Compact, solid, nimble, and quick, the 2-series is a link back to when BMWs felt as if they were designed exclusively to delight enthusiastic drivers. The 2-series comes in two flavors: the zesty 248-hp 230i and the jalapeño-hot 335-hp M240i, both available in coupe or convertible body style. With optional manual transmissions, well-executed automatics, and a choice between rear- and all-wheel drive, the 2-series is a comprehensive take on the entry-luxury sports model. We wouldn’t say no to more modern active safety equipment or richer interior materials at this price point, but their absence won’t keep us from enjoying the ride.
What's New for 2017?
Both of the available engines for the 2-series are new for 2017, resulting in new names for both models. The entry-level trim, the 230i (formerly the 228i), is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four. The scalding M240i (previously called the M235i) gets its heat from a turbocharged inline-six. Each model has new wheels and performance tires for 2017, as well as available navigation, a wireless charging pad, and a Wi-Fi hotspot.
- Base Coupe: $34,145
- Base Convertible: $39,945
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
You can't go wrong with either of the 2-series engine choices. The base 248-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four is one of the best on the market. It's always on call, responding quickly to your right foot with little to no turbo lag. It revs smoothly, accelerates with alacrity, and sounds reasonably refined. The M240i is another story, and a lightning-quick one: its turbocharged 335-hp 3.0-liter inline-six sings a mechanical aria as it rockets the small coupe to 60 mph in just 4.3 seconds. That puts it in league with some very fast, high-performance machinery with names like Porsche Boxster and Chevrolet Camaro SS. The 2-series gets bonus points for offering a manual transmission with both engines in addition to an excellent eight-speed automatic. You want driving enjoyment in a small, four-seat coupe or convertible? The 2-series is one of the world’s best answers. These models handle with aplomb, thanks in part to quick, accurate steering response and a solid, capable chassis. The ride over uneven pavement is generally good, and passengers are isolated from most bumps by the firmly controlled suspension.
EPA fuel-economy testing and reporting procedures have changed over time. For the latest numbers on current and older vehicles, visit the EPA’s website and select Find & Compare Cars.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
The interior of the 2-series is where great turns to merely good. The cabin is well designed, with adequate room for front-seat passengers and comfortable front buckets. Legroom in the rear, however, is so cramped that adults will have a hard time riding back there for long. Straightforward gauges and a simple instrument panel speak to this car’s sporty intentions, but some of its interior materials are uninspired for a car in this price range. Leatherette seats are standard, with leather available as a stand-alone option. Heated seats and steering wheel can be ordered as part of a package. The 2-series has a relatively large trunk, but cubby storage space is lacking, and the center console bin is small.
Infotainment and Connectivity
BMW’s rotary-knob-controlled infotainment system is easy to use and understand, but with just one available USB port, it’s not a perfect setup. Our only real problem with BMW’s iDrive system is that, during our test, it sometimes refused to recognize already paired devices, and it occasionally even failed to play audio from an iPhone that was connected via USB. Cycling through the car’s ignition solved this problem, but it was a recurring issue and a fairly serious annoyance.
Safety Features and Crash Test Ratings
Some older vehicles are still eligible for coverage under a manufacturer's Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) program. For more information visit our guide to every manufacturer's CPO program.