2021 BMW 2 Series Review

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BMW has created the epitome of sport and comfort with its new 2 Series range.

The Coupé and Convertible range are the go-to, especially if you want to utilise the rear-wheel drive and the twin-power turbo engines that are standard and make this car so fun to drive. If this isn’t you though, there is the more family-friendly Active Tourer and Gran Tourer models.

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It has swag lines around the signature elongated bonnet. BMW’s entry-level model is a joyous drive and looks the part.

Cameron Hale, Moneyshake Car Reviewer

Introducing the first-ever BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe

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BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe

Adding to its already successful coupe line-up, the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe features the latest front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive setup that is replicated in the 1 Series.

So what can you expect from this standalone model that separates it from the standard 2 Series coupe? Well, here are some of its highlights.

  • Eye-catching contoured kidney grille bars (mesh grille for the flagship M235i xDrive M Performance model)
  • All new rear lights design which extend towards centre of the rear
  • Frameless side doors with classic, sporty coupe silhouette
  • 94mm longer and 36mm wider than the standard coupe, meaning passengers are well catered for

Choose between hree different trim levels for the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe – the Sport, M Sport and M Performance. Even the entry-level Sport model is well-equipped, with sports seats draped in premium cloth that’s available with smart orange or silver contrast stitching. There’s also smart 17in alloy wheels, front and rear parking assist, two-zone automatic air-con and BMW’s flagship Live Cockpit Plus.

BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe from the rear

If you step up to the M Sport spec you’ll get chunkier 18in alloy wheels and a sportier setup that includes an M Sport suspension, M aerodynamic bodystyling and M Sport steering.

At the very top of the range, the M235i adds exclusive grey 18in alloy wheels, an even more aggressive M235i specific M Sport suspension and rear spoiler. However, the star of the show is the Limited Slip Differential, launch control and sophisticated all-wheel-drive xDrive setup. Couple this with the flagship 2.0-litre unit with 306bhp that accelerates from 0-62mph in just 4.9 seconds and you’ve got yourself a really tidy sports car.


BMW 2 Series front seats

Standard SE 2 Series models come with a generic cloth design, which doesn’t entirely do this motor justice when you consider its well-built interior. BMW would disagree with us labelling it generic, instead opting for the more elaborate name, “Anthracite Move”. There’s no issue with comfort here, though. And you’re probably going to find it difficult to justify the £1,150 extra to upgrade to more premium Dakota Leather.

Have a feel around the plastic trims inside your 2 Series. Does anything scream cheap? It doesn’t for us. And that’s without the upgraded wood interior. But it’s what anyone with even an entry-level knowledge of cars comes to expect from the German manufacturer – class.

This is particularly felt by the driver and front passenger. The central armrest in the front can slide to suit the comfort preference of you and your co-pilot. It’s also got a very wide surface which allows both of you to take the weight off. No more fighting for that resting spot!

Those in the front will also feel the benefit on their feet when riding along thanks to velour foot mats. BMW has even taken pains to coat the glove compartment handle in chrome.

Unfortunately, the 2 Series is tight in the back. But what more could you expect from a car like this? If you have small children or are taking your taller passengers on a short journey, you should have no problems whatsoever.

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Infotainment and tech

BMW 2 Series interior

The 2 Series is generous with its standard featured car tech, you Bimmer fans will be pleased to hear. Connected Drive and the all-new BMW Navigation System are standard, along with reversing sensors and climate control. The satnav has handy Real Time Traffic Information (RTTI) – so you can dodge the longer way round on your daily commutes.

DAB radio might seem like it’s been around forever (which it has). But it’s still the ideal set-up in modern cars, and the 2 Series upholds this tradition. Not only this, but it’s DAB+ compatible, meaning greater efficiency when broadcasting.

As standard this is all projected via a 6.5″ display which is controlled through the brand’s intuitive rotary dial. The Bluetooth hands-free interface is very convenient and optimises the cockpit and allows you to take calls while focusing on the road. Don’t worry if your device hasn’t got Bluetooth. USB ports provide a neat backup for MP3 players, iPods, or you can even charge your phone on the go. Unfortunately, smartphone mirroring can only be done through Apple CarPlay, and even then you’ll have to buy a subscription in order to benefit from syncing your iPhone to the interface.

Despite being one of the smaller models in the entire range, there’s a lot of safety and convenience tech packed into even the base model. This includes:

  • Eco pro mode – adapts the throttle, transmission and climate control to ensure the car is more fuel-efficient (this can be selected via a button on the centre console).
  • Optimum shift indicator – digital display on the instrument cluster shows the driver when to shift up or down for efficiency.
  • Hill start assist.
  • Tyre pressure monitoring system.
  • Cornering brake control, dynamic stability control plus, brake control, anti lock braking system (ABS) with brake assist and automatic stability control.
  • Automatic start-stop function.

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BMW 2 Series boot pictured open

In terms of boot space, the 2 Series beats the 1 Series hatch (at 390 litres, 40 litres more), however the opening is still rather narrow, making it hard to negotiate certain items. The silver lining comes in the fact that the rear seats fold down almost completely flat, giving the 2 Series a nice loading bay that keeps movement on your items down to a minimum.

An “extended storage” package is another option. £110 later, you can have an extra storage compartment on the driver’s side, nets on the back of the front seats, and 12V sockets in the back.

However, the standard setup has plenty for a small family to store their bottles and other belongings. The front door bins are sizeable, there’s two front cupholders with a handy inlay mat for grip and a functional glovebox.

Those in the back won’t suffer from lack of space either. There’s a centre console in the rear which houses a storage compartment big enough for your carry-on belongings.

BMW 2 Series backseats

On the road

BMW 2 Series out on the road

BMW has purposely built the new 2 Series with the lightest materials on offer. The car is laced with carbon-fibre and aluminium finishes. It gives the car a natural, low centre of gravity. All add to the experience behind the wheel.

Included as standard on the M240i model is variable sport steering. This allows 50:50 weight distribution on the car for even more agile and smooth handling. Adaptive LED lights give the 2 Series an even sharper edge, making it look even more dangerous. However, these are an added extra you would need to purchase with the car. If you’re looking for the cheapest option, then the 220i still packs a punch, reaching 0-60 in seven seconds! But, if money isn’t an issue, we would recommend the six cylinder, three-litre M240i. Simply for performance.

Rear-wheel drive utilises the sporty nature of the 2 Series, giving that push out of the corners which marries with the sport steering, there is a four-wheel “xDrive” option available. Unless you are in an area where there’s lots of snow and adverse weather, it has to be rear wheel drive every day of the week.

A manual gearbox tends to be the preferred option when it comes to sports cars like the 2 Series. You’ll notice that the pedals are unusually offset to the right, meaning the clutch is on the centreline of your standard driving position. This can present a problem for people with lower-back pain as it causes a slight twist motion in the body, not aided by the low-seat position either. So, you may want to consider the variety of automatic eight-speed transmissions available if you have such problems. You won’t be sold short on sporty feel, though. Automatics have a Steptronic additional extra which has butter-smooth gear shifts due to tightly spaced gear ratios.

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