BMW 2 Series coupe
Price £22,890 - £35,075
- Fun to drive
- Economical engines
- Expensive options
- Less refined diesels
- Limited rear headroom
At a glance
"The BMW 2 Series is fun, comfortable and cheap to run – a combination that’s hard to beat."
BMW 2 Series is the new name for the coupe version of the BMW 1 Series hatchback. It also applies to the cabriolet version and to a people carrier, the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer. Here, we’re concerned only with the hardtop coupe.
Along with the new name has come a more attractive body shape that's less compromised by the hatchback's styling. Engines remain largely the same as those in the 1 Series and include a choice of smooth, powerful and economical diesels – meaning driving a 2 Series can be fun but also affordable.
The quickest 2 Series is the entertaining M235i, which is powered by a 3.0-litre petrol engine that just beats the Porsche Cayman S on power. Lower down the 2 Series line-up, rivals include the well-rounded Audi TT, the quick yet cramped Peugeot RCZ and the reasonably practical and stylish Volkswagen Scirocco.
Those models all differ from the BMW in being front-wheel drive, as opposed to the 2 Series’ rear-wheel-drive set-up. This layout gives the BMW sharper responses in corners and greater grip – at least on dry roads – and means it doesn’t suffer from so-called ‘torque steer’ (the tugging effect a powerful engine has on a front-wheel-drive car during hard acceleration). As a result, the 2 Series is more controllable and fun to drive than its rivals.
However, if you regularly drive on wet or icy roads, the 220d xDrive might be the version for you. It's the only 2 Series coupe with the option of BMW's intelligent four-wheel-drive system. And although it's a two-door coupe, the 2 Series is a genuine four-seater – and practical with it: its boot is actually larger than the 1 Series hatchback's.
There are four trim levels – SE, Sport, Luxury and M Sport – plus the range-topping M235i, which get its own specification. Regardless of trim level, all 2 Series have alloy wheels, air-conditioning, a colour display with sat-nav and DAB digital radio, plus automatic headlights and windscreen wipers.
The 2 Series promises to be as impressively reliable as its 1 Series sister model. Also, that car was awarded the maximum five stars by Euro NCAP when it was crash-tested. The 2 Series hasn’t been tested, but it's likely to be just as safe, with kit including electronic traction and stability control, a full complement of airbags and those automatic headlights and wipers.
The BMW 2 Series has a range of engines offering affordable running costs. Even the fast M235i is relatively economical
All BMW 2 Series are quick, while the M235i gives you Porsche Cayman-beating performance
It’s nicer inside than the old model, but the BMW 2 Series can’t match the Audi TT’s fabulous interior
The BMW 2 Series coupe lacks the distinctive looks of some rivals, but it’s more practical as a result
The BMW 2 Series received five stars from Euro NCAP and should offer years of reliable motoring