BMW has uncovered its all-new 2-Series, the small coupe that replaces the high-scoring 1-Series. Arriving in March 2014, the 2-Series promises to improve on the previous car with increased performance, refinement, size, and daresay, a more stylish appearance. But a big question mark remains: Will it be more fun than the 135i we tested, which was spectacular to drive?
The 2-Series line starts with two models: 228i ($33,025) and M235i ($44,025). The 2 is about three inches longer than the 1-Series, an inch wider, and rides on a 1.3-inch longer wheelbase. The result is a welcomed incrementally larger interior.
Gone are the days when BMW model designations conveyed the engine displacement. Here, the 228i is motivated by a 2.0-liter, 240-hp turbocharged four-cylinder. The sportier M235i is propelled by a 322-hp, 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder. The new 2 is further elevated by a standard adaptive suspension, more aggressive brake package, variable sport-tuned steering, and grippier tires. Each will be available with a choice of six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission. Both cars will use start/stop technology to aid fuel economy with either transmission; we hope the experience is better than what we’ve had on recently tested BMWs, which could shudder back to life in a decidedly nonluxurious fashion.
BMW estimates the 228i will achieve 23 mpg city and 35 mpg highway in the EPA tests—a dramatic improvement over the previous car. And the German automaker claims that the base car can sprint 0-60 mph in 5.4 seconds—downright muscle car territory.
With the auto gearbox, the M235i is expected to achieve a relatively impressive 22 mpg city, 32 mpg highway EPA rating, while being capable of rocketing 0-60 mph in 4.8 seconds. Part of the mechanical trickery to achieve these seemingly diverse goals includes an “eco pro” mode to enhance efficiency and launch control to optimize acceleration and inevitably a move to electric steering. In between, there are three other driver-selected modes to dial in the desired dynamic personality.
To help keep the occupants safe, the 2-Series is available with a typical roster of active features, such as cornering headlights, parking assist, lane-departure warning, and collision-warning system.
Needless to say, the 2-Series is stuffed with BMW technology and performance. We look forward to seeing whether it lives up to the excellent 1-Series it replaces when we buy our own in the spring.