BMW 2 Series (2013-2021)

The BMW 2 Series offers a near-perfect blend of style, quality and performance – at a price

Strengths & Weaknesses

Strengths 

Great to drive
Extremely efficient engines
High-quality interior

Weaknesses 

Diesels could be more refined
No tax-beating hybrid version
More expensive than a 1 Series
Best finance deal

BMW 2 Series Diesel Coupe (2017-2020) 218d se 2dr [nav]

Finance price £222 per month

Cash price £14,594

BMW 2 Series Coupe prices from £12,200   Finance from £222 per month*

Think of the BMW 2 Series Coupe as a sporty, stylish but less practical version of the 1 Series hatchback that it’s based on. Prices are higher than the hatchback, too. So it’s a car you buy with your heart, rather than your head.

New car rivals include the equally impractical Audi TT and, at a pinch, the more practical, four-door Mercedes-Benz CLA. More powerful versions such as the range-topping M240i are so good they could even be considered rivals to the much more expensive Porsche Cayman.

If you’re buying used you might consider the VW Scirocco and the Peugeot RCZ; neither of which are available as new cars.

The heart of any sports car is its engine and chassis, and here, the 2 Series is in rude health. Being rear-wheel drive and having a 50:50 weight balance means its more entertaining to drive than its front-wheel drive rivals, making it ideal for style-conscious driving enthusiasts on a budget. The steering is fast and accurate, while the car resists leaning through corners, and feels composed over bumps. There’s plenty of grip but if you want more, some versions are available with four-wheel drive – what BMW calls xDrive.

The ride is a little firm on the standard fun-flat tyres but specifying the optional M Sport adaptive suspension makes it more comfortable. The manual gearshift is precise, while the optional eight-speed automatic is one of the world’s best.

Engines are a mix of smooth petrols that suit the car's dynamic feel, and diesel options which blend performance and efficiency for those travelling more than 15,000 miles per year. Our favourites are the 220i and 230i petrols, and 220d diesel, although the three-cylinder 218i is perfectly good if your pockets aren't quite as deep.  At the other end of the price and performance scale is the brilliant M240i, easily a rival for the even more expensive Porsche Cayman, and the bonkers M2 Competition.

The 2 Series is suitably low and sporty looking, although not as eye-catching as the TT or even the older Scirocco. However,  more conventional styling means that the BMW is respectably roomy, although the Scirocco has more rear legroom. There are only two rear seats but they’re generously proportioned and, unlike rivals, there’s ample headroom. The boot has room for a couple of large suitcases.

As you’d expect of a BMW, the interior is well finished and controls are logically laid out, but an Audi TT’s cabin looks more stylish. On the flipside, the 2 Series is quiet; the petrol engines, especially, are barely audible.

There are just three core trim levels: SE, Sport and M Sport. Alloy wheels and a sat-nav are standard, so you’re definitely not slumming it in the SE.

Last Updated 

Wednesday, May 12, 2021 - 12:45

Key facts 

Warranty : 
3 years/100,000 miles
Boot size: 
390 litres
Width: 
1774mm
Length: 
4432mm
Height: 
1418mm
Tax (min to max): 
£160-£1,200 (first year); £140- £450 (subsequent years) 


Best BMW 2 Series for... 

BMW 218d SE auto
With the eight-speed automatic gearbox fitted, the base diesel model returns a claimed 62.8mpg on the official combined cycle, making it marginally the most frugal of all the versions in the range.
BMW 220d xDrive Sport auto
Four-wheel drive (xDrive) helps the car to cope better with slippery conditions, while Sport trim is the least expensive of the two offered with this engine.
BMW M2 Competition
For sheer performance, the M2 Competition is without equal in the range. However, many will prefer the cheaper M240i, or the more comfortable 230i M Sport.
BMW 218i M Sport
In basic SE trim the 218i makes a lot of sense but in the most expensive M Sport trim it becomes only slightly less expensive than the properly sporty 220i Sport. Opt for the higher engine, rather than trim level.

 

  • 2013 Model launched. Be aware that early models lacked sat-nav.
  • 2014 All trims now get alloy wheels.
  • 2015 The 218i is launched with a 1.5 litre, three-cylinder petrol engine. Recall campaigns launched for seatbelt malfunction and stalling engines.
  • 2016 New range of 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engines badged 220i and 230i launched. The range-topping M240i replaces the M235i. Model also gets the latest version of BMW’s iDrive infotainment system. Recall issued for possible loss of control and steering problems.

Understanding BMW 2 Series car names 

  • 2 Series
  • Engine
    220d
  • Driven wheels
    xDrive
  • Gearbox
    Sport Auto
  • Engine
    There’s a choice of petrol and diesel engines but their names can be confusing. For example, the 218i is not a 1.8-litre engine as you might think, but a 1.5 with three cylinders. The 220i is 2.0 litres, but so is the 230i. All the diesel engines are 2.0 litres. The ‘i’ in the name signifies petrol and ‘d’ means diesel. There are no hybrid versions of the 2 Series.
  • Driven wheels
    For a sportier drive, the 2 Series is rear, rather than front-wheel, drive. However, this can be tricky when it's muddy or snowing, so for the mid-range 220d version, BMW offers its grip-boosting xDrive four-wheel drive system as an option.

  • Gearbox
    The standard gearbox is a six-speed manual, but if you’d rather not change gear yourself there’s a choice, at least on some versions, of a regular eight-speed automatic BMW calls Steptronic, and a quicker Sport automatic with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. The M model is available with a different type of automatic gearbox called a dual-clutch auto, with seven speeds.

