The Auto Trader expert verdict: ★★★★★ ★★★★★ 3.5
Fashions in this sector of the market are changing and traditional coupes are squeezed on all sides by sporty crossovers and premium hot hatches. As such the 2 Series Coupe looks and feels decidedly old-school, though for some buyers and long-time BMW fans that will be exactly the appeal, especially in its most potent M240i form. The lower-spec versions face a tougher challenge though, be that from trendy Minis or more up-to-date Audi TTs.
Reasons to buy
- Entertaining handling
- Strong performance
- Excellent infotainment system
At a glance
Running costs for a BMW 2 Series
Previously the 2 Series Coupe looked expensive compared with the 1 Series on which it was based but the latter is now an all-new car with a completely different layout, meaning the Coupe can now stand on its own two feet. Squeezed between hot hatches on one side and trendy crossovers on the other, the 2 Series remains a ‘discretionary purchase’ whose closest on-paper rival would be the Audi TT. Against the entry-level TT the mid-range 220i Coupe M-Sport is more expensive up front, slower and will cost a tad more in fuel. The BMW scores better for C02 though, which will appeal to company drivers if they can convince their fleet manager a two-door coupe is acceptable.
It is cheaper to buy to a comparable 3 Series saloon , the premium over the 1 Series less relevant since that car switched to a more conventional hatchback format. Diesel versions are better on both fuel and CO2, though there’s not a huge difference in running costs between the 218d and the more powerful 220d.
BMW’s pay monthly three-year service plan meanwhile fixes maintenance costs, includes two services, the first MoT and includes ongoing fluid top-ups and ‘seasonal health checks’ to help spread the costs of upkeep.
Reliability of a BMW 2 Series
For a premium brand BMW languishes surprisingly far down the rankings in Warranty Direct’s Reliability Index, though it’s ahead of rivals like Audi and Porsche. BMW does, however, offer a full three-year warranty with roadside assistance for peace of mind on all new cars. And reports from our own owner reviews indicate generally positive impressions. The 2 Series has been in the market for some time now and shares many of its engines and other components with other cars in BMW range, meaning it uses proven parts with a decent reputation for reliability.
Safety for a BMW 2 Series
All 2 Series Coupe models have the basic safety kit you’d expect at this level, including stability control, three-level tyre pressure monitoring, LED head- and foglights, rain-sensing wipers and rear parking sensors. The suite of connected services also includes an emergency call function, with the first year’s subscription included. Run-flat tyres are fitted as standard to all but the M240i.
Disappointingly the more extensive driver-support systems are restricted to the options list and, even then, require combinations of cost extras before you can choose them – for instance you can only have active cruise control with stop and go functionality if you also have the automatic gearbox and a ‘Tech Pack’, while collision mitigation, lane departure warning and other active systems are buried in another combo deal.
For drivers who need to get around even when the weather turns nasty there is at least the option of xDrive all-wheel drive on the 220d, this answering the common problem of BMWs suffering in low-grip conditions like ice and snow.
How comfortable is the BMW 2 Series
There’s enough adjustment in the seat and wheel position of the 2 Series Coupe for drivers of all shapes and sizes to feel comfortable, though we’d recommend investing in optional power-adjustable seats as the manual adjustment can be tricky. Unfortunately, this can’t do anything about the annoyingly offset pedals, which are a particular contortion on manual cars and a constant annoyance in traffic. Like many Coupes you have to accept certain compromises in practicality for the style, these including an awkward stretch over your shoulder for the seatbelt and tight access to the rear seats, which are themselves cramped.
There are various ride options for the 2 Series Coupe, M Sport models gaining stiffer suspension while the M240i gets a dedicated set-up to handle the considerable increase in power. These two versions also get the opportunity to upgrade to adaptive suspension that adjusts via the driver modes, an option denied to SE and Sport models.
In all configurations the 2 Series puts handling ahead of comfort though, the run-flat tyres on lower-spec models contributing to a brittleness that gets worse on M Sport models with the bigger 18-inch wheels. Around town it’s frankly punishing, though if you spend more time on flowing rural roads you’ll appreciate the grip and body control at higher speeds.
Features of the BMW 2 Series
The entry-level SE is reasonably well-equipped as standard and includes single-zone air-conditioning, Bluetooth connectivity, a colour screen with navigation controlled by a push and turn dial, DAB, four driver-controlled modes and LED headlights. You don’t even get the option of leather upholstery until upgrading to the Sport version though, only the flagship M240i getting it as standard. Fixtures, fittings and trim get progressively fancier as you progress up the range, M Sport adding a garnish of branded parts from BMW’s M performance division and different bumpers to set it apart. It’s only with the M240i where the 2 Series Coupe starts feeling truly luxurious as standard, getting its own bodystyling, a rear spoiler, unique 18-inch wheels and uprated brakes. On all models in traditional BMW fashion you’re expected to hit the options list for many of the features you really want, though.
Power for a BMW 2 Series
With a trio of petrol engines in three-, four- and six-cylinder configurations and a choice of two diesels there’s certainly plenty of choice in the relatively compact 2 Series range. Traditionally diesels have been the big sellers and the more powerful 220d is an effective all-rounder with strong performance and decent economy across the board. It’s not the most refined, though. The three-cylinder 318i petrol is more modest in its performance, the four-cylinder 320i perhaps more appropriate to the sporting coupe looks.
The eight-speed automatic transmission is an option worth investing in on lower-spec models where it’s not standard, this gearbox effortlessly smooth in traffic but also responding quickly when required. It also mitigates the aforementioned offset pedal arrangement.
True star of the show, however, is the M240i. Its 340 horsepower six-cylinder engine is a stand-out feature in an age of downsized motors and gifts this flagship model performance and charisma unique at this price point. Smooth, punchy and seriously quick, this is the enthusiast’s choice and a reminder of BMW’s roots as a sporting brand. It’s perhaps a bit much for all but the true fans but if you’re willing to take the hit in purchase price and running costs it delivers a consistently thrilling drive.