BMW 2 Series Coupe (2013-2021) Review
A sporty driving experience, smart looks and an upmarket feel make the 2 Series Coupe a compelling alternative to an ordinary hatchback
Strengths & weaknesses
The BMW 2 Series Coupe shares much of its technology and mechanical parts with the 1 Series, so if you think of it as a sporty, smart-looking coupe version of BMW’s small hatchback, you’ll be along the right lines. It is more expensive than the 1 Series hatchback, however, so you’ll have to love its looks and its sporty attitude to choose one over a 1 Series.
The other cars you might be looking at could include the Audi TT or, if your shopping list involves the range-topping M240i, even a Porsche Cayman (although the Cayman only has two seats rather than four). If you’re looking at older 2 Series Coupe models, then the VW Scirocco and Peugeot RCZ are potentially worth a look, too, though these cars were discontinued in 2017 and 2016 respectively.
As a sporty-looking coupe, the 2 Series needs to be fun to drive, and it definitely delivers in this respect. With rear-wheel-drive and a well-balanced suspension setup, aided by having the car's weight shared equally between front and rear (unlike in most cars, where the majority is located at the front), every 2 Series Coupe is entertaining to drive on a twisty road.
The car’s body doesn’t lean over around fast or tight corners and always remains composed and well-controlled over bumpy roads at speed. There’s plenty of grip, too, and a few models even get four-wheel-drive for added traction in slippery conditions.
A slick-shifting manual gearbox is standard, but the optional eight-speed automatic gearbox is one of the best. Engines include smooth petrol models that spin up quickly or diesels for those who do high mileages and are focused on fuel economy. The 220i and 230i are the best bet for petrol power, though at the top of the range, the turbocharged six-cylinder M240i offers Porsche Cayman-rivalling performance. There’s the M2, as well, which is even more potent and exciting to drive.
The styling of the 2 Series Coupe is slightly more upright than that of the sleek TT and even the low-roofed Scirocco, but that does mean passengers benefit from a little more headroom front and rear. Mind you, the Scirocco does offer a bit more rear legroom. As is the case with most BMWs, everything feels well built inside, and the thoughtfully laid out interior looks good.
As well as the various engine choices, you can choose from three trim levels: SE, Sport and M Sport. Whichever one you opt for it’ll be well equipped, though; even the most ‘basic’ SE cars still get alloy wheels, air-conditioning and LED headlights - plus standard built-in sat-nav.
Should I get a BMW 2 Series Coupe?
✔ Can be engaging and fun to drive
✔ Broad selection of efficient engines
✔ Feels like a high-quality product
✘ Diesel engines are rather noisy
✘ No hybrid or electric version available
✘ Less practical than the cheaper 1 Series
If you don’t need the practical shape of a family hatchback, but still want the flexibility of a pair of reasonably usable rear seats in a slightly more sporty-looking package, then the 2 Series Coupe is a fine choice.
Plus, with a broad range of engines there’s a 2 Series Coupe to suit many different driver needs. From smooth-spinning small petrol models (like the affordable 1.5-litre 218i) and economical diesels, all the way up to the much more potent M240i with 340hp from its 3.0-litre turbocharged six-cylinder engine, there’s pretty much a 2 Series Coupe for everyone.
- Models explained
- Trim levels
- Best 2 Series Coupe for
- Boot space
- Should I buy used?
BMW 2 Series Coupe
The bulk of the BMW 2 Series Coupe range consists of a fairly simple selection of options. Though it is topped by the high-performance and very pricey M2 model, most 2 Series Coupes are much more affordable, with the still-rapid M235i and M240i models bridging the gap.
The range starts with the 218i, which is powered by a 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine (also used in some Minis). It only has 136hp, but feels lively enough, and is capable of around 50mpg. Up next are the 184hp 220i and 252hp 230i, which both use turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engines. The 220i is cheaper, but it’s actually no more fuel-efficient than the much more powerful 230i, which can achieve impressive claimed fuel economy of around 48mpg.
If it’s really good fuel economy you want, however, the 150hp 218d turbodiesel will better 60mpg if you drive it carefully, as will the more powerful - and pricier - 190hp 220d. This makes the 220d the best model for blending perfomance and high fuel economy levels.
Trim levels start with the SE, moving up to the racier-looking Sport and topping out with M Sport models, which get 18-inch alloy wheels, more aggressively sporty styling add-ons and special suspension.
