Preview: 2022 BMW 2 Series Coupe Is Bigger, More Powerful

The sporty compact coupe will be available in rear- or all-wheel drive, and as a potent M-badged high-performance version

2022 BMW 2 Series M240i Photo: BMW

The redesign of the new BMW 2 Series coupe goes more than skin deep, incorporating improvements to ride, handling, and weight balance, as well as more interior room and up-to-date infotainment and connectivity features. Both the four- and six-cylinder models are turbocharged, but the sportiest version—the M240i xDrive Coupe—is laser-focused on performance. 

BMW claims inspiration in the diminutive 2002 coupe it built in the late ’60s and early ’70s, but the new 2 Series is longer, wider, lower, and a little heavier than its most recent predecessor, to say nothing of its diminutive distant ancestor, putting it in another league altogether. The visual cues that might tie it to the 2002 are faint indeed. But lineage isn’t all in looks, and the new 2 looks to be a performer. Depending upon how it’s equipped, the 2022 2 Series will hit 60 mph from a dead stop in as little as 4.1 seconds on its way to a top speed as high as 155 mph, according to the automaker. Throw down the coin for the top-of-the-line M240i xDrive and you’ll also get bigger brakes and a computer controlled suspension system, among other goodies. Unlike the previous 2 Series, a convertible version is not available.

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What it competes with: Ford Mustang; Infiniti Q60; Lexus RC; Mercedes-Benz CLA coupe

What it looks like: A last-generation 2 Series on steroids

Powertrain: 255-hp twin-turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder; 382-hp twin-turbo 3.0-liter inline-six-cylinder; eight-speed automatic transmission; rear- or rear-biased all-wheel drive

Price: $36,350 for the 230i Coupe; $48,550 for the M240i xDrive Coupe

On sale: November 2021

2022 BMW 2 Series M240i

Photo: BMW Photo: BMW

CR's Take

For those who cringed at the polarizing grille introduced on the 4 Series coupe, the 2 Series will be a refreshing departure. Its grille doesn’t resemble part of a baboon’s anatomy. But gone is the conservatively styled 2 Series of yore (or the 1 Series before it). The redesigned compact coupe appears to have gone to the gym, and its sheet metal ripples with bulges, creases, and various aerodynamic vents.

The increase in size serves a practical purpose, though, boosting passenger room and increasing the track width and wheelbase, presumably for a better ride and handling. And it’s really only a few inches longer and wider than the outgoing model. Both the RWD four-cylinder version and the AWD six-cylinder version of the new model outweigh the old—by more than 100 pounds in the 230i and 50 pounds in the M240i xDrive—but BMW has made use of aluminum body panels and suspension parts to keep overall weight down. BMW claims the result is a car that’s more capable but that doesn’t have a much bigger footprint.

Outside

A long hood, short rear deck, and small greenhouse give the new 2 Series a decidedly sporty stance, but despite its classic proportions, BMW says the car has nearly 50:50 weight distribution—a ratio that promises balanced handling dynamics. And there’s more going on beyond the mere suggestion of athleticism offered by a swollen hood and flared wheel arches. The horizontally oriented, kidney-shaped grille openings—and the trapezoidal maw beneath the front bumper—incorporate automatic shutters that open and close based on speed in order to improve aerodynamics or cooling as needed. The bottom opening also provides air to cool the brakes, and two side vents help reduce drag near the front wheels.

The 230i is available with something called the “shadowline package” that includes performance and styling upgrades that come standard on the M240i XDrive. Among them are bigger wheels, larger side vents, and some blacked-out trim pieces. The 230i has standard round exhaust tips, while the M240i xDrive features rakish trapezoidal exhaust tips. The moonroof—optional on the 230i and standard on the M240i xDrive—is larger than the one in the outgoing model.

BMW will offer the 2 Series with two new colors—a battleship color called Brooklyn Gray Metallic and a purplish hue called Thundernight Metallic.

Inside

The interior has a look nearly identical to most other current BMWs. A metal accent sweeps across the dash, punctuated by trapezoidal vent bezels and a trapezoidal center touch screen. The 2 Series comes standard with a leather-wrapped sport steering wheel and leather-clad sport seats with split folding rear seatbacks. Perforated leather upholstery is standard, with three choices of color. Vernasca leather is available, with four color options. The M240i xDrive adds M badging to the pedals, left footrest, floor mats, and instrument cluster. 

