2015 BMW 2 Series Coupe Review
by Arison Knapp
The relatively new prestigious and practical premium sub-compact segment has been getting more competitive each year. The segment offers personality, efficiency, speed and comfort in a small package at an economical value. Auto manufacturers are showing us smaller can be just as luxurious and satisfying as larger. BMW has done exactly that and has done that well for decades. In fact, the Bavarians honor the 1960’s sporty two-door 2002 turbo coupe as one of their inspirations for the two-door 2 Series.
In the second year of production the 2 continues on as a front-engine rear-wheel drive, four-passenger hardtop coupe with a choice of two engines, two transmissions and 2 or four-wheel-drive. Also new is a soft top convertible in two cloth colors. In 2015, the 2 Series competes with the Audi A3, Acura ILX and the Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class. These are front-drive, four-door sedans that are similarly priced and proportioned. However the 2 Series is the only vehicle in that segment that offers an elite rear-wheel powered coupe driving experience and that is why I chose this ride.
Larger in all dimensions from its predecessor, 1 Series, the 2 Series takes BMW upscale styling and performance cues to entry level. Extending its length, wheelbase, width, front and rear tracks and lowering it have brought the 2 Series into a sleek form with a brawny aggressive stance. This is a bona fide mini-me 6 Series coupe. At a length a bit short of 175 inches, this 2 door coupe is just shy of other rear-drive super sports coupes like the Jaguar F-Type and Chevrolet Corvette. An impressive package for the price.
Model lines, Engine & Transmission
In 2015, BMW starts the 2 at an MSRP of $33,050 for the 228i Base model and $44,050 for the M Performance Automobile M235i. All 228i models are propelled by a turbocharged 2 liter four-cylinder gasoline engine turning out 240 horses with 255 ft-lbs of torque while achieving a competitive mpg rating of 23 city, 36 highway. Stepping up to the M235i will equip you with a heavy-breathing turbocharged 3 liter six-cylinder gas engine rotating out 330 horses and a neck-working 320 ft-lbs of torque while holding on to a surprising mpg rating of 21 city, 32 highway.
Prepped with standard Launch Control on all models and optional M Limited Slip Differential available only for the M235i, it can reach 60 mph just below five seconds (4.8secs). Each powerplant comes standard with BMW’s EfficientDynamics including direct injection, variable camshaft control, brake energy regeneration, auto start-stop function, economy-minded shift point indicator and electronic air curtains.
The entire 2 Series line is standard with a quick-acting 8-speed automatic transmission and paddle shifters however if you’d like a bit more control one can opt for a no cost option 6-speed manual transmission. If you order the M235i with the manual BMW tosses on dry sump lubrication for cornering and a short-throw shifter. The only thing that will interfere ordering the manual is if you add on BMW’s intelligent xDrive all-wheel drive system newly available for the 2 Series line in 2015.
The latest EfficientDynamic fuel-saving feature with 8-speed automatic models is located through the iDrive’s Driving Experience Control; containing four different driving modes. Selecting the ECO PRO mode activates the 8-speed to immediately disengage from the engine after you release your foot from the accelerator pedal creating a “coasting function”. It then re engages instantly as you depress the accelerator. During our test of the 228i I found the 8-speed automatic very responsive to my suggestions of gear changes down and up.
Even though the ECO PRO mode “coasting function” took a couple more milli-seconds to engage it was still plenty fast for highway cruising and country touring. Plus it cuts down usage of the transmission turning all the time resulting in less wear and hopefully increased operating life.
Chassis & Suspension
The essence of the 2 Series and BMW resides in its dynamic driving character and road control, well executed in this model. It derives from BMW athletic brand signatures found throughout this chassis featuring a mix of high and ultra-high tensile steel construction, perfect 50-50 weight distribution, low center of gravity and lively steering.
The 2 Series holds all its turbo thunder to the road by a four corner fully-independent suspension system using a double-pivot spring MacPherson strut up front and multi-link type in the rear. The entire line is issued with the finest in electronic chassis control safety programs including stability control, traction control, active differential brake, cornering brake control, start-off hill hold assist and anti-lock brakes with brake assist, drying and fade compensation.
Packages & Options
There are a couple interesting ways a buyer can setup their future BMW 2 Series’ chassis and suspension when ordering at your local BMW dealer. You can start with the base 228i which is offered with new factory packages or single options to build it up close to the M235i’s handling. Or you might choose an already well-handling 2 Series in the M235i featuring M Sport Braking, variable sport steering and adaptive M Suspension with sticky Michelin Pilot Super Sport track-ready tires.
This year the M Sport Package option for the base 228i now delivers adaptive M suspension not just M Sport springs like 2014 models; plus all the aero kitting and interior styling equipment. For those who don’t need the M cosmetics and just want the dedicated driving options; the Track Handling Package offers adaptive M Suspension, variable sport steering, M braking system with the sticky Michelins. One of the new single options is the Dynamic Handling Package that only adds BMW’s variable sport steering system. Adding these accessories to your base 228i will increase its performance and its cost. You’ll be saving money down the road spending less each year on fuel and still capturing that ultra unique track-ready road-going car found in the M235i but with the 228i efficiency.
We at WhyThisRide tested the 228i automatic with the M Sport Package in the glowing Estoril Blue metallic paint with a Black Sportec interior. I experienced an instant feeling of space and comfort when I rested my behind in the 2 Series soft sport bucket seats, tapped my feet, swung to right and got snug into a driver’s position. I instantly felt that the 2 Series’ leg, head and shoulder room all felt larger than its direct competitors.
That is the beauty of a coupe opposed to a sedan. The front seating area is the majority of the cabin; more room for the driver who is most important. Other than more room in the cabin it wasn’t a standout designed interior but when driving I see only one screen, the windscreen. If you’re looking down at your pretty interior too often you’re not enjoying the car and that is exactly why I felt BMW played down the interior because they spent so much time making this car more interesting to drive.
Why This Ride?
· Purist BMW coupe design and drive
· New track specific packages
· Only 6-speed manual in segment
· Only rear-drive car in segment