BMW enthusiasts say the German brand has lost its way as the Ultimate Driving Machine, but one model seems to make them eat their words; the BMW 2 Series. Now in its second generation, the 2022 BMW 2 Series continues the legacy started by the 1 Series Coupe back in 2008. Though it's among the most affordable and humble BMW models in the range, it best encapsulates the spirit of the E46 M3 era that many enthusiasts say has fallen by the wayside in recent years.
The second-generation 2 Series arrives as a coupe-only model with two engine options, although a convertible will arrive at a later date. A base 230i model offers a 255-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder sending power to the rear wheels, while the M240i steps it up with a turbocharged inline-six delivering 382 hp to all corners. Much to enthusiast's chagrin, no manual transmission is offered, only an eight-speed automatic, while alternatives like the Ford Mustang give you both. Despite this fact, a brief stint in the M240i showed us that the 2 Series still carries on the E46 legacy. If you want BMW's best at an affordable price, look no further than the new 2 Series.
The G42 BMW 2 Series Coupe is all-new for 2022. Unlike the 2 Series Gran Coupe, this 2 Series is not based on BMW/Mini's front-wheel-drive platform. The coupe soldiers forth as the gods of performance intended, with a turbocharged engine in the front, a driver in the middle, and the power going to the rear wheels (mostly). The base model is equipped with a turbocharged four-pot, while the M Performance model gets an inline-six.
See trim levels and configurations:
Whereas the old 2 Series was rather plain and simplistic, the new 2er has a lot going on with its design. There are many sharp edges clashing with soft, bulbous bodywork that looks like it was stretched over the wheel arches in the rear. We're not entirely convinced, but for some reason, it looks epic in purple. At least it's not a proper design mess like the 2 Series Gran Coupe, which has the front end of a 1 Series pasted to the rear of a Toyota Corolla.
Both models come standard with LED headlights and LED taillights. The base 230i rides on 18-inch alloy wheels and satin aluminum exterior trim. The M240i xDrive has 19-inch M alloys, an aggressive aero kit, Shadowline trim, Cerium Grey exterior accents, and an integrated rear spoiler. Oh, and did we mention it comes in purple?
BMW's new 2 sits slightly lower to the ground than the old model, at 54.8 inches tall. In all other dimensions, it's bigger. The overall body length is 179 inches, and it's 72.4 inches in width. All of this rides on a 107.9-inch wheelbase. The M240i differs slightly with its unique M Sport styling, measuring 179.4 inches long and standing 55.3 inches tall.
These figures are cause for concern. While we appreciate the additional space provided by the increased size, we couldn't help but notice the increase in weight. The previous 230i weighed 3,435 pounds, and the new model weighs 3,519 lbs. A previous-gen M240i weighed 3,578 lbs, and the new model tips the scales at 3,871 lbs, mainly due to the addition of standard xDrive all-wheel drive.
Alpine White and Jet Black are no-cost options. The metallic color palette is unfortunately limited to just six colors, all priced at $550 in the US. Options include Black Sapphire, Melbourne Red, Mineral White, Portimao Blue, Brooklyn Grey, and Thundernight. The latter is the epic purple we mentioned earlier and will likely keep talking about as it looks simply stellar. Jet Black is not available in conjunction with the M Sport styling package, meaning not at all on the M240i, leaving only Alpine White at no cost.
We would have liked to see a green or a yellow option, but BMW is likely keeping some colors in reserve for the inevitable M2.
The 2 is currently available in two flavors in the USA: mild and spicy. You'll have to wait a bit longer for the scalding option, though as the next-generation M2 is still in development.
The base 2 Series Coupe is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, good for 255 hp and 294 lb-ft of torque. The 230i sends all of its power to the rear axle only, and it can do the 0-60 mph sprint in 5.5 seconds. The top speed is rated at 130 mph due to the standard tire selection but can be increased to 155 mph as an option. BMW's M240i xDrive is the current beast in the range, equipped with a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six producing 382 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. You can only have this model with BMW's rear-biased xDrive all-wheel-drive system. Thanks to the additional grip and power, the 240i will get to 60 mph in 4.1 seconds, which is quicker than the outgoing base M2 and matches the base M4. The top speed is also limited to 130 mph, but, like the 230i, it can be increased to 155 mph.
The base car is unique in this segment, with competitors from Audi and Mercedes-Benz only available with FWD or AWD. Even the 240i is unique since its AWD system is rear-biased. The rivals also offer AWD, but aside from Cadillac, they do it the other way around, with the front wheels being the default and the rear wheels engaging when things go sideways. Audi and Mercedes also only offer their base offerings in four-door guise, while BMW still offers an entry-level coupe.