The fastest ‘normal’ 2 Series Coupe - so excluding the dedicated M2 performance model - is the M240i, which gets unique colours, lower and stiffer suspension even than regular M Sport models, and a potent 3.0-litre turbocharged six-cylinder petrol engine with a substantial 340hp.
Although it looks similar to the more regular models, the M2 features heavily revised suspension, steering and brakes, plus a more aggressive looking body kit. Early models had 370hp - not much more than the M240i - but this changed in 2018, when BMW brought out the M2 Competition.
This features a significantly more powerful engine, taken from the much larger M4 coupe. It delivers 410hp in the Competition, and an even more scary-sounding 450hp in the range-topping CS model. Whichever one you go for, however, the M2 feels like a sharper, more sporty machine than the M240i and the previous version of that car, the M235i, which was very similar under the skin.
Gearbox options for the M2 include a six-speed manual and a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, which can change gears faster and more aggressively than an ordinary automatic gearbox.
|BMW 2 Series SE
|Limited stock: 17-inch alloy wheels, air-conditioning, LED headlights and a rotary dial-controlled media system with sat-nav that’s genuinely intuitive make even the most basic 2 Series feel a bit special
|BMW 2 Series Coupe Sport
|Limited stock: Sport models get smart black trim finishes outside and in, sports seats, larger alloy wheels and switchable driving modes that allow you to choose between ‘Eco’, ‘Comfort’ and ‘Sport’ settings.
|BMW 2 Series Coupe M Sport
|Limited stock: M Sport cars get a sportier body styling kit, plus firmer-feeling M Sport suspension.
|BMW M235i/M240i Coupe
|Limited stock: These models have a lower ride height than M Sport models, plus a turbocharged six-cylinder engine. They get a range of unique paint colours, too.
The mid-spec 230i is probably the best overall engine option in the 2 Series range. This turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine may not have the exhilarating soundtrack of the six-cylinder models, nor their thumping acceleration, but 252hp is still a decent figure and is enough to get the 230i from 0-62mph in 5.6 seconds, which puts it on par with most mainstream hot hatches such as the VW Golf GTI.
It may not have the outright 60mpg-plus fuel economy of the 220d diesel - but you can squeeze 50mpg out of it on a gentle cruise, which is impressive for such a powerful petrol engine. In short, the 230i is the sweet spot in the 2 Series range, unless maximum fuel economy is your top priority, in which case you'll want to go for one of the diesels.
Despite a relatively limited range of engines and trim levels, mixing and matching the two means you can find quite a variety of capabilities with the 2 Series Coupe to suit a variety of drivers, from the entry-level 218i SE to the punchy M240i - and even sportier M2.
As with most BMWs and other German premium brands, 2 Series Coupes aren’t especially cheap to buy outright, but they hold onto their value well, so PCP finance deals can be comparatively affordable with relatively low monthly payments available.
|BMW 218d SE: The 218i petrol might be technically the entry point of the range, but if you do a lot of miles, the more economical diesel in the 218d or 220d makes more sense; and of the two the 218d is a little cheaper.
|BMW 230i Sport: With only four seats in total and not much space in the back full stop, no 2 Series Coupe is an ideal family car. However, If you can squeeze children into the back seats, then the reasonably sized boot and low running costs of the 230i Sport can make it a fun car for occasional family trips.
|M240i: The M2 might be faster, but it’s a bit wild for everyday use, and rather more expensive than the M240i, which is frankly as much performance coupe as you’ll want in everyday driving and still can be impressively economical when you drive it gently.
|BMW 218i M Sport: The 136hp from the 1.5-litre three-cylinder engine isn’t quite enough to make the 2 Series feel satisfying as a performance car, while the diesel models offer superior economy and more relaxed performance.
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Aside from the super-stylish Audi TT, the 2 Series Coupe doesn’t have all that many direct rivals. You could put earlier models on a shopping list that includes the Peugeot RCZ and VW Scirocco, but the VW went off sale in 2017 and the RCZ was discontinued in 2016. The 2 Series is more fun to drive than any of them, too, TT Included.
You’ll rate the TT if stylish looks and a high-tech interior matter to you, though, as the 2 Series can seem a bit bland in comparison, however keen drivers will value this, as there's nothing to distract you from enjoying the drive.
Meanwhile, if you don’t need rear seats at all, then the Porsche Cayman is worth considering as it brings the glamour of the Porsche badge, plus truly sporty handling as the mid-engined layout puts the motor behind the driver for optimum handling and agility. It’s a pricey choice, though, and only really an option financially if you’re already looking at M235i, M240i or M2 versions of the 2 Series.
