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A new convertible model joins the BMW 2 Series lineup for 2015. Also new for 2015 is the availability of all-wheel drive.
The BMW 2 Series was introduced as all-new small sport coupe last year, billed as a spiritual successor to the BMW 2002, a small coupe with a cult following that was produced from the late 1960s to the mid-1970s. By comparison, the BMW 2 Series is a monster, both in terms of power and weight, but the dimensions of the 2 Series are not far off from the e46 coupe, the two-door 3 Series generation from a decade ago. So just as yesterday’s size 6 is today’s size 0 in women’s fashion, the same goes for BMW’s so-called compact cars.
The 2 Series coupe and convertible seat four.
The entry-level BMW 228i is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 that makes 240 horsepower and 255 pound-feet of torque. The line-topping M235i uses a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6 that makes a hearty 320 horsepower and 330 lb.-ft. of torque. Standard wheels are 17-inch alloys, while the M235i rides on 18-inch wheels wrapped with Michelin Pilot Super-Sport performance tires.
All-wheel drive is now available for 2015 BMW 228i coupes and convertibles as well as the M235i coupe. Rear-wheel drive is standard.
Also new for 2015 is the Track Handling Package, which adds variable sport steering, sport brakes and the adaptable suspension found on BMW’s M performance vehicles, as well the Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires on BMW 228i models. These options make a significant difference in the car’s handling, though they aren’t necessary for everyday driving and, as with all BMW options, it can get pricey. Still, if you’re a performance-oriented driver, it’s well worth considering.
Much of what makes the BMW 2 Series great is its nimble rear-wheel-drive platform; in this case, the same used previously on the now-defunct 1 Series. Combined with BMW’s signature 50-50 weight distribution, the 2 Series is perhaps the most tossable small premium coupe on the market now, especially considering many luxury manufacturers are offering entry-level cars on less expensive (and less fun) front-wheel-drive architectures, among them the Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class and the Audi A3.
Enthusiasts also have the option of a 6-speed manual gearbox, not available on the A3 or CLA-Class; the standard 2 Series transmission is an 8-speed automatic. Also, the 2 Series are two-doors, the Audi and Mercedes models are four-doors.
If we had a complaint, it would be that certain interior elements are not up to par, especially in the 228i. The plastic surrounding the instrument cluster seems cheap, and the trim on the armrest door handle looks stuck-on. Hard plastics are noticeable around cabin, especially in tan. Black interiors do a better job of disguising these surfaces.
Even though the 2015 BMW 2 Series is the most affordable car in BMW’s current lineup, it’s not exactly cheap. Starting at $32,100, it’s more expensive than the entry-level Audi A3 or Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class sedans (though it’s not unusual for coupe body styles to cost more). There’s a hefty price jump between the 228i and the M235i, and options add up fast. Still, the 2 Series delivers design and performance worthy of a BMW and, in the right configuration, offers plenty of fun for the money.