BMW 2 Series Engines 

218i, 220i, 230i, M235i, M240i, 218d, 220d, 225d

Engines are a choice of petrols and diesels – there is no hybrid version, so if you want to reduce your road or company car tax bill substantially or enter London’s congestion charge zone for free, you’ll have to look elsewhere.

The smallest engine is the 218i petrol. Despite it name, it’s actually a 1.5-litre engine with three, rather than the usual four cylinders, but it's smooth and reasonably powerful. It’s the one to choose if you want to keep your costs down and don't do a high mileage. The 220i is a two-litre engine with four-cylinders that is sportier when you want it to be, but also more relaxing when you're just cruising. Its more powerful relation, the 230i, is the one to go for if you want the performance of a 6-cylinder engine with the running costs of a 4-cylinder engine.

The M235i was later replaced by the more powerful M240i, both 3-litre 6-cylinder engines that offer blistering performance for a small coupe like the 2 Series. Go for a fully fledged M2, though, and you can expect 450hp from the same engine.

Diesel engines are falling out of favour but the 2 Series Coupe’s are well worth considering if you do a high mileage and want to drive something relaxing and economical or just like strong overtaking performance. An indication of how powerful they are is that the 220d is offered with BMW’s xDrive four-wheel drive system that improves grip on slippery surfaces.

A lesser powered version of that engine, the 218d, is the best for fuel efficiency, and it's still quick enough for most. Older models had a quicker 225d model, but this was short-lived.

Note that later models of the 2 Series dropped the diesel engines completely, so newer examples will only come with the 218i or 220i engines (unless you want a performance version).

In standard from, the rear-wheel drive 2 Series coupe can be tricky on wet roads if you're driving quickly – worth bearing in mind if you go for one of the more powerful petrol or diesel engines.

Fuel

Fuel economy

Power

Acceleration (0-62mph)

Top speed

218i

Petrol

50.4 - 53.3mpg

13bhp

8.8 - 8.9s

130mph

220i

Petrol

47.9mpg

181hp

7.2s

146mph

230i

Petrol

47.9mpg

249hp

5.6s

155mph

218d

Diesel

61.4 - 62.8mpg

148hp

8.3 - 8.5s

132mph

220d

Diesel

61.4 - 55.4mpg

187hp

7.0 - 7.2s

140 - 143mph

225d

Diesel

60.1mpg

221hp

6.3s

151mph

M240i

Petrol

33.2 - 35.8mpg

335hp

4.3 - 4.5s

155mph

BMW 2 Series Trims 

SE, Sport, M Sport, M240i, M2

Gone are the days when premium brands were miserly with standard equipment. Although you can spend a fortune on options, the 2 Series Coupe is well equipped even in basic SE trim. It has 17-inch alloys, air-con, a sporty steering wheel and smart LED lights all-round. It also has BMW’s impressive infotainment system, one of the best in the business, with a sat nav.

As its name implies, Sport reflects the coupe’s character more closely with a sportier look including sports seats, smarter alloys, sportier cabin touches and a selection of performance modes from Eco and Comfort to Sport.

M Sport is like the range-topping M model but without the high performance and the high price. So it has the M’s 18-inch alloys, body styling, and detailing. It also has firmer M Sport suspension.

It’s easy to mistake an M Sport for the M240i model, until you see an M240i in the flesh. This car is even lower and has special colours to distinguish it. It’s also much sportier looking inside and is available with a manual or a unique seven-speed automatic gearbox. M2 models have even more aggressive styling.

 

BMW 2 Series Reliability and warranty 

The BMW 2 Series didn't feature in the Auto Express Driver Power 2017 reliability rankings. Sister models the 3 and 4 Series did, however. Generally speaking, BMW has a good reputation for building reliable cars, while exterior and interior quality is second to none.

BMW’s new car warranty is three years although it does at least extend to 100,000 miles, where many others stop at 60,000. For average-mileage drivers this extra cover will be academic, though.

Used BMW 2 Series 

A strong image is crucial to a car’s success on the used car market and most BMW models, including the 2 Series, have it in spades. New car discounting, another factor in the success of a used car, is well controlled, so BMWs, including the 2 Series Coupe, hold their value better than most. 

Where they can lose money is in some of the options fitted to them. For a new car buyer it can be a painful lesson since most options lose money faster than the vehicle they’re fitted to. On the other hand, for the used car buyer it can be the route to a great value 2 Series Coupe.

Diesel BMWs are very popular with company car drivers, which is why there are many more used diesel-powered 2 Series Coupes on the market than petrol ones. All diesel 2 Series Coupes comply with the current Euro 6 emissions regulations, so are the cleanest available. Those registered before 1 April 2017, when road tax was more closely geared to CO2 emissions, will attract a lower rate, too. These may be in heightened demand compared to previously, because later models of the 2 Series dropped all diesel options.

The cheapest BMW 2 Series on BuyaCar costs £12,200, while the attractive 220d M Sport starts at £16,299. The average cost for all 2 Series Coupes featured is £384.

If you want performance, grab yourself a bargain. While new M240i models cost upwards of £40,000, used examples (including the M235i) start at £19,974 or  per month. Equally, the bonkers M2 can be bought used from £32,999 or £394 per month representing a massive saving.

BMW 2 Series Prices

BMW 2 Series M240i

m240i 2dr [nav] step auto

  • Doors 2
  • Fuel petrol
  • Economy 39.8mpg
  • Gears automatic

Starting at: £33,343

You could save up to: £8207

Other Editions