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BMW makes many popular luxury cars, but one model’s success doesn’t ensure the same for others. That’s the case with the 2 Series and 4 Series. Although they’re both small luxury cars, they’re heading in opposite directions in popularity. Here’s a look at recent BMW 2 Series and 4 Series sales numbers and possible reasons why the larger model is massively outselling its stablemate. 

Here’s how BMW is doing in America right now

BMW recently released sales numbers for the first quarter of 2023, and overall, the German luxury automaker is doing well. In Q1, BMW sold about 90,000 units in North America. That’s over 9,000 more units than the company sold in the same period last year, representing an 11.4% year-over-year growth.

About 7,000 of those sales came from the Mini brand, owned by BMW Group. But as far as BMW models go, the German brand’s best-selling vehicles in America are SUVs. The X5 luxury midsize SUV is the company’s most popular, selling over 17,000 units in Q1 2023. In total, SUVs combined to sell almost 47,000 units in those first three months. That’s more than half of the company’s sales in the first quarter.

Meanwhile, the brand’s passenger cars (sedans, coupes, etc.) combined to sell about 36,000 units in the first quarter. That said, cars are far from a dying breed. In fact, compared to last year, BMW’s passenger cars saw a 13.8% gain. That’s larger than SUVs’ 10.4% growth. However, not all of the company’s cars are doing well.

The 2 Series flounders while the 4 Series flourishes

In the first quarter of 2023, the 2 Series saw an utter collapse as it sold fewer than 1,400 units. That’s a nearly 66% drop from Q1 2022, when BMW moved over 4,000 2 Series units.

In comparison, the 4 Series is climbing up the charts. It sold nearly 12,000 units in the first quarter of 2023.

That means this compact luxury car is responsible for a third of BMW’s passenger car sales so far this year. In addition, that sales number is a massive jump from the first quarter of 2022. Last year, BMW sold over 7,000 units of the 4 Series in the first quarter. That’s a jump of 5,000 units, a 63% growth in year-over-year sales. This leap also made the 4 Series the most popular BMW passenger car, overtaking the 3 Series.

There’s no cut-and-dried reason why the 4 Series has exploded in popularity while 2 Series sales have dropped. It’s possible that consumers simply think the 4 Series is a better car. It competes in the compact luxury sedan segment, while the 2 Series competes in the subcompact luxury sedan segment. That size difference gives the 4 Series significant advantages over its smaller sibling.

The base-model 4 Series packs a 255-hp engine, while the 2 Series gets a 228-hp one. Both Bimmers boast many engine options, but the 4 Series has the most potent: a 503-hp six-cylinder. The 4 Series’ more powerful engines can be appealing to driving enthusiasts who prioritize performance.

In addition, the BMW 4 Series has a sleek and sporty design, which attracts customers wanting a more aggressive and dynamic look. On the other hand, the 2 Series has a more compact body, appealing to those looking for a smaller vehicle or practicality.

Furthermore, because the 4 Series occupies a higher position in BMW’s lineup, it’s slotted as a more luxurious option. That translates to a higher price range, contributing to its perceived status and desirability. The 2023 BMW 4 Series starts at $47,000, compared to the 2 Series’ $37,000 sticker price. 


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