BMW 2 Series Coupe practicality: dimensions and boot space
The BMW 2 Series Coupe is just over 4.4 metres long and just under 1.8 metres wide. This makes it very compact for a coupe and adept at negotiating narrow city streets or tight car parks. It’s also around the same size as a conventional family hatchback like a Volkswagen Golf (or, indeed, a BMW 1 Series). However, because its engines are installed lengthways rather than across the engine bay, and because of the small two-door saloon car shape, interior space isn’t as good as you’d get in a family hatchback - especially for rear-seat passengers.
|Weight 1,345kg - 1,690kg
Despite a slightly impractical body shape, the boot capacity of the 2 Series Coupe is actually rather good. At 390 litres, it beats the VW Golf by 10 litres. However, it has to be said that this is partly because the area above the luggage cover isn’t measured in official figures, so the Golf (or any other hatchback-shaped car) is more practical for transporting tall or bulky items, as this extra height is available when needed.
Nevertheless, the 2 Series Coupe’s boot space is still pretty impressive - and 85 litres larger than you’ll get in the Audi TT. It's worth bearing in mind that the TT has a hatchback and you can fold the rear seats down, so it can be more practical than you might initially think.
|Boot size 390 litres
Although BMW has traditionally benefited from a reputation as a maker of reliable cars, it has lost its edge recently - in the Auto Express 2020 Driver Power survey it came third from bottom of 30 brands surveyed.
That said, the 2 Series itself tends to fare better in model-related surveys, but even so it’s generally considered no better than ‘average’ for reliability.
What is different about a BMW warranty, however, is that it’s an unlimited warranty in terms of mileage during those three years, whereas many three-year warranties will only cover you for up to 60,000 miles. This means that going for a BMW could prove more valuable to those who cover high annual mileages than choosing a car from another brand that offers a warranty of the same length.
AVERAGE REPAIR COST PAID BY WARRANTYWISE: £721
This version of the 2 Series Coupe was on sale for a long time - almost eight years - so there’s a wide variety of examples at all sorts of ages, mileages, specification and price points. Obviously, the higher the mileage and the older the car, the cheaper it will be to buy. Do be aware, however, that older, higher-mileage models may need certain mechanical components replacing due to natural wear and tear, and servicing costs including parts and labour are relatively expensive for a premium car maker such as BMW.
Plus, having said that there are plenty of examples to choose from, cars like the 1 Series are much more numerous on the used market, so it's wise to work out what you want and pick your 2 Series carefully if you're looking at older or higher mileage models. Proof of regular servicing is one of the most important factors when it comes to checking that a car has been well looked after.
If you do high mileages, a diesel model is worth looking at, though these will already tend to have done higher miles as used cars - for exactly the same reason. Top-of-the-range M240i and M2 models may also have been driven quite hard, so evidence of regular maintenance is absolutely crucial for these.
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The best 2 Series Coupes are the more powerful models - and that holds true whether you’re going for a petrol model or a diesel one. For example, the 218d and the 220d achieve roughly the same claimed economy, but with 190hp versus 150hp, the 220d is significantly faster, making it a more relaxed motorway cruiser with greater power in reserve - and simply more enjoyable to drive.
It’s a similar story with the petrol 220i versus the 230i - 184hp versus 252hp, yet the same claimed fuel economy figure on paper of around 49 mpg. It must be said, though, that the more powerful models are a little more expensive, but if you can stretch to them, it’s certainly worth it for the more enjoyable driving experience.
At the very top of the 2 Series range, the M240i makes a better realistic choice than any of the M2 models, as BMW’s full-on ‘M’ cars (such as the M2, M3 and M4) are often far more expensive to maintain than more mainstream BMW models such as the M240i, which is still a pretty fast and enjoyable car to drive.
*Representative PCP finance - 2018 Ford Fiesta 1.0 ST-Line Hatchback:
|PCP representative example
|APR rates available
|Cash price £12,000
|Value of loan
|Fixed monthly payment £218.12
|Annual mileage of 8,000pa
|Total cost of credit £2,755.55
|Term 48 months
|Optional final payment £4,285.79
|Loan value £12,000
|Total amount payable £14,755.55
BuyaCar is a credit broker, not a lender. Our rates start from 6.9% APR. The rate you are offered will depend on your individual circumstances.
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