BMW 2 Series coupe
Price £24,265 - £34,260
- Good looking
- Fun to drive
- Economical engines
- Less refined diesels
- Lack of rear headroom
- Expensive options
At a glance
“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 version of the BMW 1 Series hatchback. During 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 has a boot 30 litres bigger than the 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 back wheels, making it particularly 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 engine capable of 62.8mpg to a turbocharged petrol with 322bhp, enough to beat the Porsche Cayman S from 0-62mph, despite the Porsche costing much more to buy.
MPG, running costs & CO2
Great performance without paying through the nose
BMW is keen to promote the 2 Series as a sports model, but that’s not to say it’s excessively heavy on fuel. The 218d is the most economical, returning 62.8mpg and emitting 119g/km of CO2, costing £30 to tax annually. The popular 220d manages 58.9mpg (or 64.2 with an automatic gearbox) and emits between 117g/km-125g/km depending on the model. It costs £30 to tax annually if you choose the automatic, or £110 with the manual gearbox. 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 TDI 150 BlueMotion Technology is most economical, returning 67.3mpg.
Petrol isn’t a dirty word in the 2 Series, with the 220i SE returning between 44.8mpg and 47.1mpg and only emitting 139g/km, while the powerful 228i manages 42.8mpg. Only serious drivers will be interested in the M235i, which returns 34.9mpg and 37.2mpg and emissions that place it in the £260 per year road tax bracket. But, this is comparable with the Cayman S it competes with and is far better than the Nissan 370Z.
It’s worth considering BMW’s servicing 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 further enhance potential resale values.
Engines, drive & performance
Excellent performance, whichever version you choose, with sharp handling
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 get an identical 181bhp and sprint to 62mph in around seven seconds, while the 216bhp 225d is the quickest diesel and is capable of beating some hot hatches off the line to reach 62mph in 6.3 seconds. Both the 228i and glorious-sounding M235i are in sports car territory, racing to the 62mph benchmark 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 paddle shifters.
Even the standard suspension offers impressive handling and a smooth ride, while the M Sport equipped 2 Series feels even more fun to drive, but with a less bone-shaking ride than the old 1 Series coupe. The M235i offers sports car levels of ability and is one of the best-value performance cars on offer, 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 that the Cayman S is much more expensive.
Interior & comfort
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 replaces partly in thanks to a more relaxing and comfortable interior, which is great for long motorway journeys. Refinement is excellent, particularly in the quiet petrol models and when at a motorway cruise, but the diesels can sound harsh when accelerating.
Cloth seats are standard in SE and Sport trim levels, with cloth and suede-like Alcantara in M Sport versions. Upgrading to leather upholstery costs £1,150 from SE and Sport, or £800 from M Sport. A low-slung seating position means forward visibility isn’t the best but the over-your-shoulder view is helped by long side windows.
Standard, M Sport and Adaptive M Sport suspensions are available. The standard set up is biased towards comfort, M Sport reduces body lean in corner at the cost of some comfort, while the adaptive system allows you to choose between a sporty or softer ride quality. In models where M Sport suspension comes as standard, it can be replaced with the standard set up free of charge, so it’s important to test both before making a decision.
Practicality & boot space
Four seats and an impressive boot, but watch your head in the back
There’s plenty of space in the front seats, which are adjustable for height. 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-seat 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 only have rear seats big enough for children and small bags only.
The boot measures an impressive 390 litres, which is 30-litres bigger than the 1 Series hatchback and almost 100 litres larger than the Audi TT (292 litres) and RCZ (309 litres). Its only drawbacks are a relatively small opening and narrow shape. A through-loading system with seats that fold in three sections costs £175.
Run-flat tyres designed to allow you to drive short distances even with a puncture are standard, but no optional spare wheel is available.
Reliability & safety
Impressive reliability and five-star crash test results expected
BMW is impressing customers and has jumped from 15th to 10th position overall in the 2014 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, showing a marked improvement in its latest vehicles. It has also moved ahead of Audi, which now sits in 12th position, while Peugeot is in 14th.
There hasn’t been a Euro NCAP crash test for the BMW 2 Series yet but the 1 Series scored the full five stars and we expect the 2 Series to replicate its result. It certainly has the latest safety kit, with electronics to help prevent skids, multiple airbags and options including a system to help keep you in your motorway lane and headlights that follow the road ahead.
Price, value for money & options
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, but even the SE trim level comes with 17-inch alloy wheels, Bluetooth, air-con, a DAB 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, braking power and gives the car more aggressive-looking bodywork.
Being a BMW, there are hundreds of options to choose from, including navigation with a lifetime of traffic updates for a reasonable £595 and a Driver comfort package which adds speed-sensitive Servotronic steering, front and rear parking sensors and cruise control for £690. The excellent automatic gearbox costs between £1,550 and £1,685.
The BMW 2 Series should retain its value better than rivals including the RCZ and Scirocco, particularly if you choose a specification with popular options such as the M Sport trim level, sat-nav and cruise control.