The updated BMW 2 Series range gets a fresh start in the form of the 220i coupe. Priced at $51,300 this is BMW's cheapest two-door and it has scored a new, more powerful turbocharged 2.0 litre engine.
BMW delivered no styling changes in the update so, apart from its enhanced engine, the added extras are the inclusion of BMW’s Driving Assistant system (lane departure warning, city braking, pedestrian detection), Bi-Xenon headlights (with washers), the Interior Lights Package (variable colours) and folding exterior mirrors.
Vehicle Style: Prestige small coupe
Price: $51,300 (plus on-road charges)
Engine/trans: 135kW/270Nm 2.0-litre 4cyl turbo petrol | 8sp automatic
Fuel Economy Claimed: 5.8l/100kms | Tested: 8.1l/100kms
Firstly, a refresher: in BMW’s re-jigged model range; the 2-Series Coupe and Convertible replaced the 1-Series models as part of BMW's new naming policy that pigeon holes mainstream models with odd numbers and sportier variants with even numbers. Having said that, both the hardtop we're testing here and the convertible are rear-wheel-drive unlike the 2 Series Active Tourer which is a front-driver.
Fifty-odd grand for a German coupe might seem like good buying but be warned, like mobile telephone global roaming charges when you’re overseas, BMW option prices have a way of just sneaking up on you.
Our test car toted-up $7,734 worth of extras including metallic paint ($1,142), Luxury Line pack ($1,000), Comfort Package ($2,400), 18-inch alloy wheels ($1,192) and a glass sunroof ($2,000).
Inclusions in the Luxury Line are a 12-speaker Harman/Kardon audio system, Dakota leather upholstery, the sport leather steering wheel and Fineline Stream woodgrain highlights while the Comfort Package brings items like heated front seats, auto dipping near-side exterior mirror (so you can avoid curbing the 18-inch alloys), keyless entry and electric seat adjustment (including lumbar).
- Standard Features: leather-trimmed seats, cruise control, climate control air-conditioning, woodgrain trim, rear-view camera, automatic wipers and headlights
- Infotainment: 8.8-inch colour screen, satellite navigation, 12-speaker Harman/Kardon audio with Bluetooth and iPod connectivity (included in Luxury Line pack)
- Options Fitted: Luxury Line pack ($1,000), Comfort Package ($2,400), glass sunroof ($2,000)
- Cargo Volume: 390 litres
Our test car was resplendent inside with the Luxury Line’s Dakota leather seats in the light Oyster colour. As usual with BMW - and helped by the adjustable lumbar support - the seats offered great support when cornering, were snug in the right places and combined with plentiful steering wheel rake/reach adjustment for an ideal driving position.
The hallmark BMW conservative dashboard design presented the twin-dial instruments in a compact curved binnacle and the 8.8-inch colour screen sat proud centre dashboard with the familiar iDrive controller on the centre console, left and aft of the gear lever.
Entry to the rear seat was straight-forward (a small lever on the top of the front seats handled folding and for/aft sliding) - once there, naturally in a compact coupe, legroom was a tad tight for adults but sufficient for my teenagers.
ON THE ROAD
- Engine: 2.0-litre, four-cylinder petrol turbo (135kW at 5000-6250rpm/270Nm at 1250-4500rpm)
- Transmission: Eight speed automatic, rear wheel drive
- Suspension: Double-joint spring strut front, five-link multi-link rear
- Brakes: four-wheel discs
- Steering: Electrically assisted power steering
BMW Coupes are cars for drivers, and even the entry-grade 220i doesn’t depart from that maxim.
That’s not to say this is a snarling, fidgety, hard-to-drive track car, far from it in fact as the 220i is a coupe you’d happily drive every day in the peak-hour commute. But it has what it takes to be rewarding and sporty when the road gets twisty.
Sport or Sport+ modes in BMW’s Driving Experience Control are your friend in those circumstances - injecting just the right amount of ‘pep’ into transmission and stability/traction control operations to satisfy the demands of enthusiast drivers.
And the BMW 220i isn’t lacking under the bonnet with the turbocharged 2.0-litre offering plenty of mid-range torque for strong overtaking and corner-exit acceleration.
Clever ratios and slick manual operation (via paddle shifters) of the eight-speeder are also part of those sporty dynamics.
Curiously, while low-range performance somehow felt a littel sluggish, the BMW 220i’s zero to 100km/h time of 7.2 seconds makes it among the most spritely compact luxury cars.
It must be said though, that, when working hard, the 220i’s exhaust note isn’t one of BMW’s best.
Ride and handling remain a BMW strong point and the 220i lives-up to that reputation with nicely weighted and direct steering, a flat stance even when hustling through some bends and that traditional rear-drive balance.
ANCAP Rating: The BMW 2 Series range has yet to be tested by ANCAP.
Safety Features: Six airbags, stability and traction control, ABS anti-lock brakes, reversing camera, lane departure warning
WARRANTY AND SERVICING
Warranty: Three years/unlimited kilometres
Servicing: Condition-based servicing (a dashboard indicator advises when servicing is required), BMW Service Inclusive capped-price servicing is available
RIVALS TO CONSIDER
You’ll need some extra coin for the larger Mercedes-Benz C200 Coupe ($65,900 plus on-roads) with near identical poke and consumption from its turbo 2.0-litre (135kW/300Nm/6.0l/100kms). What the price alone doesn’t advertise is the gorgeous looks of the latest Coupe which takes a massive leap away from the C-Class sedan to become a free-standing model. It has a better interior than the BMW 220i but the Beemer has the edge (in these models) for driving dynamics.
Though initially introduced as a style statement, the Audi TT has evolved over the years into a sharp handling and enjoyable compact coupe. There's not as much room in the rear, but the rest of the interior looks like it's straight out of a concept car, and given the right road (with available quattro all wheel drive) the TT turns up driver excitement.
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
History shows BMW built its formidable reputation on the back of fast, rear-drive coupes and these days the 220i is a good-value entry-level version that maintains that notion.
Sure the awesome M2 (from $89,615) packs a whole heap more performance but the 220i has the same basic looks, is more realistically priced and thus has broader appeal.
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VISIT THE SHOWROOM: BMW 220i - Prices, Features, and Specifications