Two powertrain configurations seem familiar to BMW lovers, with a 2.0-liter turbo four-pot in the 230i and a turbocharged inline-six displacing 3.0 liters in the M240i. Both engines are mated to a ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic transmission with a manual shift mode. This particular gearbox is so excellent that BMW even ditched the dual-clutch you used to find in the full-fat M cars in favor of the eight-speed. It's an epic gearbox that can be completely docile when you want it to be, fading into the background and swapping cogs swiftly and quietly. Or, if you hold the left paddle, the transmission enters a "Sprint Mode" that immediately shifts to the lowest possible gear. You get a fair amount of driving modes, including Eco Pro, Comfort, Sport, and Sport Plus. Launch control is standard. BMW doesn't provide a cold-weather-related mode, but Comfort with winter tires should provide ample grip. Since the 240i comes standard with AWD, slippery conditions shouldn't be a problem.
The turbocharged four-pot produces 255 horsepower at 5,000 rpm and 294 lb-ft from 1,550 rpm. That's a lot of low-down torque for such a small car, and it's significantly more than last year's 230i. The M240i offers even more from its boosted six. It produces 382 hp at 5,800 rpm and 369 lb-ft from 1,800 rpm. That's more than the original M2, showcasing how BMW's sub-M product already produces more power than the fully-fledged M2 from 2016.
Our time in the 2022 2 Series was limited to the more powerful M240i xDrive model, but we hope to spend some time in the 230i at a later date. Based on our experience driving the M240i around some picturesque roads near The Thermal Club in Palm Springs, BMW has once again distilled its "Ultimate Driving Machine" essence into its tiniest coupe. While many larger, more powerful M cars feel detached from the driver, the 2 Series takes us back to the simpler times of the E46 M3; except this car is far quicker. Steering hasn't been BMW's strong suit in recent years, but the M240i turns with immediacy while offering more feedback than we've felt in other M Performance cars. In Sport Plus mode, the variable steering feedback gets significantly heavier, causing us to have deja vu from the last M2 Competition we test drove. This is high praise, as BMW's pseudo-M models do not always live up to the greatness set by the fully-fledged M products.
Around town, BMW tuned the M240i's adaptive M suspension to be firm but forgiving, meaning this car is more livable than an M2 Competition. It's stiffer than a 4 Series or 8 Series Coupe, but that's to be expected at this price. We'd say the Audi A3/S3 are the more comfortable and less engaging daily drivers, but BMW has the Mercedes CLA-Class pegged on suspension tuning. Though we didn't have a chance to sample the 230i, we expect it to offer a more compliant ride than the sportier M240i.
When it's time to accelerate, the M240i calls upon one of BMW's greatest creations in the past decade, the B58 inline-six. This 3.0-liter turbocharged engine is found in a variety of BMW models (and the Toyota Supra), but this particular tune is among the best we've sampled. Turbo lag is minimal, and we love hearing the cracks and pops from the exhaust. Thanks to xDrive grip, the 2 Series rockets off the line with zero drama, and continues to pull hard into triple-digit speeds. Thanks to that cool Sprint Mode, it's nearly impossible to catch the transmission off guard for some quick acceleration. Some enthusiasts might scoff that the M240i only comes with AWD rather than tire-shredding RWD, but the system is biased towards the rear and allows for some exciting tail-happy action. The 230i is less exciting in terms of raw speed, but its RWD layout and nearly 50:50 weight distribution should make it a darling for autocross enthusiasts.
The EPA does not have estimated gas mileage figures for the M240i yet, but BMW does provide claimed figures for both engine variants. According to the EPA, the 230i is capable of 26/35/29 mpg city/highway/combined. The M240i is also surprisingly frugal, with claimed figures of 23/32/26 mpg.
Both models have a 13.7-gallon tank, which means the 230i can do 397 miles between tanks, while the six-cylinder should be able to go 356 miles before needing a refill.
The 2 Series Coupe's interior makes it quite clear that it's a driver's car. All of the major controls are aimed at the driver, and everything is exactly where you'd expect it to be. If you're getting out of a current 3 Series or 4 Series into this, you'd barely notice a difference aside from some barely noticeable patterns that light up on the door cards.
BMW is also following the minimalist trend, though the 2 still has a few buttons left to push. To be honest, we prefer it that way. The climate control buttons are separate, as is the power and volume knob for the infotainment. The driving-related buttons are also neatly housed around the shifter, as is the button that operates the different traction modes.
The 2 Series Coupe is among BMW's smallest models, so you shouldn't expect massive space for a family. That being said, the 2 Series offers more practicality than similar two-door models like the BMW Z4 or Toyota Supra. Unlike those cars, which are strictly two-seaters, the 2 Series offers a rear seat with seating for four passengers total. Space in the back isn't massive with 32.2 inches of legroom and 35 inches of headroom, but those figures aren't far off the larger 4 Series Coupe. Up front, the 2 Series manages to match the larger 4 Series in legroom with 41.8 inches and exceed it in headroom with up to 39.8 inches.
