It’s somewhat refreshing to sample a new car that is not a compact budget crossover or a large SUV. In fact, it’s strange that vehicles like this, the BMW 2 Series Coupe still exist. Truth be told, I’m so happy that it does exist. I spent some time with the latest 2 Series Coupe on some epic roads down in the Western Cape.
Does the new car have big shoes to fill? Yes, because the 1 Series Coupe which became the 2 Series Coupe has established itself as a true driver's car. BMW seems to know what it's doing when it comes to small, high-performance coupes. Remember the 1M and the M2? Some of the best BMW’s ever made in my opinion. The new 2 Series brings with it a host of new features, chassis enhancements and the M240i now benefits from xDrive which has made it a seriously potent machine. I spent time with the 220i, the 220d and the aforementioned M240i finished in a new colour called Thundenight Metallic.
Ok so you might be looking at this 2 Series and wondering why it looks nothing like the four-door 2 Series coupe which looks more like a 1 Series with four-doors. Well, the story goes that this 2 door coupe has nothing in common with the 1 Series or 2 Series GranCoupe. This 2 Series coupe is actually based on a 3 Series chassis and, as a result, remains rear-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive, in the M240i xDrive’s case. It’s confusing but what can you do?
The 2 Series coupe now features a new chassis which benefits the vehicle's wheelbase which is now longer. It also features a wider stance but with a lower height that has given it a sleek, low-slung look. Like many BMW models of late, they tend to look a whole lot better in the metal than they do on the internet. While this 2 Series might look a bit strange in pictures it actually looks good in person.
I particularly like the aggressive and sporty front bumper, new LED headlights and the power bulge on the bonnet. Like with the latest 4 Series Gran Coupe, the doorhandles are now flush with the body and it adds a clean, undisrupted side profile design. The rear of the car also looks eye-catching thanks to unique taillights and a sporty lower bumper. The M240i makes do with extra sporty attire and large tailpipes. Overall the car looks great in my opinion, it’s bold, unapologetic and definitely draws attention.
Step inside and, if you know a thing or two about new BMW’s you will realise that the interior looks very similar, to many other BMW models on offer. What this does is make the transmission from model to model easier. Drivers and passengers will know where everything is, making it easy to adjust to the environment. In terms of quality, the BMW 2 Series offers loads of it. The blend of fine materials and technology is admirable. I will admit that I am not a fan of the digital instrument clusters theme.
Because the car is now bigger than before, rear occupants won't be as cramped and the boot is pretty decent as well so you won't have to skimp on practicality either.
The previous 2 Series was light, compact and offered a very entertaining driving experience, especially the rear-wheel drive M240i. Up first was the 220i, the entry point into the line-up. It features a 2.0-litre 4-cylinder motor that develops 135kW and 300Nm of torque. While the motor is not the most powerful thing it does let you exploit every bit of the power that is offered. Out on the twisty roads of the Western Cape the car returned an entertaining driving experience that requires you to work with the chassis, ensure that you are in the right gear and plan your cornering.
Next up is the 220d which features a frugal 2.0-litre turbo diesel motor that develops 140kW and 400Nm. This model proved to be a great highway cruiser able to chomp the kilometres. Its chassis is, like the petrol model, set up for a sporty drive yet the ride remains relatively comfortable.
If it’s outright performance that you want then the M240i is the answer. It makes use of an in-line six cylinder turbocharged motor that develops 285kW and 500Nm. What makes this car extra potent is the xDrive all-wheel drive system. This results in a 0-100km time of around 4.3 seconds which is a number that is able to scare a lot of sports cars that carry a much higher price tag. The 8-speed automatic gearbox which features on all the cars also adds a level of potency to the mix. Gear changes are instant, power delivery is effective and the car encourages you to push the limits.
Out on the sweeping roads of the Western Cape the M240i xDrive returned that white knuckle driving experience that I love from a BMW product. When you do decide to calm it down then the car matches the need. Select Comfort mode and it becomes quieter, the throttle becomes less sensitive, the suspension becomes softer, as does the steering. You then get a vehicle that is capable of doing the day-to-day task rather well.
Overall the new 2 Series Coupe remains a drivers car despite its increased proportions. My pick would be the 220d from an everyday perspective. It provides great fuel consumption, BMW claims between 4.7 and 5.1l/100km.
If it’s outright performance that you want then you will have to fork out just over R1 million. I for one am excited as to what the full-blown M2 will have to offer if the platform is already so good.