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FIRST DRIVE | New 2022 BMW 2 Series Coupé merges performance with refinement

10 March 2022 - 11:53
The BMW M240i is a luxurious little rocket on the roads. Picture: PHUTI MPYANE
The BMW M240i is a luxurious little rocket on the roads. Picture: PHUTI MPYANE

The latest BMW 2 Series is a continuation of a legacy that began in 2004 as the sportier, two-door iteration of the 1-Series subcompact ranges and, by extension, the lineage can be traced back to the 2002 coupé of 1966.

As a 1 Series coupé it was also available as a cabriolet and it gave us the legendary 1M. Inin 2013 the 2 Series moniker appeared and spawned the current M2 performance models.

When I could finally take an uninterrupted inspection of the new car on an empty field overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, before we tracked a path to the fishing village of Paternoster, my impression of the styling went through several phases on its way to a confirmed opinion.

At first the mishmash of bulges, rectangular surfaces and obtuse angles appear clumsy. Then I hung back and its shape started to unravel. It’s a gorgeous thing.

According to BMW SA, it borrows cues from other BMWs. It’s the only modern BMW to incorporate a twin LED-headlight system as opposed to four, inspired by the 2002.

As you would expect of a compact two-door coupé, taller passengers will need to contort slightly to enter the cabin. It’s 105mm longer now at 4,537mm, and 64mm wider with a roof line 28mm lower than its predecessor.

Inside, you’ll find a premium place in modern BMW décor. Space for passengers has grown but the rear bench is still not the best place for fully grown adults to stretch out. The boot swallows 390l while the rear seats can split-fold in a 40:20:40 configuration to increase loading space. Should you need to carry more stuff, a removable trailer tow hitch is available as an option, with a permissible trailer load of 1,600kg.

The new BMW 2 Series Coupé comes standard with Alcantara/Sensatec upholstery, acoustic glazing for the windscreen, three-zone automatic climate control and ambient lighting, while M240i xDrive derivatives get an M leather steering wheel and cushioned knee pads.

BMW Operating System 7 is also standard, as is a multifunction steering wheel, voice control, a digital key, Connected Music, and BMW Live Cockpit Professional, which features a fully digital 12.3-inch screen and a 10.25-inch control display.

BMW Live Cockpit Professional includes BMW Maps, a cloud-based navigation system with real-time traffic data updates, Apple Carplay and Android Auto and remote software upgrades.

Options include surfaces covered in Sensatec perforated and Vernasca leather, electrically adjustable sport seats with variable bolstering and seat heating, a heated steering wheel, Harman Kardon surround sound system, and a glass slide/tilt sunroof. Wheel sizes are 18-inch but M Sport specification rides on 19-inch M light-alloy wheels with M Sport brakes, a front spoiler lip and an M rear spoiler.

Driving assistance systems include lane change warning, rear collision prevention and rear crossing traffic warning, active cruise control, speed limit assist, park distance control, reversing assistant, with camera for surround view and remote 3D View, BMW head-up display and BMW drive recorder.

A premium place in modern BMW décor, and space has grown. Picture: SUPPLIED
A premium place in modern BMW décor, and space has grown. Picture: SUPPLIED

The engines

All engines are paired with eight-speed automatic transmissions with launch control, with the four-cylinder models using BMW’s trusted rear-wheel drive.

The four-cylinder 220i which I started out in has outputs of 135kW and 300Nm. This provided enough thrust for daily use or a spirited drive on highways. It sprints from 0 to 100km/h in 7.5 seconds and has quite a strong mid-range shove ideal for overtaking or tackling steep inclines, while consuming a claimed 6.3l/100km.

The diesel 220d is a similarly fine motor but it adds a 48V mild-hybrid system for improved efficiency. Consumption is rated at 4.7l/100km and it delivers 140kW and 400Nm.

The M240i xDrive all-wheel drive model brings bags of attitude and a ferocious 285kW and 500Nm turbo six-cylinder engine to the mix. For the first time in SA the range-topper is available exclusively with xDrive all-wheel drive. This helps it shoot past 100km/h in 4.3 seconds and when driven with restraint it averaged 9.1l/100km.

Even in humble 220i guise the new BMW 2 Series is an eye-catching set of wheels. Picture: PHUTI MPYANE
Even in humble 220i guise the new BMW 2 Series is an eye-catching set of wheels. Picture: PHUTI MPYANE

The drive

These new coupés offer great steering feedback whether pooling in town or when slicing through curved roads. Thanks to sophisticated two-joint spring strut front axle and five-link rear axle chassis components adapted from the BMW 4 Series, the drive is lush and the coupés thus feel more grown up.

The M240i xDrive is for those who want a compact, sporty car with a bellowing soundtrack. Much like its ancestors the thrust is mighty for reeling in distances but if you’re expecting smoky drifts you will not get them. The permanent all-paw traction avoids this but it brings peace of mind when driving on rain-soaked and twisty roads.

All BMW 2 Series coupés are sold with a two year/unlimited kilometre warranty and a five-year/100,000km service plan.

Pricing

BMW 220i Coupé: R771,900

BMW 220d Coupé: R819,278

BMW M240i xDrive: R1,062,420


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