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BMW 2 Series Review

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heycar review

      Launch year
      2014
      Body type
      Coupe
      Fuel type
      Petrol, Diesel
heycar editorial team

Written by

heycar editorial team

00/10
heycar rating
“Perfect pint-sized BMW coupe”

Best bits

  • Pretty looks and sporty interior
  • Excellent handling and strong-performing engines
  • Exceptional M235i and M240i variants

Not so great

  • Cramped rear seats
  • Interior trim lacks luxury polish
  • Stiff ride of some versions

Read by

BMW 2 Series Exterior Front

Overall verdict

BMW 2 Series Interior Side

On the inside

BMW 2 Series Driving Front

Driving

BMW 2 Series Exterior Side

How much does it cost to run

BMW 2 Series Exterior Back

Prices, versions and specification

Overall verdict

"With the 2 Series Coupe, there’s a lot to like. It’s a superb-driving, good-looking small coupe that won’t cost a fortune to run and should prove reliable in the long term – plus hold onto a good chunk of its value throughout its lifetime. "

BMW 2 Series Exterior Front

It’s a proper BMW too, in that it has rear-wheel drive – as it turned out, the last of a dying breed (its successor will be front-wheel drive). That gives it huge kudos amongst driving enthusiasts, for whom the front wheels should steer and steer alone.


The initial engine choice was limited to just two. But said enthusiasts weren’t complaining, because one of those was a 3.0-litre turbocharged six-cylinder petrol called M235i (part of the BMW M Performance ‘sub M’ line). This wonderful machine instantly put the 2 Series on the map. The four-cylinder 220i petrol alternative was fine, but the six was clearly superior. BMW has broadened the engine range throughout the 2 Series’ lifetime, including an array of diesels.


Inside, it is roomier than the cramped 1 Series Coupe, and much more sophisticated-looking. Again, it draws from the style of the larger 4 Series, with a smart centrally-placed iDrive infotainment screen, grown-up controls and a neat range of trim options. It’s even easier to find a spot-on driving position and the steering wheel is lovely to hold.


Those in the rear will still grumble, though. It’s tricky to get in there, and neither head room nor leg room are particularly generous. It’s much better than it was – BMW would have struggled to make it any worse – but if you regularly carry people in the back, perhaps look to the larger 4 Series Coupe.


To drive, the 2 Series is a gem. The chassis is beautifully balanced and incredibly well set-up. Even the basic cars feel pure and sporty, with crisp responses and a real sense of confidence. The M235i (and later M240i) are utterly exceptional, with loads of power, divine balance and a waterfall of feedback. We adore them.


Ride quality is on the sporty side, of course, but even this isn’t too bad. The 2 Series Coupe, particularly the diesels, was a popular fleet car choice, and it delivered on everyday comfort as well as serving up a bit of fun for the weekend. All the engines were surprisingly fuel-efficient – yes, even the M235i and M240i, considering their performance.


BMW honed the trim line over the car’s lifetime, and both affordable Sport and potent-looking M Sport have the neat details to back up the car’s driver-focused nature. Even equipment is surprisingly generous, with all cars getting climate control and BMW iDrive.


Is the BMW 2 Series Coupe right for you?

Coupe buyers perhaps won’t be overly concerned with practicalities such as rear-seat space, which is a good thing in the 2 Series Coupe’s case. It’s tight in there, and only having two doors makes it tricky to get in and out.


However, coupe buyers will be looking for a car that’s stylish, feels good to sit in, and is great fun to drive. On all three fronts, the 2 Series Coupe really delivers. Each one is entertaining, and the performance versions are brilliantly grin-inducing.


The sheer breadth of the line-up will help you find a 2 Series that suits you – from economical diesels, to easygoing automatic petrols, to those exceptional M Performance range-toppers. There is, of course, also a drop top version, the BMW 2 Series Convertible.

 


What’s the best BMW 2 Series Coupe model/engine to choose?

All are pretty good, you’ll be pleased to hear. This is a sporty car, so BMW was careful not to use an engine that risked feeling underpowered and spoiling the experience. Even the fact that later 218i models came with an eyebrow-raising three-cylinder turbo petrol needn’t worry you – it’s the engine from the MINI Cooper. It’s well worth a look if you want a fuel-saving petrol.


The 220d diesel is very powerful-feeling because it has a lot of pulling power. This engine makes light work of a larger 3 Series, so really doesn’t struggle in a 2 Series. As for trims, SE is OK but not quite special enough. We’d go for at least a Sport, and an M Sport if possible (although they often carry a price premium that reflects this desirability).  


And then there’s the M235i and M240i. Simply put, if you can, do it. You won’t regret it.


What other cars are similar to the BMW 2 Series Coupe?

Compact coupes are a bit thin on the ground. Audi has never sold a direct rival to the BMW 1 Series and 2 Series, for example, preferring instead to let the TT sports car do the work. The same goes for Mercedes-Benz - its A-Class has never been offered as a coupe.


Alternatives are out there, but there aren’t many of them. The Volkswagen Scirocco is a good competitor, following a simpler philosophy to the BMW, albeit with front-wheel drive and a hatchback, rather than rear-wheel drive and a stubby boot.


You could also argue that BMWs sister brand MINI offers an intriguing alternative in the form of the MINI Hatch, especially in Cooper S guise. It too is performance-oriented, doesn’t give much thought to rear seat space and is a blast to drive. Enthusiasts of a certain mindset will certainly consider it an alternative.


Learn more

BMW 2 Series Interior Side

On the inside

BMW 2 Series Driving Front

Driving

BMW 2 Series Exterior Side

How much does it cost to run

BMW 2 Series Exterior Back

Prices, versions and specification