Small coupes are somewhat of a rarity these days, especially in the luxury segment. But BMW is still committed to offering compact, rear-wheel-drive fun in the form of its redesigned 230i.
The new 2 Series rides on the same platform as the larger 3 Series and 4 Series, so it's 4.3 inches longer than its predecessor. The wheelbase is 2.0 inches longer and the coupe is 2.6 inches wider, too. Because of this, the new 230i is also heavier by some 150 pounds.
My tester has the $3,250 M Sport package that adds cosmetic bits like larger air intakes, glossy window trim and a few other bits of brightwork. Personally, I like the standard Sport design pack better, but you do you. And hey, at least the grille isn't massive. Around back, I don't love the coupe's smallish taillights, as they seem too little for this broad rear end. However, the profile is totally awesome, as is the new Thundernight Metallic purple paint color, which I definitely prefer over my tester's Melbourne Red.
You can't get a 2 Series with a manual transmission anymore, which is a bummer, but you guys only have yourselves to blame. (Read: No one bought the manual.) Instead, the 230i uses an eight-speed automatic transmission putting power down to the rear wheels. A 2.0-liter turbocharged I4 engine provides motivation, good for 255 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. If you want more power or all-wheel drive you'll need to step up to the M240i xDrive.
Still, the 230i has plenty of pep. The 2.0-liter engine has more power and torque than in the previous 230i and the latter comes on strong at just 1,550 rpm. This makes the 230i perfect for blasting through corners where low-end shove helps you power out like a boss. The eight-speed automatic transmission is plenty sharp, enough that I don't ever feel the need to use the paddle shifters, especially in the 230i's Sport mode.
The optional Dynamic Handling Package includes an M Sport rear differential and larger brakes. This is a $1,900 add-on that makes corner carving a bit more fun, sending additional torque to the outside rear wheel during turns. The upgraded brakes provide more than enough bite without being grabby, which is ideal.
This BMW is pretty light on standard driver-assistance technologies. My tester doesn't have adaptive cruise control, parking assist or traffic jam assist. However, blind-spot monitoring, lane-departure warning, automatic emergency braking and rear cross-traffic alert are all included.
Moving inside, the 2 Series doesn't get BMW's latest iDrive 8 infotainment tech, instead relying on the tried-and-true iDrive 7 interface. My tester has the optional 10.3-inch multimedia screen and 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, but an 8.8-inch infotainment display is standard. Both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connect wirelessly, and you can also option the 2 Series with a color head-up display. Wireless phone charging is included, as are USB-A and USB-C outlets.
The rear seat backs have a mechanical release to tilt the chairs forward, though the power sliding function takes a while to do its thing. I'm 5 feet, 9 inches tall, and I fit in the rear seats just fine. Taller folks won't be so happy.
Cargo space is on the small side, with just 10 cubic feet in the 230i's trunk. The rear seats fold down for additional space -- enough for me to move a motorcycle hitch carrier -- but obviously, don't buy a two-door coupe if you're looking to haul on the regular.
The 2022 BMW 230i Coupe starts at $37,345 including a $995 destination charge, though my tester rings in at a much higher $46,570 thanks to a number of options. That base price undercuts the larger Audi A5 and Lexus RC 350 coupes by several thousand dollars. The closest competitor is something like the Mercedes-Benz CLA250, which the Germans call a coupe even though it has four doors.
I like the 2 Series for its classic styling, playful on-road antics and easy-to-use multimedia tech. It's not the most modern car out there, but it's also one of the only luxury sport coupes left. I'm glad BMW is keeping this segment alive.