in three Coupé variants based on engine choice. There’s the basic 2001 coupé that is the first compact BMW with a two-liter, direction injection, in-line four-cylinder, four-valve petrol engine that puts out 184 bhp (135 kW) and 270 Nm (190 lb.ft) of torque.
At the other end of the spectrum is the M235i. It has a six-cylinder, four-valve three-liter petrol engine that ups the ante with 326 bhp (240 kW) and 450 Nm (331 lb.ft) of torque. Rounding out the collection is the 220d, which is a four-cylinder, two-liter diesel that cranks 184 bhp (135 kW) and 380 Nm (280 lb.ft) of torque. Behind all three is a standard six-speed manual gearbox, though eight-speed automatic and sports automatic gearbox options are available.
As far as performance goes, the 220i does 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 7 seconds and has a top speed of 235 km/h (146 mph). The M235i hits 100 km/h in a more respectable 5 seconds and pegs the speedometer at 250 km/h (150 mph), and 220d does a surprising 7 seconds and 230 km/h (143 mph).
The wheels also differ between the variants. The 220i and 220d have 16-in, light alloy wheels, while the M235i has 18-in, light-alloy wheels with bespoke tires. All have Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Dynamic Traction Control (DTC), Cornering Brake Control (CBC) and Adaptive Brake Assistant. In addition, there’s an auto start/stop function and brake energy regeneration.
Inside, the 2 Series is surprisingly simple and even a bit old fashioned, with accents that are almost like something out of the 1960s. The cockpit is designed around the driver with an asymmetrical center console and a free-standing control display. The front seats have a racy feel to them, though the fold-down rear seats are a bit basic, and even skimpy.
In terms of fuel consumption, performance reflects the powerplants. The 220i does up to 6.1 l/100 km (2.6 US gallons/100 miles), the 220 manages 4.5 (1.9 US gallons/100 miles), and the M235i lags at 8.1 (3.4 US gallons/100 miles).
The M235i is the most elaborate of the 2 Series with an M Sport chassis, Xenon Headlights, M Sport brakes, M Sport suspension, and a special M Aerodynamics package available with a special front apron and rear diffuser
The video below introduces the BMW 2 Series.
See the stories that matter in your inbox every morning