First Drive: BMW 2 Series Coupé
Sector: Lower medium coupe Price: £24,265–£36,075 Fuel: 34.9–64.2mpg CO2: 117–189g/km
BMWs rationale in rejigging nameplates across its product range was that even numbers would become the sportier variants of their odd-numbered siblings. Now that BMW’s 1 Series Coupé has officially graduated to the 2 moniker, expectations for the car have increased with its numerical upgrade.
Clearly the range-topping M235i model was always going to fulfil the sportier promise of the 2 Series, but can the 220d, which is expected to be the biggest seller in the UK, prove dynamic enough to justify its nameplate change?
It has some big shoes to fill. BMW sold 150,000 1 Series Coupes, 30,000 in the UK, in spite of its clunky looks. Despite what to many observers will seem like subtle changes, the 2 Series Coupé looks less awkward than the car it replaces. It’s longer with a lower, more gently sloping roof and an increased track width to give it a wider look and stance. Visually the car looks faster and more athletic with wider wheel arches and a wider, more aggressive aesthetic.
Inside the car feels very well built, though the styling is less successful. BMW’s familiar interior design theme looks a little awkward in such a small car.
The result is a cabin that feels crammed because it doesn’t quite look wide enough. Functionality though, is excellent. Even the entry-level SE model gets a 6.5-inch colour infotainment screen and iDrive controller, the immediate effect of which is that one feels as if they are driving a more expensive executive car. Other standard kit includes, sport multi function steering wheel, Bluetooth/USB telephone and media connectivity, DAB radio and single zone climate control plus parking sensors
at the rear.
BMW claims an additional 21mm has been relinquished by the increase in the cars length and it’s just about spacious enough in the rear. At 390 litres, stowage space was never going to be generous, though it’s 100-litres more than an Audi TT.
For now the 2 Series Coupe is available with a range of familiar engines, three petrol and three diesel, including the halo 3.0 litre six-cylinder petrol engine. The 2.0-litre diesel and 2.0-litre petrol 220i engines initially on sale will be joined later in the year by the 228i, 218d and 225d engines.
On the road the M235i and 220d are clearly two quite different cars to drive. The automatic M235i has blistering pace and performance. Even the published acceleration figures (0-62mph in 4.8 seconds) don’t quite do it justice. It’s a different experience from the manual 220d which requires a still perfectly decent 7.2 seconds to reach the same speed. Yet it’s testament to how good the 220d model is that it doesn’t feel like the lesser car.
Both cars share excellent ride and handling abilities. The 220d model was able to soak up bumpy roads and carry itself admirably through the challenging twists and turns of mountain roads. And unlike the M235i, the six-speed manual 220d will do 58.9mpg on the combined cycle while emitting a VED and BiK-busting 125g/km.
The refinement of the 220d is diminished somewhat by a noisy engine that intrudes considerably when stationary and which gruffly reminds you of its presence under acceleration. Add to that some wind noise apparent from the large wing mirrors and the 2 Series Coupé isn’t quite as refined as it could be. But it’s clearly a model that improves considerably on an already winning formula.
What we think
A two-litre diesel engine may not be the last word in excitement, yet BMW’s 220d Coupé delivers on its promise to be an exciting yet frugal daily driver with company tax busting economy and emissions.
It offers an excellent combination of attributes, let down only by a noisy engine.