Review

BMW 2 Series coupe

Price  £24,265 - £34,260

BMW 2 Series coupe

reviewed by Carbuyer

Pros
  • Fun to drive
  • Good-looking
  • Economical engines
Cons
  • Expensive options
  • Less refined diesels
  • Limited rear headroom

At a glance

The greenest
220d M Sport 2dr £28,215
The cheapest
218d SE 2dr £24,265
The fastest
M235i 2dr £34,260
Top of the range
M235i 2dr £34,260

"The BMW 2 Series is fun, comfortable and cheap to run – a combination that’s hard to beat."

The BMW 2 Series is a sleek two-door coupe version of the BMW 1 Series hatchback. As part of its transformation, the 2 Series has become 110mm longer than the 1 Series, as well as being wider and lower, with a sleeker roofline. Because of its extra length, the 2 Series coupe's boot is 30 litres bigger than the 1 Series hatchback's, but it's strictly a four-seater inside and rear headroom is limited for taller passengers.

The 2 Series is one of the few models in the sports coupe class that sends all of its power to the rear wheels, making it particularly good fun to drive. Its main competitors are the Audi TT, Volkswagen Scirocco, Peugeot RCZ and the expensive Porsche Cayman.

For overall style, excitement and economy the BMW 2 Series is hard to beat. Its engines range from a 141bhp diesel capable of 62.8mpg to a turbocharged petrol with 322bhp. The latter produces enough power to beat the Porsche Cayman S from 0-62mph, despite the Porsche costing much more to buy.

MPG, running costs & CO2

4 / 5

Great performance without paying through the nose

BMW is keen to promote the 2 Series as a sports model, but it’s not excessively heavy on fuel. The 218d is the most economical model, returning 62.8mpg, emitting 119g/km of CO2 and costing £30 a year to tax.

The popular 220d manages 58.9mpg (or 64.2mpg with an automatic gearbox) and emits between 117 and 125g/km of CO2 depending on the model. It costs £30 a year to tax if you choose the automatic, or £110 with the manual. These figures place the 2 Series ahead of the 53.3mpg diesel Audi TT and the 54.3mpg Peugeot RCZ, while the Volkswagen Scirocco 2.0-litre TDI 150 BlueMotion Technology is most economical coupe, returning 67.3mpg.

Petrol isn’t a dirty word in the 2 Series range, with the 220i SE returning between 44.8 and 47.1mpg and only emitting 139g/km of CO2, while the powerful 228i manages 42.8mpg. Only serious driving enthusiasts will be interested in the M235i, which returns between 34.9 and 37.2mpg and has emissions that translate to £260-a-year road tax. This is pricey, but comparable with the Porsche Cayman S and much better than the Nissan 370Z.

It’s worth considering BMW’s service package, which costs £375 (£500 for M235i) and covers servicing costs for five years or 50,000 miles – whichever comes first. Not only is this good value, but a full main BMW dealer service history will enhance your car's resale value.

Engines, drive & performance

4.5 / 5

Excellent performance and sharp handling, whichever version you choose

There are no sluggish versions of the 2 Series – it’s more a case of how quickly you want to go. The entry-level diesel 218d starts the ball rolling with 141bhp, taking the 2 Series from 0-62mph in 8.9 seconds. The petrol 220i and diesel 220d both produce 181bhp and sprint from 0-62mph in around seven seconds

The 216bhp 225d is the quickest diesel and is capable of beating some hot hatches off the line, doing 0-62mph in 6.3 seconds. Both the 228i and glorious-sounding M235i are in sports car territory, racing from 0-62mph in 5.8 and 5.0 seconds respectively.

These figures are matched or even bettered if you choose the excellent eight-speed automatic gearbox, which is smooth in day-to-day driving and responsive if you choose to use the steering wheel-mounted shift paddles.

The standard suspension offers impressive handling and a smooth ride, while the optional M Sport suspension makes the 2 Series even more fun to drive, but with a less bone-shaking ride than the old 1 Series coupe.

The M235i offers sports-car pace and handling and is one of the best-value performance cars on sale, with bigger brakes, stiffer suspension and sharper steering than the standard car. Even so, it can’t match the sublime handling of the Porsche Cayman S, but it’s worth remembering the Porsche is much more expensive.

