German automaker BMW produces a variety of sedans and SUVs that deliver excellent performance. Though some can be pricey, used models are relatively affordable and reliable. You can even find some of BMW’s most luxurious SUVs for under $20,000. But if your heart is set on a shiny new Beemer with performance chops, the 2021 BMW 2 Series Coupé is one of your best bets.
Driving the BMW 2 Series
The BMW 230i coupe and convertible models come standard with a 2.0-liter turbo-four capable of 248 and 258 lb-ft of torque. The 228 xDrive Gran Coupé has a slightly weaker engine but offers a sportier aesthetic. The same engine inside the M235 xDrive Gran Coupé makes 301 hp.
Consumer Reports‘ testers settled on the M240i coupe, which costs around $11,000 more than the standard 2 Series. However, this model comes with a turbo-six capable of 335 hp and 368 lb-ft of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard, but CR recommends the available six-speed manual.
The M240i coupe also comes with racing enhancements, including sport brakes, an adaptive suspension, and a satisfying sport exhaust. Quicker than the base sedan, it launches from 0 to 60 mph in just over five seconds. Despite its unassuming appearance, the M240i exceeds expectations on the track with its superb handling.
It responds to steering inputs instantly and handles corners confidently. CR also notes that, unlike most sport sedans, the suspension isn’t too stiff and delivers a quiet, comfortable ride. Testers also got 25 mpg combined city/highway, another impressive feat for a sports coupe.
Although the turbo-four lacks the oomph of the turbo-six, CR still assures us the base engine still packs plenty of power. The base model can also be optioned with all-wheel drive for an extra $2,000. The range-topping M2 Competition coupe is rear-wheel drive and comes with a twin-turbo 405-hp six-cylinder engine.
Inside the BMW 2 Series
The BMW 2 Series boasts a sumptuous interior to match its silky-smooth performance. CR testers loved the red seats on their test vehicle, as well as the unique patterns on the aluminum dashboard trim. However, they found a few minor imperfections and hard plastic parts that might stand out to the trained eye.
The seats are wide and bolstered, providing both support and comfort during long trips. The thigh cushion also folds out for additional support. CR noted that models with the second row might have three seats, but it’s roomy enough only for two passengers. They also thought that legroom in the second row might not be ideal for tall riders.
The iDrive infotainment system has a bit of a learning curve. However, CR commended the automaker for its attempts to make the interface more user-friendly in recent years. BMW added more physical controls, but the touchscreen menus are still too confusing for newbies. Even the standard 2 Series comes with advanced driver’s aids, including standard automatic emergency braking.
The BMW 2 Series‘ sub-$40,000 price is enticing, but many buyers inevitably spend more. That’s the only way to get the most satisfying engines and luxury amenities like heated seats and extra tech.
Still, every 2 Series trim offers a fun driving experience. Some worried that BMW had forgotten its “Ultimate Driving Machine” roots for fear of making its cars as high-tech as possible. But CR’s review shows the automaker still makes performance a priority.