BMW 2 Series: car review

Posted on May 28th, 2014 by James Luckhurst

The 2 Series is the sweet spot in BMW’s coupé line-up.

BMW 2 Series: car review

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What is it?
The 2 Series is a direct replacement for the 1 Series Coupé, offering sporty looks. There’s the same range of engines as in the 1 Series hatch, with everything from economical to extremely quick.

How safe is it?
The 2 Series has not been tested by Euro NCAP, but expect similarly impressive results to the 1 Series. As well as the expected suite of airbags, the 2 Series can also be ordered with Drive Assist that offers lane change and collision warnings.

Who should buy one?
Anyone who enjoys driving will love the 2 Series in any of its guises thanks to superb handling and good comfort. Drivers looking for something more compact than the 4 Series will also find the 2 Series appealing.

 

DRIVING AND PERFORMANCE
BMW 2 Series: car review
If there’s one area a BMW must excel in, it’s the way it drives. The company has built its entire reputation on cars that are entertaining and rewarding to drive, and the new 2 Series doesn’t disappoint. It may be larger than the previous 1 Series Coupé by 72mm, but the 2 is noticeably more compact than the 4 Series Coupé and it feels it on the road in the way it changes direction.
The 2 Series has an eagerness to the way it deals with twisting roads that is missing from the 4 Series, which feels much more like a GT car in comparison to its little brother. With superb grip in, through and out of corners, the 2 Series serves up a balance of handling none of its rivals can match.
Just as impressive is the way BMW manages to make the 2 Series a joy to drive while providing a supple, controlled ride that refuses to be upset by dimples and deformations in the road. Even on the most pitted roads, the 2 Series is calm and collected. When the car has to deal with engines that offer as much as 326bhp in the M235i, excellent traction is imperative and this BMW delivers.
The M235i is rabidly quick in either six-speed manual or eight-speed auto guises and questions why you would need any more performance in a road car. Its 34.9mpg average economy is acceptable given the performance, but 189g/km CO2 emissions might put some off.
For these buyers, the refined 220d is ideal thanks to 119g/km and 62.8mpg. It also dishes up 0-62mph in a brisk 7.2 seconds and, on real roads, is little slower than the M235i thanks its prodigious low- and mid-rev shove. Other engines are covered by 218d and 225d versions of the same turbodiesel engine, while four-cylinder turbo petrols are fitted in the 220i and 228i.

SPACE AND PRACTICALITY
BMW 2 Series: car review
The 2 Series’ natural rivals are coupes such as the Audi TT, Toyota GT86 and Volkswagen Scirocco. None of these cars offers as much rear seat space as the BMW, which can cope with four adults and luggage when required. It’s snug in the back for adults, but much better than its competitors’. Access to the rear seats is good for this type of car thanks to wide-opening doors and front seats that slide forward. Even so, you need a degree of athleticism to get in and out easily.
In the front, the driver is treated to plenty of adjustment in the seat and steering wheel to find the ideal position. All-round vision is also better than in most coupé rivals as the 2 Series enjoys more glass area. The dash is clear and uncluttered, with the main instruments in bold white on black. BMW offers a head-up display to augment the main dials and it’s one of the best systems we’ve tried.
The iDrive controller in the 2 Series is well sited and easy to use in conjunction with the dash-top screen, making it more intuitive to work than many similar systems.

 

SAFETY
BMW 2 Series: car review
The 2 Series comes with six airbags as standard, as well as Isofix child seat mounts and ESP stability and traction control. Buyers can choose an optional Drive Assist package that includes lane departure warning and forward collision alert. The collision alert works with cars and pedestrians and will apply the brakes automatically in an emergency situation. A rear parking camera is another option, along with a speed limit display.

EQUIPMENT
BMW 2 Series: car review
All 2 Series sold in the UK come with BMW’s iDrive as standard, as well as keyless ignition, rain sensing wipers, rear parking sensors, a minimum of 17-inch alloy wheels and LED rear lights. Air conditioning, USB port, Bluetooth, DAB digital radio and dash-top display screen. However, satellite navigation is an optional extra. There are the now usual SE, Sport, Modern and M Sport trims to choose from.

 

COSTS
BMW 2 Series: car review
The 2 Series is well equipped as standard, though some carefully chosen options will further enhance the car’s already strong resale value. Fuel economy in the diesel models is excellent, and even the petrols are good, while CO2 emissions dip to a company car-friendly 119g/km for the two less potent turbodiesel motors.

WE SAY
The 2 Series is the sweet spot in BMW’s coupé line-up.

AT A GLANCE:
Price: £28,215
Performance: 0-60mph in 7.2 seconds
Economy: 62.8mpg combined
Insurance: Group 25
Tax: Band D (£100 standard rate)

Figures for the 220d M Sport