Interior & comfort

4.2 / 5

More mature and comfortable, but leather seats are a pricey extra

The BMW 2 Series feels more grown up than the 1 Series Coupe it replaced. This is partly thanks to its more relaxing and comfortable interior, which is great for long motorway journeys. Refinement is excellent, particularly in the quiet petrol models, but while the diesels are hushed on the motorway, they can sound harsh when accelerating.

Cloth seats are standard on the SE and Sport trims, with M Sport versions getting cloth and suede-like Alcantara fabric. Upgrading to leather upholstery costs £1,150 in an SE or Sport, or £800 in an M Sport. A low-slung seating position means forward visibility isn’t the best, but your over-the-shoulder view is helped by long side windows.

Standard, M Sport and Adaptive M Sport suspensions are available. The standard set-up is focused on comfort, while M Sport is a little firmer in order to reduce body lean in corners. The Adaptive M Sport system allows you to choose between a sporty or comfortable ride quality. In models with M Sport suspension as standard, you can have it replaced with the standard set-up free of charge, so it’s important to test both before making a decision.

Practicality & boot space

3.2 / 5

Four seats and an impressive boot – but watch your head in the back

There’s plenty of space in the front seats, which are height-adjustable. The steering wheel adjusts for reach and rake, allowing drivers of all shapes and sizes to find a good driving position. Rear legroom has been improved for the two rear passengers, but headroom will still be an issue for taller people. Still, this is one of most practical small coupes on the market: the Peugeot RCZ and Porsche Cayman have rear seats that are only big enough for children or small bags.

The 2 Series has an impressive 390-litre boot, which is 30 litres bigger than the 1 Series hatchback and almost 100 litres larger than those in the Audi TT (292 litres) and Peugeot RCZ (309 litres). The BMW boot's only drawbacks are its relatively small opening and narrow shape. A through-loading system with seats that split and fold in three sections costs £175.

Run-flat tyres designed to allow you to drive short distances even with a puncture are standard, but a spare wheel is not available – even as an option.

Reliability & safety

4 / 5

Impressive reliability and five-star crash test results expected

BMW is impressing customers these days, jumping from 15th to 10th position overall in the Driver Power 2014 owner satisfaction survey. That movies it ahead of Audi, which now sits in 12th position, while Peugeot is 14th.

Euro NCAP hasn't crash-tested the BMW 2 Series yet, but the 1 Series on which it's based scored the maximum five stars and we'd expect the 2 Series to replicate that result. It certainly has all the latest safety kit, with electronics to help prevent skids, multiple airbags and options including a system that keeps the car in its motorway lane and headlights that follow curves in the road ahead.

Price, value for money & options

3.6 / 5

There’s plenty of standard equipment, but expensive options are tempting

The 2 Series isn’t available with the entry-level engines offered in the 1 Series hatchback, so its starting price is higher. However, even the SE trim has 17-inch alloy wheels, Bluetooth phone connectivity, air-con, a DAB digital radio, a 6.5-inch colour display, rear parking sensors and automatic lights and wipers. Sport models enhance this with ambient interior lighting and sports front seats, while moving up to M Sport increases the alloy wheel size and braking power, as well as giving the car more aggressive-looking bodywork.

As this is a BMW, there are hundreds of options to choose from, including satellite navigation with a lifetime of traffic updates for a reasonable £595 as well as a driver comfort package that adds speed-sensitive steering, front and rear parking sensors and cruise control for £690. The excellent automatic gearbox costs between £1,550 and £1,685 depending on the model.

The BMW 2 Series should retain more of its initial value than rivals such as the RCZ and Scirocco, particularly if you choose a version with popular options such as the M Sport bodykit, sat nav and cruise control.

What the others say

4.3 / 5
based on 2 reviews
4 / 5
"The major issues are the lack of a three-seat rear bench – there's only space for two here – and the fact that there aren’t any rear doors. Since it's such a low car it can be a bit of a challenge getting in to those back seats at all."
4.5 / 5
"The German company is keen to point out that this is not simply a renaming exercise. The BMW 2 Series Coupe is all-new and a significant departure from the old 1 Series Coupe – and not only can you tell by its looks, it drives better too. It's also fairly cheap to run and a little more expensive to buy, while offering far more kit at the same time. So what's not to like?"
Last updated 
16 Jul 2014

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