- Fully redesigned for 2022
- Loses the manual, but both engines gain more power this year
- Modern interior with more luxurious touch points
- Launches the second 2 Series generation
The BMW 2 Series is a complicated vehicle to sort out. For years, this pint-sized luxury car was only available as a rear- or all-wheel-drive coupe or convertible. Then, in 2020, the 2 Series Gran Coupe threw BMW's entry-level lineup into chaos. Rather than simply being a four-door version of the base car (don't get us started on BMW's insistence on calling its sedans "Gran Coupe"), the 2 Series Gran Coupe was a completely different vehicle based on front-wheel-drive architecture. It didn't bode well for the aging 2 Series two-door — would its successor switch to FWD as well, or would it simply disappear from the lineup?
Neither, as it turns out. The redesigned 2022 BMW 2 Series is the next iteration of this small sports car, and it retains its forebears' rear-drive setup. Both of the available engines offer more power than the comparable 2021 motor, and the interior is upgraded to BMW's latest design aesthetic. And in a win for people with eyes everywhere, the engorged kidney grille of the 4 Series and other newer BMWs is absent here. Everything isn't gold, however — pour one out for the six-speed manual transmission, which is now lost to the sands of time.
The 2022 BMW 2 Series will initially launch in two configurations. First up is the rear-wheel-drive 230i coupe. Its turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine produces 255 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque — a bump of 7 hp and 37 lb-ft over the current model. Curiously, this also coincides with a slower 0-60 mph time. BMW says the new 230i will sprint to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds, though the previous 230i was able to hit the same target in 5.3 seconds. We can't offer a definitive explanation as to why this is, but it's worth noting that BMW's published specifications suggest the new 230i is about 100 pounds heavier than its predecessor.
Is 5.2 seconds not quick enough? The all-wheel-drive M240i xDrive will scratch the itch for customers who want a more invigorating launch off the line. It uses a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six that churns out 382 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. This represents an increase of 47 hp and 1 lb-ft over the outgoing six-cylinder. BMW says the revised powertrain takes the M240i xDrive from zero to 60 mph in 4.1 seconds — a 0.1-second improvement over the previous model. Both engines are paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission.
We had the opportunity to drive the M240i xDrive on both public roads and on a racetrack and can report that it drives much like the previous-generation 2 Series, and for that, we're grateful. At the track, the new 2 Series is wildly entertaining to toss into corners and there's plenty of grip to do so with confidence. At the same time, there's not so much traction as to take the fun away. In the driver-selectable Sport modes, the electronic stability and traction controls give the driver much more freedom to make this diminutive BMW dance.
Feeding in a bit of steering input when entering a turn under maximum braking results in a graceful rotation around the vehicle's vertical axis, helping to point the car toward the turn's apex. When exiting the turn, it's easy to modulate the throttle to get a graceful arc or, if you are more liberal with the throttle, break the rear tires loose for a giggle-inducing power slide. We're happy to report that despite this new 2 Series being bigger and heavier, its playful personality remains.
If straight-line speed isn't your only barometer for performance, the 2 Series has a host of available features to transform this pint-sized coupe into a corner-carving demon. In certain driving conditions, power won't be sent to the front wheels at all on the M240i xDrive. That model also features a sport rear differential that can transfer up to 100% of torque to one wheel. Both functions combine to nullify the understeer presented by some other AWD systems. The M240i xDrive also features an adaptive suspension, allowing drivers to choose between ultimate handling and a comfortable ride at the press of a button.
Look for the lineup to expand after the launch in November 2021. An xDrive version of the 230i is in the works, as is a rear-wheel-drive version of the M240i. We also expect BMW will build high-performance M2 — probably for 2023 — and possibly a convertible 2 Series as well.
On public roads, the new 2 Series has a stiffer ride quality than rival sport luxury coupes or sedans, but never to the point that it feels jarring. The compromise is minor and well justified by its sharp handling. Seat comfort is helped by adequate cushioning and a design that delivers plenty of support. We didn't have time to evaluate the seats over long distances, but our expectation is that they will be as comfortable as any other competitor's seats.
In the default Comfort drive mode, the adaptive suspension (standard on the M240i) is in its softest setting, while selecting the Sport modes gets you a stiffer ride for sportier handling. The engine and exhaust noises also get louder and more inspiring in the Sport settings, adding just the right amount of theater. These settings don't change the 2 Series' character dramatically, but they are different enough to ably match your driving mood.
The 2 Series might be one of the most budget-friendly models in BMW's lineup, but you can't tell judging by the interior. The overarching design bears a strong similarity to vehicles like the pricer 3 Series and X5. Digital information displays give the cabin a techie vibe, while details such as leatherette-trimmed door handles and textured aluminum-look panels drive home the impression that you've upgraded from a non-luxury coupe.
Space-wise, the 2 Series is a bit bigger than the previous model, and the wheelbase is 2 inches longer. Judging by BMW's published specifications, however, the new 2 Series will have roughly the same amount of legroom in both rows. Expect to see ample headroom and legroom up front, even for tall passengers. The rear is decidedly more compact and will likely really only be suitable for those short in stature or kids.
The interior's centerpiece is an 8.8-inch touchscreen (upgraded to 10.25 inches when you select the Live Cockpit Professional option). It houses BMW's iDrive 7 infotainment system, which brings features such as a Wi-Fi hotspot and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to the 2 Series. You also get SiriusXM 360L, a more robust version of the satellite radio subscription service that includes on-demand content and more channels.
The 2 Series continues to offer parking sensors, forward collision warning, blind-spot detection and lane departure warning as standard equipment. Additional driving aids are available, including adaptive cruise control, a 360-degree camera and an automated parking system. New for the 2022 2 Series are a head-up display and the BMW Drive Recorder, which allows you to record images from the camera feeds while driving or in the event of a collision.
Initially, the 2022 BMW 2 Series will be offered only in a coupe body style and in two trims: 230i and M240i xDrive. Standard and optional features include:
Besides its more powerful engine and all-wheel drive, the M240i has:
Some of these features are available as options on the 230i. Many others are bundled into packages or are stand-alone additions and include:
The new 2022 BMW 2 Series keeps its predecessor's best attributes (driving excitement) and throws more power in for good measure. Meanwhile, interior and technology improvements keep it fresh and ready to challenge other luxury sport coupes.