Each week our team of experienced senior road testers pick out a new model from the world of innovative, premium and performance badges, and put it through its paces.
You don’t need to be a motoring historian to trace the roots of the 2 Series nameplate. In fact, given that it only dates back to only 2014 you don’t even need to have gone through puberty. It was around this time BMW did what all the premium German car brands like to do every few years and ‘simplified’ its ever-expanding product range.
As such the 3 Series Coupé became the 4 Series, and the 1 Series Coupé become the 2 Series. This would be the badge to denote a sportier and sleeker type of small BMW – right up until it was also applied it to a pair of the firm’s new front-wheel-drive people carriers. No, us neither...
“Life Cycle Impulse” is BMW speak for midlife facelift, which is precisely what the 2 Series has recently undergone. Pop into a showroom today and you’ll find this compact coupé has a slightly wider kidney grille than its predecessor, along with different air intakes in the front bumper and LED headlights on all models.
There’s also a revised dashboard complete with the latest version of BMW’s iDrive infotainment. This gives you a neat tile design for the main menu and touchscreen functionality when in larger 8.8-inch configuration.
While visual upgrades are modest (and mechanical ones non-existent) that’s no bad thing, because the 2 Series is a handsome car, and infinitely more glamorous than its 1 Series sibling whilst still being reasonably practical. The boot can’t quite accommodate a set of golf clubs without first folding the rear seats, but for a weekly shop or a weekend away it’s ample.
We can’t really talk 2 Series performance terms without mentioning the awesome M2, which also benefits from upgrades such as the fresher dashboard and LED headlights as standard. However, in reality, the 335bhp M240i with its straight-six turbo engine and lively rear-end will be more than enough for most to be getting on with.
Back in the real world, we tried the 187bhp 220d diesel with xDrive on demand all-wheel drive, which combines a 0-62mph time of 7 seconds with real-world fuel economy of more than 50mpg. It’s also smooth and quiet (for a four-cylinder diesel) and matches beautifully with BMW’s eight-speed automatic gearbox. Better still, as with any 2 Series the 220d has the kind of alert front end and neutral chassis balance you’d expect of a BMW. It’s a genuinely fun car to drive.
It would be plain wrong to pretend that a 220d invokes the same stirring of passion as a full-fat M2. However, nor should one ignore the obvious conclusion that almost every Coupé purchased is the result of heart ruling head.
The good thing about the 2 Series is that it realises this indulgence without sacrificing practical touches such as usable rear seats and running costs to match its hatchback sibling. Yes, it’s expensive, but rarely does automotive passion come cheap. If you want your authentic BMW driving experience in a package that is small and sleek, the 2 Series is for you. Just make sure it says ‘Coupé’ on the order form.
Price tag of our car: BMW 220d xDrive M Sport Coupe £33,770, price as tested £40,955