- BMW takes the wraps off its new 2 Series Coupe ahead of its 2014 Detroit Auto Show debut.
- The rear-drive 2 Series Coupe lineup will replace the old 1 Series Coupe when it goes on sale early next year.
- The new 2 Series is longer, wider, faster, more economical than its predecessor, and offers more interior space than the 1 Series coupe.
MUNICH, Germany — It hasn't even nailed down whether the 3 Series-into-4 strategy has worked yet, but BMW has doubled down on it with its all-new small 2 Series Coupe.
Scheduled to debut at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show in January, the rear-drive BMW 2 Series Coupe lineup will replace the old 1 Series Coupe when it goes on sale in during the first quarter of 2014.
With two gasoline engines slated for the U.S., the new 2 Series is longer, wider, faster, more economical than its predecessor, and offers more interior space than the 1 Series coupe.
BMW will initially only deliver its new 2 Series in hardtop, two-door coupe form, with a convertible and a four-door sedan to follow.
The 2 Series will be a substantially larger machine than the old-generation 1 Series Coupe it replaces. Like most modern BMWs, it will arrive in Sport, Modern and M Sport packages, with the differences mostly relating to styling and trim detailing, but also covering a few mechanical issues.
It will be longer and wider than its predecessor, with 0.7 inch more front headroom and 0.8 inch more rear legroom, along with more shoulder room, a wider opening to climb into the rear seats and a bigger 13.8-cubic-foot trunk.
At the top end of the 2 Series Coupe lineup is the M235i, which will hit 60 mph in 4.8 seconds with the eight-speed sport automatic transmission. There will also be an economical diesel version, dubbed the 218d, which posts a combined fuel economy figure of 56 mpg — although that version won't come to North America.
The two models on the U.S. radar are the M235i and the 228i, both of which come with either six-speed manual gearboxes or eight-speed automatics, which BMW delivers with paddle shifters on the steering wheel and launch control as standard equipment.
Priced at $33,025 including a $925 shipping fee, a $3,000 increase above the outgoing 1 Series coupe, the cheapest 2 Series will be the 228i, which becomes the first BMW to use the new, 240-horsepower version of the brand's 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine.
This engine scores a new piston design to go with its variable valve timing, variable camshaft timing, twin-scroll turbocharger and direct fuel injection, and gets to 60 mph in 5.4 seconds when outfitted with the eight-speed sport automatic.
The 228i's engine reaches power peak at 5,000 rpm and holds it to 6,500, with a top speed of 130 mph (155 with the Sport Line or M Sport package). Peak torque is 258 pound-feet, which is available between 1,250 and 4,500 rpm.
Preliminary EPA estimates are 27 mpg combined (23 city/35 highway) for the eight-speed sport automatic, and 26 combined (22 city/34 highway) for the six-speed manual.
It's also the lightest 2 Series on the books at 2,976 pounds, carrying the standard 13.7-gallon fuel tank and riding on the same 205/55R16 tires that BMW also fits to the base versions of all but the M235i.
Priced at $44,025 including shipping, the headline act is the M235i, which sits on 225/40R18 rubber up front and 245/35R18s in the back, and comes complete with a turbocharged inline six-cylinder engine — the only non-four in the family.
This gives it 315 hp from 5,800 rpm to 6,000 rpm, but it's going to spend most of its time living in its 332 lb-ft torque band, which arrives at 1,300 rpm and stays on until 4,500 rpm.
This helps it to hit 62 mph in 5.0 seconds in six-speed manual form, though the auto is two-tenths of a second faster, and it will run out to a limited 155 mph.
But the M235i is significantly heavier than the 220i, with the engine and its strengthening requirements adding 231 pounds for a total of 3,298 pounds. This has an impact on its fuel consumption, with preliminary EPA estimates registering 25 mpg combined (22 city/32 highway) for the eight-speed sport automatic, and 22 combined (19 city/28 highway) for the six-speed manual.
As with most BMWs, all 2 Series variants will have the driving mode switch to change among Comfort, Sport and EcoPro modes, while a Sport+ mode is an option.
All of this power and torque is stuffed into a body that is, essentially, a massaged version of the 1 Series hatch, but it's 13 percent stronger than the old 1 Series Coupe.
There is a five-link independent rear suspension controlling things, and the front suspension is so complex that it no longer really deserves to be called a MacPherson strut system.
The only genuine architectural question marks here surround the standard electric power steering system and its electronic differential "lock," which means it uses the brakes to do the job of minimizing wheelspin. You can counter that by ordering the optional M Sport limited-slip differential, but it won't be cheap.
Neither will the other significant M Sport mechanical options. The biggest handling impact is likely to come from the optional adaptive suspension, with its electronic damper control and a 0.43-inch drop in ride height. If you want to step it up from there, you'll have to order the M Performance Automobiles sport suspension, which lowers the ride height 0.8 inch, but be prepared for something of a firm ride.
The four-seat coupe might be based around the current 1 Series hatch, but it's visually very different (so much that it gets its own B M23 code name) and is 0.2 inch lower but more than 2 inches longer.
It will be 174.5 inches long, which adds 2.8 inches to the 1 Series Coupe's length, and 69.8 inches wide (another inch). The track widths, critical to handling stability and grip, have increased by 1.6 inches in the front and 1.7 inches in the back.
If you don't think a modern BMW coupe looks its best on 16-inch wheels (and we would agree with you), you can option up to an M Sport pack, which drops the ride height nearly half an inch and delivers 17-inch alloy wheels. Or you can choose the Sport line, which rides on 17-inch wheels standard.
It's a familiar story inside the cabin, with BMW delivering a higher specification than the 1 Series hatch to offset some of the higher cost of the coupe. Air-conditioning is standard, along with an iDrive controller (though satellite navigation is an option in Europe).
While much of the instrument cluster is familiar 1 Series territory, there are large storage compartments in the doors, a larger-than-average glovebox and a layered feel to the dashboard. The opening to get into the rear seats is nearly half an inch larger than on the 1 Series Coupe, while there is a two-piece split-fold seat that accesses the trunk (or a 40/20/40 split optional rear seat).
Edmunds says: It's no surprise that a bigger, faster coupe comes with a higher price tag. But BMW is betting that 1 Series coupe fans will believe the $3K premium will be worth it for the more substantial 2 Series coupe.