BMW 2-series (2022) review: still want that 4-series?

Published:07 March 2022

BMW 2-series (2022) review: still want that 4-series?
  • At a glance
  • 5 out of 5
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  • 4 out of 5

► We test the BMW 2-series Coupe
► Driven in M240i xDrive form
► Is it the best BMW coupe of all?

Traditional coupes (not SUVs) were once the ultimate show of wealth. To have a means of transport that was actively impractical highlighted just how much money and taste you had.

Today, financially succesful Brits open their Wi-Fi enabled fridge in the morning, put on their Tag Heuer watch and will most likely get into an SUV.

Which makes us sad. Especially because BMW has really knocked it out of the park with its latest middle finger to sensibility, the 2-series Coupe.

It’s a challenging looking thing. It has the classic long bonnet and wide rear haunches of a sports car, but intricate detailing along the flank add a hint of modernity to the silhouette. The front is bereft of BMW’s latest XL grille, and the rear lights are peculiarly small.

2-series rear tracking

What’s under the bonnet?

Although it’s a clear visual evolution of the outgoing model, this one is an all-new car – although there’s a lot of familiar tech under its svelte new bodywork. Unlike the rest of the 2-series range, the new Coupe is based on the 3 and 4-series models and not the 1-series as has traditionally been the case with 2-series Coupes.

That’s promising, because it underlines BMW’s attitude towards rear-wheel drive and its relationship with performance cars. So, the Coupe  includes a range-topping straight-six engine, a rear-biased driving experience and a more sporting cab-rearwards silhouette. So, an old-school sporting coupe, and one that seems almost anachronistic amid BMW’s latest push towards electrification, SUVs and headline-grabbing grille designs. Bravo!

Three models are available. The range kicks off with the 220i – a four-cylinder petrol producing 182bhp, capable of 0-62mph in 7.5 seconds and putting its power through the rear wheels. There’s an oil-burner with 190hp, too, that’s actually quicker than its petrol counterpart – hardly 2022, is it?

Then there’s the one we’re driving. Ahead of the arrival of the M2, the M240i xDrive is the one that enthusiasts are going to be queuing for. Its 3.0-litre twin-turbo straight-six petrol engine produces 375bhp. Acceleration is rapid – 0-62mph takes just 4.4 seconds while top speed is an electronically limited 155mph, and although its xDrive system powers all four wheels, it’s rear-biased, and can divert up to 100% of its torque to the rear wheels.

What’s it like to drive?

Given the ingredients under the skin, you’ll not be surprised to learn that the BMW M240i xDrive is pretty damned sorted. We’d go further – if you’re a keen driver and value feedback and agility, in many ways it negates the need for buying a more expensive 4-series Coupe.

2-series front tracking

It’s blessed with a low centre of gravity and 50:50 weight distribution, to give it balance and poise in bends, but agility is supreme even compared with the excellent 4-series, which comes down to its wide-tracked, short-wheelbased stance. This eagerness to turn-in is aided by super-responsive steering which not only is beautifully weighted but rapidly geared for flick-wrist cornering. Only the jittery ride counts against it. We’ve only tested models with adaptive dampers, and even in Comfort mode it can crash a little too much.

In Sport mode, it’s even better – the steering piles on heft that maximises road feel, giving you enough confidence to really lean on it in bends. On the road, that translates into agreeable neutrality without a hint of understeer, but on our sometimes-wet road route, hints of oversteer could be teased out of it without too much difficulty. On track, power slides are going to be easy meat, and highly controllable thanks to its rear-biased four-wheel drive system. Traction control can easily be turned to a mild setting, and fully off. There’s launch control too, for when you really need to get away from the lights.

The M240i’s engine is as good here in every other BMW its bolted into. You get a brilliant six-cylinder soundtrack suffused with a gruffness that will leave you seeking out the redline for kicks. Acceleration is handy and does leave us wondering where the upcoming M2 is going to take us. 

What’s it like inside?

