by Jay Traugott
There was a time when BMW wasn't about luxury but rather purist driving. It really wasn't until the 1980s when it decided to become a serious Mercedes-Benz rival. The original 7 Series had a lot to do with that. But there was another segment BMW not only dominated but also created: the RWD, front-engined performance coupe. That began with the 1600 that later morphed into the 3 Series. Today, that vehicle's ancestor is the 2 Series.
Meet the all-new 2022 BMW 2 Series Coupe, the second generation of what many brand loyalists consider to be the quintessential Bimmer. Revealed in 230i and M240i xDrive guise, the new coupe, once again, focuses on maximum driving pleasure thanks to its compact dimensions, excellent engine choices, and outstanding chassis and suspension tuning.
However, the latest 2 Series, internally called the G42, is a luxury vehicle just like its predecessor and comes equipped with the latest tech features BMW has to offer.
See trim levels and configurations:
Despite being BMW's smallest model, the new 2 Series is bigger than its predecessor. The entry-level 230i is 4.3 inches longer, 2.6 inches wider, and an inch lower. The more powerful M240i xDrive is 3.5 inches longer, 2.6 inches wider, and 0.1-inch lower. Both variants' wheelbase is two inches longer than before.
What hasn't changed is the long hood, short rear deck silhouette: a classic BMW hallmark. The new sheet metal is more athletic than before thanks to three-dimensional surfaces and a generally more sculpted appearance. The muscular flared fenders and power dome, turbine-style kidney grille, and a low-slung stance emphasize the coupe's driving attitude.
The circular LED headlights are inspired by the iconic 2002 models while the daytime running lights have a U-shaped design. Notice the shoulder line that begins at the headlights and stretches across the sides to the taillights. BMW's signature Hofmeister kink is, once again, found at the C-pillar. At the rear, you'll find L-shaped LED lights and exhaust tips on both sides of the rear bumper. The 230i has circular units while the M240i xDrive gets trapezoidal tips. The latter further receives enhanced styling elements like M-specific mirror caps, a more aggressive bumper design, and a black front spoiler.
BMW describes the new 2 Series' interior as "sports car flair meets a premium ambiance." They nailed it. The driver-focused cockpit is better than ever with the gear lever, iDrive 7 knob, start/stop button, and mode selector ideally placed for the driver to access. An 8.8-inch touchscreen is standard along with analog gauges and a 5.1-inch driver information display.
Upgrading to the BMW Live Cockpit Professional tacks on a 12.3-inch digital display and a 10.25-inch touchscreen. A head-up display, a first for the model, is also available. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a 10-speaker Hi-Fi sound system come standard but audio lovers will probably want to upgrade to the 14-speaker Harmon Kardon system.
The M Sport Package, standard with the M240i and optional with the 230i, brings an M leather steering wheel, cushioned knee pads located on the center console, M pedals, and M logoed floor mats and cluster displays. We also like the optional ambient lighting found in the map pockets, door handle trim, footwells, and center console. Rear seat space, though bigger than before, is still tight for two full-sized adults. SensaTec upholstery comes standard and Vernasca leather, available in several colors, is optional.
The 230i comes powered by an updated version of the familiar turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 255 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque, an increase of 7 hp and 37 lb-ft from last year. Zero to 60 mph takes 5.5 seconds with RWD. An eight-speed automatic gearbox is standard, as is launch control. Alas, there will be no manual transmission.
The more powerful and performance-focused M240i xDrive (xDrive is BMW-speak for AWD) also has the same engine as its predecessor: the excellent turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder, now with 382 hp and 369 lb-ft, an impressive 47 hp boost. Expect to go from 0-60 mph in 4.1 seconds. Both variants have an electronically limited top speed of either 130 mph or 150 mph, depending on configuration. BMW says the gearbox has sharper shift characteristics and faster gear changes. The 230i's optional shift paddles (part of the Sprint function in the Shadowline Package) enables the transmission to switch into the lowest gear when the driver pulls the left-side shift paddle for one second.
The chassis setup consists of a two-joint spring strut front suspension and a five-link rear suspension. The 240i xDrive, of course, features numerous upgrades, specifically the Adaptive M suspension, for more precise handling.
The 2022 BMW 230i Coupe with RWD will carry a starting price of $36,350, only $450 more than last year. The M240i xDrive is just $200 more than in 2021, beginning at $48,550. There's a $995 destination charge for both. Sales are due to get underway this November and BMW has confirmed 230i xDrive and M240i RWD models are forthcoming, though no details regarding launch and pricing are known just yet.
It's kind of hard to pinpoint the ideal 2 Series Coupe rival because we're talking about the segment benchmark here. There's the Audi A3 and Mercedes A-Class, though both are sedans. The Porsche 718 Cayman also shouldn't be overlooked but it lacks a rear seat. The premium performance coupe segment, in general, is no longer popular but BMW can easily get away with it because the 2 Series represents so much nostalgia about the company's past that buyers love. This is all the more evident as the electrification era has already begun.
The most popular competitors of 2022 BMW 2 Series Coupe: