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Is the range-topping new BMW 2 Series a cut-price M2?

BMW refreshes its 220i, 230i and M240i coupes, but that latter car's nearly as fast as the M2, and £17k cheaper

Published: 12 Jun 2024

BMW has given the 2 Series Coupe a midlife refresh, which includes sharper looks, stronger powertrains and improved tech throughout the range, and peaks with the M240i xDrive - a car that gives the M2 a run for its money.

Because it's fitted with Bimmer’s long-serving 3.0-litre inline-six and all-wheel drive pairing, which achieves a 4.3s sprint to 62mph thanks to 379bhp and 369lb ft of torque. The top speed is limited to 155mph from factory. Consider the M2 does it in 4.0s flat and has the same limited top speed.

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Elsewhere, the rear-wheel drive 220i and 230i models will get a smaller four-pot, meanwhile, which produces 187/248bhp, 221/295lb ft of torque and means 62mph is dispatched in either 7.5 or 5.9 seconds. All models are paired with an eight-speed Steptronic transmission.

The mechanical toy box also includes M Sport suspension and differential from standard and gains something called variable sport steering and steering angle-dependant ratio. It means these new 2 Series cars should be good for a bit of chucking and chuckling around the twisty bits. In the M240i, you’ll also get a more dramatic Adaptive M chassis and electronic absorbers for increased chuckles.

The refresh hasn’t taken too much away from the outgoing design, with sharper LED headlamps, revised 18in alloys (Y-spoke 19s in the M240i) and a light markup to the bumpers among the notable changes.

It means the enormous bonnet with that not-at-all bulge has been carried over, while the horizontal radiator grille remains reminiscent of BMWs of old. By that, we mean those from barely 10 years ago.

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BMW has also repainted certain sections, like the air intakes, spoiler lips, tailpipes and mirror caps to give the facelifted 2 Series a slightly stealthier look. This combines with an extended range of paint options, which includes BMW Individual Frozen Grey (grey) and Portimao Blue (um, blue). Good colours, those.

Moving into the cabin, BMW has thrown in a new leather steering wheel and will offer a wider range of interior trim and seat upholstery options. Just don’t choose black and orange, for the sake of your dignity.

Other features still there include a 12in driver’s display and 14.9in infotainment screen, which front the revised instrument layout. The climate control buttons, for example, have been repositioned to be more central, and accessing those will unveil fancy new ‘waterfall’ lighting integrated into the central vents.

Sports seats with additional massage and lumbar support can also be picked on the extras wish list, which should be of particular interest to 28-year-olds with 56-year-old spines.

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The technology suite has also been improved with BMW’s 8.5-generation iDrive system with Quick Select. A flatter setup menu has been added, which supposedly makes navigation easier. Easier to access the not-optional-but-should-be-optional tailgate assist, we’d proffer.

Finally, you also get a new Parking Assistant which, when toggled, maintains control of the acceleration, braking and steering of the car, likely proving you can indeed squeeze into that gap you thought you couldn’t.

Prices start from £36,865 for the 220i, £40,320 for the 230i and £46,045 for the M240i xDrive. The M2, by the way, starts from £63k...

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