Sensatec synthetic leather is standard fitment on both cars. Each of the available colors is combined with black to deliver a striking contrast. The available no-cost options are Canberra Beige, Cognac, and Black.
Vernasca Leather is a $1,450 option, well worth the money. Each of the available colors is also combined with black, but the overall appearance is a lot sportier. Options include Tacara Red, Black, Black with blue contrast stitching, and Oyster with contrast stitching.
The standard interior trim on both models is High Gloss Black, which you want to get rid of. It picks up smudges faster than an X7 grille picks up smashed bugs. Thankfully, the upgrade to mesh-effect aluminum is just $150. In its place on the M240i, you get Aluminum Tetragon, which is also available on the 230i with the M Sport package. There's no wood in here, sir. This is a young man's Bimmer.
BMW claims 10 cubic feet of storage, though that figure seems suspiciously small because the BMW Z4 and Toyota Supra each offer more while not looking any larger to our eyes. Not great, but class-leading. It's the same as you get in the Audi A3 sedan and more than the Mercedes-Benz A-Class sedan. We also think the average customer in the market for a 2 Coupe will place cargo capacity quite a few steps down on the list of must-have features. If you require a larger trunk, the 2 Series Gran Coupe offers 15.2 cubes, but that car is significantly less fun to drive. Or you could simply fold the rear seats flat on those odd occasions when you need to transport something bigger.
Interior storage is adequate, with a hidden compartment underneath the center console and another storage compartment underneath the front armrest. The door pockets are big and divided into two neat spaces.
The 2 Series comes standard with dual-zone climate control, rain-sensing wipers, an electronic trunk release, power-adjustable front seats with a memory function for the driver, auto-dimming rearview and side mirrors, two 12-volt sockets, and an advanced key that remembers the most recent driver's settings, all the way down to radio presets. Standard advanced driver assistance features include adaptive cruise control, front and rear park distance control, front collision warning, active blind-spot assist, lane departure warning, and speed limit information. The M240i adds interior ambient lighting, a two-way power moonroof, comfort access keyless entry, and power sports front seats.
While the new i4 and iX debuted BMW's latest iDrive 8 technology, the lower-cost 2 Series still uses the familiar iDrive 7 infotainment system. This is no hardship, but the 2 lacks the curved displays and improved graphical capabilities found in the higher-cost electric models. The base model comes with an 8.8-inch central touchscreen paired with a 5.1-inch instrument display. This system includes built-in navigation, BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant, BMW Digital Key, real-time traffic, connected music, and remote software upgrades as standard. BMW also offers a larger 10.25-inch touchscreen with a 12.3-inch fully digital instrument display.
The base unit goes out through a 10-speaker Hi-Fi audio system with 205 watts of amplification, while an upgraded Harman Kardon Surround Sound system offers 14 speakers with 464 watts. Two USB ports come standard, as does wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.
The BMW 2 Series is brand new, so there have been no recalls or reliability issues so far. The previous-generation 2 Series Coupe suffered recalls all the way through its life. Near the end of its life, it was primarily electrical faults like the sunroof.
The 2 Series Coupe is covered by a four-year/50,000-mile limited warranty.
The NHTSA never thoroughly reviewed the previous-generation 2 Series Coupe, but the IIHS gave it a thorough workover. It received a good rating in all of the significant crash tests. However, there is no review of the BMW 2 Series' safety from either government authority at this stage. Considering the IIHS tested the previous car, it's just a matter of time before the new model pitches up to get smashed into a wall.
The car is equipped with adaptive cruise control, front and rear park distance control, front collision warning, active blind-spot assist, lane departure warning, and speed limit information on the driver assistance side. The more traditional safety kit includes adaptive traction and stability control, ABS brakes, a rearview camera, LATCH attachments, and eight airbags.
The 2 Series has been among our favorite BMW models since it was first introduced, and this 2022 update has us equally pleased. As the BMW brand continues its shift towards electrification and self-driving luxury cars, the humble 2 Series stands as one of the last bastions for driving pleasure in the lineup. The entry-level 230i offers rear-wheel-drive thrills and coupe styling at an affordable base price, while the M240i manages to undercut its less practical sports car rivals like its Z4 sibling and Toyota Supra cousin. And it does so while offering a rear seat. If we were cross-shopping the Z4 and Supra, we might look right past both for the 2 Series.
