2014 BMW 2 Series Expert Review
By Zach Vlasuk
What's New for 2014
A spiritual successor to BMW's legendary 2002 coupe, the all-new 2 Series is a fresh face in the burgeoning field of entry-level luxury cars.
Taking the place last year's 1 Series line, the 2014 BMW 2 Series embodies a more sophisticated demeanor while holding true to BMW's established brand pillars of safety, efficiency, and dynamism without compromise. The standard 228i strikes a satisfying balance between handling prowess and price, while the sport-oriented M 235i crams big performance numbers into a compact package. Until the next-generation 1 Series sedan arrives sometime in 2017, direct competition for the BMW 2 Series consists of similarly-sized 4-door rivals like the well-rounded Audi A3, stylish Mercedes-Benz CLA, and value-driven Acura ILX.
You'll Like This Car If...
If you're in the market for an agile handling, premium sports coupe with striking good looks and efficient performance, the 2014 BMW 2 Series deserves a test drive. The upscale nature of 2 Series also makes it a viable alternative to current 4 Series shoppers who would gladly sacrifice some interior space for a near-$10,000 savings.
You May Not Like This Car If...
The Audi A3 and Acura ILX offer the flexibility of four doors as well as seating for five. In addition, comparably-equipped versions of the A3, ILX and CLA 250 undercut the 2 Series by a few thousand dollars.
The 2014 BMW 2 Series is 4-seat, 2-door coupe and an all-new nameplate for the U.S. market.
Driving the 2 Series
As the only rear-drive car in its class, it should come as little surprise that the BMW 2 Series coupe reigns supreme in the fun-to-drive department.
This spirited driving experience isn't...
... reserved exclusively for the range-topping M 235i either, as the 240-horsepower 228i and its available 6-speed manual gearbox are more than capable of giving dedicated sports cars a run for their money. The combination of tidy dimensions and a tight turning circle make the 2 Series easy to park and maneuver as well. At highway speeds, the cabin is less immune to wind noise than the Audi A3 and Mercedes-Benz CLA, though neither of which can match the BMW when it comes to stability and overall ride compliance. Despite the fact that 228i models fitted with an automatic transmission earn an EPA-estimated 36 mpg highway rating, we managed to exceed that figure by nearly four marks in real world testing. This places the 2014 228i on the same efficiency plane as the less-powerful CLA 250.
With BMW Apps, iPhone users can browse their Twitter and Facebook feeds as well as listen to streaming music services like Pandora, MOG and TuneIn Radio all through the optional navigation system display.
It's no secret that parallel parking is one of the most frustrating aspects of driving. Thankfully, the BMW 2 Series offers a feature called Parking Assistant that can seek out available parking spaces and automatically steer the coupe into a designated spot. Next stop: fully autonomous driving.
2014 BMW 2 Series Details
Longtime BMW enthusiasts will feel right at home in the 2014 2 Series. The simple-yet-elegant dash layout combined with unambiguous instrumentation reinforces the 2's position as a true driver's car. The latest-generation iDrive terminal (a fixed remote that controls multimedia and connected devices) is relatively easy to use regardless of skill level. There are, however, some cut-rate plastics in evidence, and the sun visors do not extend to block the sun at certain angles. While the Audi A3 and Acura ILX maintain a slight advantage in rear legroom, the 2 Series offers considerably more rear legroom and headroom than the CLA 250.
Whereas the outgoing 1 Series was undeniably cute, the 2014 BMW 2 Series takes on a distinctly masculine aesthetic to help expand its appeal to male drivers. This edgier appearance is set off with dramatically swept-back headlights, BMW's now-signature L-shaped taillights, and a more tapered roofline. The M 235i takes that visual profile to the next level with a deeper front apron, larger air intakes, contoured rocker panels, and a unique rear lower valance. On the functionality front, the 2 Series coupe offers a respectable 13.8 cubic feet of trunkspace, besting its Audi, Mercedes-Benz, and Acura competitors by a slight margin.
In base form, the 228i comes standard with 8-way manually-adjustable front seats, a 60/40-split rear seat, 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, and a 10-speaker audio system with a 6.5-inch display and HD Radio. Although the A3 charges extra for 2 Series standards like a USB port, dual-zone climate control, and rain-sensing windshield wipers, the Audi includes a moonroof, xenon headlights, a 12-way power driver's seat, and leather upholstery for about $2,000 less than the BMW. The Mercedes-Benz CLA's standard equipment roster is comparable to that of the 2 Series. In terms of safety, every 2014 2 Series includes eight airbags, a full range of electronic stability aids, and a 10-year subscription to BMW Assist eCall telematics (an embedded telephone with automatic collision notification and 24/7 emergency services).
The M Sport and Dynamic Handling Packages for the 228i are designed to close the performance gap on the M 235i. The former includes sport front seats, 18-inch wheels wrapped in performance rubber, and an M Sport steering wheel, while the latter contains all that plus an adaptive suspension, variable-ratio steering and upgraded brakes. There's also a highly-recommended Driver Assistance package that bundles together a backup camera with active guidelines and front and rear parking sensors.
Under the Hood
Motivating the 2014 BMW 2 Series is a pair of potent but efficient turbocharged engines.
The 228i packs BMW's 2.0-liter 4-cylinder, while the M 235i comes fitted with a retuned version of the firm's popular 3.0-liter inline-6. Both engines send power to the rear wheels through a standard 8-speed automatic transmission or 6-speed manual. To help improve fuel economy in the city, all 228i models include an auto-stop/start function that shuts off the engine at complete stops. And, with 240 horsepower, the 228i holds the title as the most powerful base model in its class.
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
240 horsepower @ 5,000-6,500 rpm
255 lb-ft of torque @ 1,450-4,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/36 mpg (automatic), 22/34 mpg (manual)
3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6
320 horsepower @ 5,800-6,000 rpm
330 lb-ft of torque @ 1,400-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/32 mpg (automatic), 19/28 mpg (manual)
The 2014 BMW 228i carries a starting MSRP (including destination) of just over $33,000, while the M 235i begins right around $44,000.
The 228i and M 235i top out at roughly $48,000 and $53,500, respectively. Both the Audi A3 and Mercedes-Benz CLA 250 check in close to $31,000, with the markedly less-refined Acura ILX starting in the $28,000 range. Regardless of which model you choose, take a look at Kelley Blue Book's Fair Purchase Price Tool before heading to the dealership. Down the road, we expect the 2014 BMW 2 Series coupe to retain slightly above-average residual values.
To compare current market prices, check out KBB.com's car classifieds to view the new and used
BMW 2 Series vehicles for sale near you.