BMW 2 Series coupe
Price £23,040 - £35,225
- Good fun to drive
- Stylish exterior design
- Powerful and economical engines
- Tight rear headroom
- Options are expensive
- Diesels aren’t as refined as some rivals’
At a glance
“The BMW 2 Series is great to drive, stylish and offers respectable fuel economy. We rate it as the best small coupe you can buy.”
Choosing a BMW 2 Series can be a complicated business. As well as the sporty two-door coupe we’re reviewing here, BMW makes a 2 Series convertible and the performance-orientated BMW M2 coupe.
There's also the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer MPV and an even bigger seven-seat people carrier, the BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer – although those two models are mechanically unrelated to the 2 Series coupe and convertible, being based instead on the MINI Countryman (another BMW Group product).
The 2 Series Coupe is a sportier, two-door version of the BMW 1 Series hatchback, in the same way that the BMW 4 Series is a two-door version of the BMW 3 Series saloon: gain a Series number, lose a pair of doors, essentially. It's a handsome and stylish car, with a low roofline and swooping rear windows belying its hatchback roots, making it a purposeful and sporty-looking car.
BMW offers the 2 Series Coupe with a wide range of engines, all of which have four cylinders: there are three diesels, producing between 148 and 221bhp, while the four turbocharged petrols offer between 134 and 242bhp. So if you’re after a 2 Series, you should be able to find the right mix of economy and performance.
The range-topping petrol-engined BMW M235i Coupe produces 321bhp, giving it more than enough performance for most drivers – it manages 0-62mph in five seconds flat and has a (limited) top speed of 155mp. But if that's not enough for you, BMW also makes the ultra-quick, performance-orientated M2 – which we’ve reviewed separately.
The 2 Series Coupe is more enjoyable to drive than rivals like the Audi TT, Peugeot RCZ and Volkswagen Scirocco thanks to its rear-wheel-drive setup, accurate steering and good grip. The Porsche Cayman is slightly better to drive, but costs over £15,000 more than the 2 Series Coupe. The fact that the Porsche is often compared to the BMW gives some indication of how good the 2 Series Coupe really is.
The 2 Series is also significantly more practical than the Cayman, thanks in part to the fact it has rear seats. The Mercedes CLA has a bigger boot and the Volkswagen Scirocco offers more passenger space in the back, but neither can match the driving thrills of the 2 Series.
The BMW 2 Series is also nicer inside than many of its rivals: it doesn’t have the most exciting interior, but everything is well made and designed. It's easy to find and operate the logically laid-out controls – particularly useful if you’re driving the 2 Series in a sporty fashion – while BMW's iDrive is also one of the best infotainment systems available.
BMW offers four trim levels for the 2 Series: SE, Sport, Luxury and M Sport, as well as the range-topping M235i, which gets its own specification. However you order your 2 Series, you’ll find it's well equipped: all models come with alloy wheels and air-conditioning, as well as sat nav, DAB digital radio, Bluetooth phone connectivity and rear parking sensors.
This 2 Series is relatively new, so it hasn’t yet been crash-tested by Euro NCAP, but the 1 Series on which it's based scored the full five stars and it's likely the 2 Series would match that. Reliability is a slight concern for the 2 Series: the 1 Series could only manage an uninspiring 101st-place ranking out of 200 cars in our 2015 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey. BMW as a brand fared better, coming 14th out of 32 manufacturers.
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 doesn’t look as distinctive as some rivals, but it’s more practical
The BMW 1 Series received the full five stars from Euro NCAP, and the BMW 2 Series is likely to follow suit