BMW 2 Series (2014-present)

The BMW 2 Series offers space, performance and quality in one compelling package

Strengths & Weaknesses


Agile in corners
Powerful and economical engines
Spacious interior


Only two seats in the back
Diesels noisy when accelerating
Not very distinctive design

The BMW 2 Series is a compact two-door coupe (there’s also a cabriolet) designed to go head to head with cars such as the VW Scirocco, Audi TT and Peugeot RCZ. More powerful versions are so good they could even be considered rivals to the much more expensive Porsche Cayman.

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 with a 50:50 weight balance makes it much more entertaining to drive than its front-drive rivals the TT and Scirocco. The steering is fast and accurate, and the car resists leaning through corners, and remains stable over bumps without bouncing. 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 petrols and diesels. The former are smoother and more flexible and suit the car better, our favourites being the 220i and 228i. However, the diesels are more popular because they’re punchy but economical, and reasonably refined. The 220d is our pick. At the other end of the price and performance scale is the brilliant M2.

The 2 Series is suitably low and sporty looking, although not as eye-catching as its key rivals. However, those more conventional lines mean 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, while a Peugeot RCZ’s is brighter and less gloomy. On the flipside, the 2 series is quiet, the petrol engines, especially, 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, January 18, 2017 - 16:45

Other Editions