The 2017 BMW 2 Series is a decidedly old-school Bimmer in the best possible sense. Smaller and lighter than its siblings, and available only in two-door body styles, the 2 Series is a car for those still keen to own an Ultimate Driving Machine — BMW's slogan and mission statement for the better part of 40 years.
The 2 Series is a car that's adept at blasting along a winding stretch of asphalt and providing an ample dose of spice to the bland doldrums of the suburban grind. At the same time, it's impressively composed and comfortable on long stretches of interstate and possesses a refinement that its 1 Series coupe and convertible predecessor lacked. This is best seen in the cabin, which boasts materials and construction on par with pricier BMW models. Of course, it lacks their more generously sized backseats, meaning that those in need of true seating for four may need to look elsewhere.
For 2017, the 2 Series is improved in another area that has forever been a BMW hallmark: engines. Both the turbocharged four- and six-cylinder engines have been given healthy power bumps along with new model names to match: 230i and M240i. These are available on both the coupe and convertible body styles.
The 230i's 248-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder returns a thrifty EPA-estimated 28 mpg combined (24 mpg city/35 highway) when equipped with rear-wheel drive and the standard eight-speed automatic transmission. Opting for all-wheel drive, the convertible or the no-cost-option six-speed manual does result in a fuel economy drop of between 1 and 3 mpg combined. The M240i's 335-hp turbocharged inline-6 is also surprisingly efficient given its prolific power, returning an EPA-estimated 25 mpg combined (21 city/32 highway) with rear-wheel drive and the eight-speed auto. Again, opting for a different variation results in a slight mpg drop.
Unlike some other BMW models, there is more than just an engine separating the 230i and M240i. The latter includes additional performance upgrades like adaptive suspension dampers, performance tires, better brakes, sport-tuned steering and a sport exhaust, along with visual enhancements and the 230i's Premium package that consists of popular items like power front seats and satellite radio. Beyond that, the typical variety of comfort, infotainment and safety features are available on the options list.
As such, you're not really giving up much in the way of feature content by opting for the 2 Series over bigger BMW models, while gaining driving enjoyment. If you can live with its smaller size, this coupe and convertible pair could be the perfect compromise between a sports car and a daily driver. Given all its various permutations, though, make sure to research which might be the best for you here on Edmunds, including inventory near you.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.