2022 BMW 2 Series M240i

Photo: BMW Photo: BMW

The start-stop button, gear shift lever, and drive mode selector switch are located in a panel on the center console, below the standard 8.8-inch main infotainment screen. A 5.1-inch instrument screen and analog gauges are standard. The BMW Live Cockpit Professional upgrade swaps out the old-school gauges for a fully digital 12.3-inch instrument panel and a larger 10.25-inch center touch screen. A full-color head-up display is also optional, and projects information such as speed and route directions onto the inside of the windshield so the driver doesn’t have to look away from the road.

Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability are standard, and Sirius XM is included with a one-year all-access subscription.

Although BMW says passengers will have more room to stretch out in the new 2 Series, there will be less space in the trunk for their luggage. At only 10 cubic feet, it’s a bit tight.

2022 BMW 2 Series M240i

Photo: BMW Photo: BMW

What Drives It

Both the four- and the six-cylinder engine options—similar to the BMW engines offered in the Toyota Supra—make more power for 2022. The aluminum twin-turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine offered in the base rear-wheel-drive 230i produces 255 horsepower at 5,000 to 6,500 rpm, and 295 lb.-ft. of torque at 1,550 to 4,400 rpm. The aluminum twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine that comes in the all-wheel-drive M240i xDrive cranks out 382 horsepower at 5,800 to 6,500 rpm, and 369 lb.-ft. of torque at 1,800 to 5,000 rpm.

Both cars use an eight-speed automatic transmission that comes with launch control and paddle shifters. A manual transmission is not available. The 230i can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds, and the M240i xDrive shortens the benchmark sprint to 4.1 seconds. Either version can have a top speed of either 130 mph or 155 mph, depending upon how the car is configured. The M240i xDrive comes standard with an electronically controlled rear differential designed to maximize traction in any situation. The all-wheel-drive system is biased toward the rear wheels to accentuate the sporty feel. 

BMW made a number of modifications to the 2 Series’ suspension, including using lighter parts to reduce unsprung weight—a move that typically repays with improved ride and handling characteristics. An upgrade called the M Sport Suspension brings firmer damping to the shock absorbers. The M240i xDrive comes standard with an adaptive suspension system that adjusts to changes in the road surface. Selectable driving modes change the character of the suspension and steering in this system, with Comfort being the softest, Sport Plus tightening things up, and Adaptive conforming to the driver’s individual style.

Neither the EPA nor BMW have released fuel economy estimates yet for the 230i and M240i xDrive.

2022 BMW 2 Series M240i

Photo: BMW Photo: BMW

Safety and Active Features

Both versions of the new 2 Series come standard with a range of active safety and driver assistance features, including forward collision warning (FCW), automatic emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrians and cyclists detection, blind spot warning, lane departure warning (LDW) with lane keeping assist (LKA), and adaptive cruise control. A more advanced version of adaptive cruise control that will bring the car to a complete stop and take off again in stop-and-go traffic is optional. Blind spot monitoring is also optional. The available parking assistance package includes a feature that will help the car’s driver get into both parallel and perpendicular parking spaces, as well as steer the car when the driver is reversing through winding or low-visibility driveways up to 50 yards long.

The new 2 Series incorporates BMW’s latest voice-activated command system—BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant—and can operate everything from windows to climate controls. It can even use GPS coordinates from a regular route to roll down the driver’s window automatically at the entrance to a parking garage. BMW Live Cockpit, which upgrades the main infotainment screen and digitizes the instrument cluster, comes with a digital key feature that allows the driver to use a smartphone as a key in a pinch.


Head shot of CR Autos Editor, Benjamin Preston

Benjamin Preston

My reporting has taken me everywhere from Baghdad, Iraq, to the Detroit auto show, along the U.S.-Mexico border and everywhere in between. If my travels have taught me anything, it's that stuff—consumer products—is at the center of daily life all over the world. That's why I'm so jazzed to be shining light on what works, what doesn't, and how people can enrich their lives by being smarter consumers. When I'm not reporting, I can usually be found at home with my family, at the beach surfing, or in my driveway, wrenching on my hot rod '74 Olds sedan.