2015 BMW 2 Series

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2015 BMW 2 Series Review

By Keith Buglewicz

The 2015 BMW 2 Series lineup of coupes and convertibles includes a healthy dose of extra competitiveness with the introduction of three new all-wheel-drive (AWD) models. The new BMW 228i xDrive coupe and convertible, and M235i xDrive coupe offer BMW's Intelligent AWD system as a counterpunch to the AWD Audi A3 quattro and Mercedes-Benz CLA 4Matic. Those seeking more thrills can get a new Track Handling Package for the 2015 BMW 228i. While AWD will certainly be welcomed by some, 4-door shoppers will still have to look elsewhere until the new BMW 1 Series debuts sometime in 2017. Still, there's a lot to like about this smallest BMW car, and it offers a compelling choice if you're shopping for the Audi, Mercedes-Benz, or other rivals like the newly revamped Acura ILX.

You'll Like This Car If...

Whether you're looking for an entry-level luxury-sports coupe or convertible, just want something affordable that looks good, or just want to save $10,000 over the price of a 4 Series coupe, the 2015 BMW 2 Series brings the goods.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Rear-seat room is tight and not easily accessible in this 2-door. If you want a more accessible rear seat, the Audi A3 and Acura ILX offer bigger rear seats. Additionally, it'd be nice if BMW offered the xDrive all-wheel drive system on the M235i convertible.

What's New for 2015

The 2015 BMW 2 Series adds two all-wheel-drive models this year, the 228i xDrive coupe and convertible, and the M235i xDrive coupe, putting it on more competitive footing against AWD rivals from Audi and Mercedes-Benz. The 228i model also offers a Track Handling Package for enhanced handling performance.

Driving the 2 Series
Driving Impressions

The BMW 2 Series is the only vehicle in its class that's designed as a rear-wheel-drive (RWD) car. Not coincidentally, they hold a handy lead in the fun-to-drive department. That...

... makes sense when you're talking about the 320-horsepower M235i, but it applies almost equally to the 240-horsepower 228i and its available 6-speed manual gearbox. When you're just driving around town, the combination of tidy dimensions and a tight turning circle makes the 2 Series coupes and convertibles easy to park and maneuver. On the highway, the 2 Series isn't as quiet as the Audi A3 and Mercedes-Benz CLA, but the 2 Series is more stable and comfortable on the road. It's fuel efficient, too. Although the 228i fitted with an automatic transmission earns an EPA-estimated 36 mpg on the highway, we exceeded that by nearly 4 mpg in real-world testing, putting it on par with the Mercedes-Benz CLA.

BMW Apps expands the functionality and versatility of the 2 Series by integrating things like Twitter and Facebook and streaming music services like Pandora and MOG into the optional navigation-system display. Couple that with iDrive's straightforward interface and you have a winner.

Do you like parallel parking? No, of course you don't. 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.

2015 BMW 2 Series Details

The 2015 BMW 2 Series looks like a BMW inside, with the same simple-yet-elegant dash layout we expect from the German manufacturer. The clear instrumentation emphasizes that this is a driver's car, and even things like the iDrive terminal's fixed remote, used to control multimedia and connected devices, is relatively easy to learn and use. We did find some cut-rate plastics though, and the sun visors don't extend to block the sun at certain angles. The Audi A3 and Acura ILX have more rear legroom, but the 2 Series offers considerably more rear legroom and headroom than the CLA 250.

2015 BMW 2 Series photo

We prefer the muscular proportions of the 2 Series over the older 1 Series it replaces. The dramatically swept headlights, BMW’s now-signature L-shaped taillights, and more tapered roofline define the aggressive bodywork. Befitting the "M" designation, the M235i dials up the visual muscularity to back up its additional performance potential. It boasts a deeper front apron, larger air intakes, contoured rocker panels, and a unique rear lower valance. Like most drop-tops, the convertibles look better top-down. Trunk space is pretty good, with coupes and convertibles offering 13.8 cubic feet of trunk space, marginally better than its Audi, Mercedes-Benz and Acura rivals.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The base model 2015 BMW 228i coupe and convertible come 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. The Mercedes-Benz CLA is equipped about the same, but if you want an A3, you'll pay extra for a USB port, dual-zone climate control and rain-sensing windshield wipers – all of which are standard on the 2 Series – but the A3 includes a moonroof, xenon headlights, a 12-way power driver’s seat and leather upholstery for about $2,000 less than the BMW.

Optional Equipment

New this year on the options list is all-wheel drive in the form of the xDrive models, as well as a Track Handling Package. The Handling package lowers the car by 10 mm, includes Adaptive M suspension, variable sport steering, M Sport brakes and high-performance tires. At $2,200 for 228i models without the M Sport or Sport Line packages, or $1,600 for models with either, it's a good deal. Other options include a highly recommended Driver Assistance package that bundles together a rearview camera with active guidelines and front and rear parking sensors.

Under the Hood

The 2015 BMW 228i gets a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine putting out 240 horsepower, and routing it to the rear or all four wheels through either a 6-speed manual or 8-speed automatic transmission. The M235i uses a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline 6-cylinder engine, boasting 320 horsepower, and also available with the same drivetrain options. 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 its 240 horsepower gives it the title of the most powerful base model in its class. In fact, its excellent performance will make you question whether the 80 extra horsepower you get in the M235i is worth the money.

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, RWD), 22/34 mpg (manual, RWD), 23/35 mpg (automatic, AWD), 23/34 mpg (convertible, RWD), 22/33 mpg (convertible, AWD)

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: 21/32 mpg (automatic, RWD), 19/28 mpg (manual, RWD), 20/30 mpg (automatic, AWD), 19/26 mpg (convertible, manual), 21/32 mpg (convertible, automatic)

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