The BMW 2 Series Coupé launch took place last week in Cape Town and I had the opportunity to drive all variants. They are the 220i, 220d and M240i. The company says its target market is for drivers who value maximum driving dynamics, traction and extremely precise handling.
It is a super-sporty compact with chassis technology taken from the 3 and 4 Series, and some attributes from the 1 Series. BMW also highlighted that South Africa is one of its top markets for the 2 Series, after the US, UK, Germany and China.
Ryan Warnasuriya, product manager at BMW says of the 2 Series: “As a package, it brings everything to the table.”
There always seems to be some controversy around BMW’s design of late and once again, like the iX, people have strong opinions about the ‘polarising’ grille, lights and looks. The 2 Series grille is a functional one; it has vertical air flaps instead of the classic bars, which open electrically when the engine needs some cooling. So there’s that.
The new exclusive purple shade is quite eye-catching too, with its lines, form and surfaces and that muscular look from a sports car. It has a wide rear with a flat sloping roofline, plus a new front headlight design, triangular air intakes, integrated door handles, and a radiator grille with Active Airstream technology.
I love witnessing the evolution of design, but for the 2 Series, I like the overall look. I also had an opportunity to drive it last year in Germany when I attended the iX launch.
I’ve not driven a 2 Series before so technically don’t have anything to compare it to but it’s familiar because it’s a BMW but I’ve only driven the 4 Series at a launch a few years ago.
Under the hood
The top of the line M240i xDrive all wheel drive has a six cylinder 3.0L engine with an output of 285kW of power – 35kW more than its predecessor – and 500Nm of torque. It can go from 0-100km/h in a ridiculous 4.3 seconds. The 220i rear wheel drive has a four cylinder 2.0L engine with an output of 135kW of power and 300Nm of torque. It does 0-100km/h in 7.5 seconds with a fuel consumption of 6.3L/100km. And the 220d rear wheel 2.0L diesel features a two stage turbo charged 48V mild-hybrid tech with an output of 140kW and 400Nm of torque, which goes from 0-100km/h in 7 seconds. It has a claimed fuel consumption of 4.7-5.1L/100km.
All the engines are a standard 8 speed Steptronic Sport transmission, with paddles on the steering wheel, has Launch Control and a Sprint function. The eight-speed Steptronic Sport transmission is part of the M Sport package Pro. This option is available for cars with M Sport specification and adds 19-inch M light-alloy wheels, M Sport brakes, a front spoiler lip and an M rear spoiler.
All the tech
The 2 Series has the BMW Operating System 7, despite OS 8 launching already on the iX. It features a bunch of advanced tech like BMW Digital Key, Connected Music, Remote Software Updates, BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant.
The 2 Series comes standard with BMW Live Cockpit Professional that includes a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, but for the life of me couldn’t figure out how to customise it, and a 10.25-inch infotainment display. Also standard is BMW Maps (cloud based navigation) with real-time traffic, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and access to digital services via OTA updates.
Some markets will have access to Amazon Alexa but this feature is not available in SA. You can also pair the My BMW app, and get news updates from BMW News.
Most times at launch events, we don’t always get to put these to the test, it’s a bit technical and some isn’t possible. So while we couldn’t load digital car keys onto the phones, we did pair our phones to the car and make use of Google Maps, etc. There was wireless charging available, and surprisingly, USB-A and USB-C ports; usually it is only the latter.
We drove for two full days starting at Cape Town airport and went to Hermanus for lunch. We experienced the typical (and frustrating) Cape Town traffic and the way people drive there. I do think the 220i for this type of routing was ideal. The next day, we got into the M240i and went on long stretches of the highway to Paternoster for lunch and got to test different modes, ahem.
I really enjoyed the top of the range 2 Series Coupé, can I just say it suits my driving style? And for the last stretch from lunch back to CT airport, we got into the 220d, which handled some of the overtaking of trucks better than what the 220i was capable of.
The drive for me was longer on day 2 as my driving partner opted not to switch so it was quite lengthy for me after lunch. With the ways sports cars are designed, much lower, and a different angle, my legs could have done with a break at some point.
As mentioned earlier, we had the comforts of pairing a phone to the car, so CarPlay with Google Maps took us where we needed to go, in a familiar interface. There were times that my driving partner lost connectivity on Android Auto and we switched to the native maps to get us where we needed to. The connectivity is wireless but the smartphone didn’t re-pair itself to the car while we were driving, probably for safety, though I don’t see why it couldn’t have.
The 2 Series Coupé is a bold car that will make a statement wherever it goes, especially in that purple shade. It was fun to drive and definitely a car for enthusiasts, with plenty of the latest tech for a 2022 vehicle, pity about it not running OS 8. There is a back seat to fit four people but it was really small and narrow. Honestly don’t think adults can comfortably sit there for long periods. It did serve a purpose to hold my bag but realistically, I wouldn’t go on a road trip with four adults in it. It is definitely a two person car, and not a family one.
From my experience of driving all three variants, the M240i is the clear winner and most fun to drive. I love me some quick acceleration and a refined ride. It’s so easy to get comfortable in the car and lose track of speed. If I were the target market and was looking to buy this car, I wouldn’t consider the other two variants, and go straight for the M240i.
220i – R771 900
220d – R819 278
M240i – R1 062 420
Welcome to Wired to the Web. My name is Nafisa Akabor and I’m a technology journalist covering business and consumer tech for the last 15 years. I’m passionate about start-ups, smartphones, mobile payments, travel tech and electric cars. ✉️ email@example.com