The BMW 2-Series is available in two trim levels, 230i and M240i. Both come as 2-door coupes or convertibles. Both cars are rear-wheel drive, though xDrive all-wheel drive is available on both trims. The 230i is powered by a 2.0L 4-cylinder turbocharged engine producing 248 horsepower and 259 pound-feet of torque. The M240i features a turbocharged 3.0L straight-six powerplant that produces 335 horsepower and 369 pound-feet. Both cars come standard with an 8-speed automatic transmission, but a 6-speed manual is a no-cost option on either model.
A big part of the mission of the 2-Series is to be fun to drive. BMW has accomplished this through an all-independent suspension with a 5-link rear suspension setup, a fairly unique feature in this class. The 2-Series is thus able to out-handle most of its competitors in addition to being quite quick in a straight line. Body roll, dive and squat are all nicely controlled without compromising the car's ride quality.
The BMW 230i is the more pedestrian of the two models but still comes reasonably well equipped. Standard features include 17-inch alloy wheels, fog lamps, an 8-way adjustable driver's seat, 60/40 folding rear seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with controls for the stereo and Bluetooth setup, a 6.5-inch full-color display, a USB port, automatic climate control, rain-sensing wipers and a memory system that remembers the driver's favorite settings for everything. The 230i can be equipped with either Sport Line or M Sport upgrades, which add features like larger wheels, rear spoiler, improved suspension calibration and more.
The M240i comes better equipped, starting of course with the stronger engine. Other features on the M240i include bigger brakes, 18-inch alloy wheels, 10-way power adjustable front seats, a sports instrument cluster and dynamic cruise control.
Optional items on the 2-Series include leather seating surfaces, satellite radio, heated seats, a moonroof, a Harman/Kardon premium sound system and concierge services. Packages include a driver assistance package with parking sensors and a rear-facing camera, as well as a technology package, which includes a navigation system with real-time traffic updates and access to BMW apps. A Track Handling Package adds Adaptive M Suspension, variable sport steering, M Sport brakes and Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires.
The 2-Series convertibles in both 230i and M240i guise are equipped similarly to their coupe counterparts, with a power-operated top that takes just 20 seconds to raise or lower.
Safety features include anti-lock brakes, stability/traction control and several airbags. The BMW 2-Series also comes standard with an emergency request system that will activate in the event of an accident. The system comes with a 10-year subscription.
Earlier this year, my colleague Jon Wong had a chance to drive theon a race track in Spain. He came back raving about the car, , "I still got nothing when it comes to finding major flaws with the M2." But would my experience driving the Competition on regular Midwestern roads -- often cold, damp roads at that -- lead me to the same conclusion as a blast on a sunny circuit?
Too often, cars that excel on the track are a bore on the street: the tuning that makes them so capable at full tilt can dilute driving fun and pleasure at road-legal velocities. That does not, fortunately, apply to the M2 Competition. Instead, it delights in communicating with its driver and excels in putting all its power to the road. I'm quite happy to report that the M2 Competition remains a stellar tool for driving pleasure no matter where you take it.
The transformation into the M2 Competition was a serious affair, with the car ditching its old single-turbo, 365-horsepower engine in favor of a 405-horsepower, twin-turbo 3.0-liter inline-six derived from that in the M3 and M4. So, too, was the entire chassis upgraded, with a gorgeous carbon-fiber strut brace from the bigger M cars, as well as enlarged brakes and new suspension parts all around.
The Good Stupendous pace and lots of driver involvement.
The Bad Miserable ride quality and worse fuel economy than before.
The Bottom Line If you're looking for a new sports coupe for serious driving, this should be at the top of your short list.
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