If you’ve driven a 3 or 4-series, you’ll be very familiar with the 2-series Coupe – it shares those cars’ dashboard and infotainment system, for better or worse. It’s a very business-like interior, with a fine low-slung driving position and a wide range of adjustments and lots of room up front. Go searching like a car journalist, you’ll find some cheap-feeling plastics, but they’re low down in the cabin, someway away from the frontline.

2-series interior

Room in the rear is predictably dismal, which is no surprise given the 2-series’ stubby proportions. You’ll squeeze a couple of children in the back, which qualifies the 2-series as a family car assuming you don’t get on terribly well with your offspring.

At least the boot is more useful. It has a wide, flat floor and a decent opening. Overall luggage capacity is 390 litres, which can be expanded by the 40:20:20 split-fold seats.

All models come with BMW’s 12.3-inch infotainment display and 10.25-inch digital dial display as part of the Live Cockpit Professional package, while triple-zone climate control, accent lighting and an array of M Sport accoutrements come as standard too. Voice activation is your best way of a seamless relationship with it as the controls in the centre console are unsatisfying to use, and although it also functions as a touchscreen, who wants that?

What models and trims are available?

The range is very simple – you can choose between the 220i or 220d or the M240i. There are just two trim levels – M Sport and full-fat M for the six-cylinder version. The basic spec comes with LED headlights, BMW Live cockpit with touch operation, sport seats, and automatic air conditioning with three-zone control.

There’s also an optional Pro package for M Sport model. This adds 19-inch M light-alloy wheels, M Sport brakes, a front spoiler lip and an M rear spoiler. Model-specific M Performance Parts are also available via the configurator.

The new 2-series Coupe is priced at a slight premium compared with the five-door Gran Coupe, so it’s not great value for money from that perspective. However, it is considerably cheaper than the 3 or 4 Series and that’s what counts. The range kicks off at about £35,000 for a 220i and rises to a smidge over £45,000 for an M240i xDrive.

BMW 2-series Coupe: verdict

We love this one, and the world is a brighter place for it. The 2-series is distinctive and attractive and thanks to tax-efficient petrol and diesel engines, should appeal to the heart as well as the head. It won’t be for everyone, though, and we aren’t expecting a shift away from the SUVs that people crave. But we can dream, can’t we?

We reckon the new Coupe makes great use of the excellent underpinnings of the 3-series to create a better driver’s car than its originator. It’s topped off with its striking new styling, which really isn’t flattered by photos. Yes, it’s effectively old school in an electrified world, but if you’re looking for a two-door coupe and want to have fun, we reckon this should be your first port of call. 

The M240i pulls hard, doesn’t feel turbocharged in its response, and delivers thrills – the M2 will need to be very good to put clear water between them.

Specs are for the M240i xDrive Coupe

Specs

Price when new: £45,795
On sale in the UK: Now
Engine: 2998cc 6-cylinder petrol twin turbo, 275bhp @ 5500rpm, 367lb ft @ 1900-5000pm
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic, all-wheel-drive
Performance: 4.4sec 0-62mph, 155mph, 32.1-34.9mpg, 185-200g/km CO2
Weight / material: 1625kg / steel
Dimensions (length/width/height in mm): 4537/1838/1390

Other Models

Photo Gallery

  • BMW 2-series (2022) review: still want that 4-series?
  • BMW 2-series (2022) review: still want that 4-series?
  • BMW 2-series (2022) review: still want that 4-series?
  • BMW 2-series (2022) review: still want that 4-series?
  • BMW 2-series (2022) review: still want that 4-series?
  • BMW 2-series (2022) review: still want that 4-series?
  • BMW 2-series (2022) review: still want that 4-series?
  • BMW 2-series (2022) review: still want that 4-series?
  • BMW 2-series (2022) review: still want that 4-series?
  • BMW 2-series (2022) review: still want that 4-series?
  • BMW 2-series (2022) review: still want that 4-series?
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