As for BMW's main German rivals, Audi and Mercedes-Benz, both are non-threats. Neither Audi nor Mercedes offers an entry-level sports coupe (the TT isn't quite at this level), only front-wheel-drive-based sedans and four-door coupes. Audi and Mercedes may have BMW beat in this category, since the 2 Series Gran Coupe is rather uninspiring, but the 2 Series Coupe proves BMW still believes driving enthusiasts on a budget deserve a fun option. If you're seeking a fun, rear-biased luxury sports coupe with unique styling, a premium interior, and great engines, the 2022 BMW 2 Series exists in a class of one.
The entry-level 230i has a starting MSRP of $36,350. If you want to go up to six-cylinder power, that particular BMW 2 Series has a price of $48,550 for the M240i xDrive. These prices exclude the $995 destination charge.
There are currently two models in the 2 Series Coupe range: the 230i and the M240i xDrive. The 230i uses a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder producing 255 hp/294 lb-ft of torque. All of its power is sent to the rear wheels only. The M240i has a turbocharged six-cylinder engine producing 382 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. It sends the power to an AWD system. Both models use an eight-speed automatic transmission with manual override.
There isn't a big difference in terms of standard spec. The base 230i gets dual-zone climate control, power-adjustable front seats with a memory function for the driver, auto-dimming rearview and side mirrors, leatherette seats, and a driver assistance suite that consists of adaptive cruise control, front and rear park distance control, front collision warning, active blind-spot assist, lane departure warning, and speed limit information.
The M240i adds a few niceties like ambient lighting, a comfort access key, sports seats, and a power moonroof. It also has the standard M Sport differential, sport automatic gearbox, adaptive M suspension, and M Sport brakes.
Both cars come standard with an 8.5-inch high-resolution touchscreen interface with navigation, Bluetooth, two USB ports, and over-the-air updates. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included as well, as is a ten-speaker sound system. A semi-digital instrument cluster is also standard on both models.
You can order the M Sport package for the 230i for an additional $3,250. It enhances the interior and also adds the M Sport suspension setup. The Premium 2 Package retails for $1,950. It adds heated front seats, adaptive LED lights, a heated steering wheel, Live Cockpit Pro, a universal garage door opener, automatic high beams, and ambient lighting. The Shadowline Package by itself (included in the M Sport Package) retails for $850, while parking assistance adds $700 to the price. The Dynamic Handling Package, which is a limited-slip differential, costs $1,900.
Shadowline trim for the M240i costs $400. It comes with its own Premium Package, adding $2,750 to the price. You get Live Cockpit Pro, a head-up display, adaptive LED headlights, and everything else included in the 230i's Premium 2 Package. If you plan on hooning, it's worth investing in the Cooling and High-Performance Tire package, which retails for $2,400.
Though the base 230i has a lot to offer starting at $36,350, we could not pass up the tantalizing power offered in the M240i xDrive. Unfortunately, the pseudo-M model comes with a massive price bump to $48,550, so we'll try to be selective with the options. $550 for optional paint would be an easy choice for us (definitely Thundernight Metallic), and real Vernasca leather inside seems like a worthy upgrade for $1,450. The $2,750 Premium Package bundles in many important features, like the larger screens, heated seats/steering wheel, active LED headlights, and a head-up display, and from there we'd toss in adaptive cruise control for $750 and the Harman Kardon audio for $875 as a la carte options. As described, an M240i will set you back just over $55,000. For reference, the cheapest six-cylinder Z4 costs $63,700 and a similarly-equipped Toyota Supra is $54,690. The 2 Series could almost be called a bargain in this company.
Audi moved the A3 Sedan in a more luxurious, environmentally friendly direction with the all-new model. The engine output has been reduced to just over 200 hp, but you get a mild-hybrid assistance system and impressive fuel economy figures. The S3 gives you more performance, but it lacks the drama of a BMW six-cylinder and the rear-biased antics. The Audi's four doors make it more practical, but the Bimmer has a bigger trunk.
These two models have moved in two very different directions, and we no longer consider them direct rivals. That makes answering the question posed in this comparison easier than ever. If you want a comfortable, modern, frugal sedan with good looks, get the Audi. If you're in the market for an engaging drive and will happily sacrifice the practicality that comes with having four doors, get the BMW.
For the price of the M240i, you can get into a 430i with AWD. It's equipped with the same engine as the 230i, however. Still, 255 hp and 295 lb-ft is plenty, and the additional grip of the AWD system gets it from 0 to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds. The one you want is the 440i, however. Buying a BMW coupe with a six-cylinder engine is a must, but then you'll have to fork over an additional $10,000. The 4 Series also comes with that contentious grille attached to the front. If you are looking at a coupe, there's a good chance practicality is not at the top of your wish list. In that case, you should go for the 2 Series because it's the right size. With cars getting bigger, the 2 Series suddenly feels like all the coupe you could possibly want.
The most popular competitors of 2022 BMW 2 Series Coupe:
Check out some informative BMW 2 Series Coupe video reviews below.