BMW 2 Series Coupe review
A compact rear-wheel drive coupe from BMW has obvious appeal. Does the BMW 2 Series Coupe live up to it?
The BMW 2 Series Coupe doesn’t have many direct rivals, but it’s still a broadly appealing car with a brilliant mix of performance, fuel economy and fun driving dynamics. The range of turbocharged petrol engines is strong, the eight-speed automatic gearbox is one of the best in the world, and you’re guaranteed to enjoy the rear-wheel drive set-up on twistier roads.
It’s the handling in particular that really sets the 2 Series apart from any similar rivals, and keen drivers will relish the car’s agility, even if the steering doesn’t provide as much feedback as other BMWs on sale. It’s certainly a driver’s choice, even if it’s not perhaps as stylish as the Audi TT or as interesting as the now defunct, first-generation Toyota GT86.
But more conventional styling brings extra practicality that those more extrovert rivals struggle to match. With a strong dynamic performance and the enviable reputation of the BMW badge, it makes the 2 Series a car that’s hard to overlook.
About the BMW 2 Series Coupe
While the BMW 2 Series Coupe was the first model to wear the badge, there are now Convertible, Gran Coupe, Active Tourer and Gran Tourer MPV versions for sale as well. Add in the X2 SUV, and the 2 Series badge has grown from nothing to encompass several models in the space of only a few years since. Here we take a closer look at that original coupe model.
As the name suggests, the 2 Series slots between the 1 Series and 3 Series, and before the new model arrived in 2014, it used to be known as the 1 Series Coupe. And like that car, the 2 Series Coupe (and Convertible) is basically the two-door version of the 1 Series hatchback, so like that car it has a sporty front engine and rear-wheel drive layout. Four-wheel drive from BMW’s xDrive system is no longer offered.
Because there's a broad model line-up available, rivals for the 2 Series Coupe are varied. If you like the appeal of rear-wheel drive, then the Toyota GT86 and Subaru BRZ are worth considering against cheaper versions of the 2 Series, while top-spec cars could be considered against the likes of the Porsche 718 Cayman, Alpine A110 or even the Ford Mustang if you need more space. Another car worth considering is the Audi TT, because while it's not rear-drive, it's still nimble, and of course has those striking looks.
That's probably the 2 Series Coupe's biggest flaw, because it doesn't look that dramatic when compared to rivals. But the flipside of that is that it's a reasonably practical coupe, with a large boot and rear seats that aren't that cramped, although they are a bit tricky to get to.
Models comprise 218i, 220i, and M240i petrols; diesels no longer form part of the 2 Series Coupe line-up. Meanwhile the M2 Competition is the range flagship, but can be considered as a separate model. There’s a 1.5-litre, three-cylinder petrol in the 218i, the 220i features a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, and the M240i uses a 3.0-litre six-cylinder engine producing 335bhp.
All engines are turbocharged for improved performance and economy. A six-speed manual is standard on 218i and an eight-speed auto is optional, the latter transmission is standard on the rest of the range.
The model range comprises SE, Sport and M Sport models, although SE is only offered on 218i cars. Prices for the 2 Series Coupe range from around £27,000 to just over £40,000, while the Convertible is roughly £3,500 more than the Coupe.
In this review
- 1Verdict - currently readingA compact rear-wheel drive coupe from BMW has obvious appeal. Does the BMW 2 Series Coupe live up to it?
- 2Engines, performance and driveA well-honed rear drive chassis and powerful engines make the BMW 2 Series Coupe fun to drive
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsThe BMW 2 Series Coupe’s petrol engine line-up strikes the right balance of performance and fuel economy
- 4Interior, design and technologyThe BMW 2 Series Coupe boasts improved looks compared to the old 1 Series Coupe, and an interior to match
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceThe BMW 2 Series Coupe makes a truly practical coupe, with four usable seats and a decent boot
- 6Reliability and SafetyThere’s lots of safety kit as standard or on the options list of the BMW 2 Series Coupe