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Car Review

BMW 2 Series Coupe review

£22,300 - £47,795
710
Published: 24 Mar 2023
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Driving

What is it like to drive?

In the M240i xDrive, the big six-cylinder's refinement strikes you first. During the warm-up miles, it's all about a demure hum and sweet harmonics. But fire it towards the red-line and it does serious work with plenty of bite and enough bark to make you realise why this format of engine has a special place in history. There's 374bhp – enough of a power increase over the old 240i to overcome the inertia of 4WD. It gets to 62mph in 4.3 seconds.

OK, it's not a perfect motor. Whisper it, but turbo lag makes an appearance below 3,000rpm. But you have to seek it out by manually holding high gear ratios. Otherwise the autobox will hide the matter by smoothly shifting down.

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What's it like around a corner?

The main sensation is of huge grip. The steering is conservatively geared, and very mild understeer begins proceedings. Steering feel is too subtle for a sports car. At road speeds in the M240i xDrive you'll not overwhelm the traction unless the corner's tight or the road wet, as we discovered on a recent test in cold, wet winter Wales. But there's a sense of the power squeezing rearward, the back half of the car shouldering the effort, and absolutely shoving you out of a bend.

Is it as planted and poised as a Porsche 718 Cayman? No, it's not. Because this isn't really a purpose-built sports car, but a BMW 3-Series that's been hacked at with axes. But it's much, much better than it would've been if BMW had cheaped out and based this on the front-wheel drive 2-Series Active Tourer and Gran Coupe platform.

And the ride?

Even this is pretty civilised, at least on the M240i xDrive's £550 adaptive dampers. No particular sense of short-wheelbase pitch. The whole thing is quiet and smooth in the daily grind.

BMW says: "Rear-wheel drive and a six-cylinder in-line engine are unique in the segment." Don't take that at face value. You can have a straight-six 2-Series Coupe, and you can have one with RWD, but they won't be the same car. The only pure RWD ones are the four-cylinders.

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As the 220i weighs 200kg less than the M240i xDrive, you'd expect it to be the lithe, pointy pick of the bunch. Sadly, the engine is just a bit to meek to justify the enormous power bulge on the bonnet and to get the 2-Series moving with gusto. It does 0-62mph in 7.5 seconds, and it feels that long. Overtakes need to be planned, not simply executed.

Might as well ask about fuel economy...

The 220i makes a creditable 42.8mpg in the official tests and 144g/km and the 230i 41.5mpg and 155g/km. The M240i xDrive, meanwhile, manages 32.1mpg and 185g/km.

Highlights from the range

the fastest

BMW 2 Series M240i xDrive 2dr Step Auto [Tech Pack]
  • 0-624.3s
  • CO2
  • BHP374
  • MPG
  • Price£46,095

the cheapest

BMW 2 Series 218i [2.0] SE 2dr [Nav]
  • 0-628.8s
  • CO2
  • BHP136
  • MPG
  • Price£26,510

the greenest

BMW 2 Series 218d Sport 2dr Step Auto [Nav]
  • 0-628.3s
  • CO2122.0g/km
  • BHP150
  • MPG62.8
  • Price£30,795

Variants We Have Tested

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