By Joe Tralongo, Contributing Editor
KBB Expert Rating: 9.2
Offered in coupe or convertible, the 2016 BMW 2 Series is a complete line that includes three all-wheel-drive models. BMW’s Intelligent AWD is sophisticated enough to challenge Audi’s long-established quattro and Mercedes-Benz’s 4Matic. Light, tossable and vaguely reminiscent of an old 2002ti or 318i, this entry-level Bimmer delivers all the modern conveniences of the 4 Series cars in a smaller, more affordable package. More powerful than the Audi A3 or Acura ILX, the 2 Series is a true driver’s car, offering such options as the Track Handling Package that turns an already capable performer into a superstar in the curves. Those who insist on four doors will have to wait until the new 1 Series makes its debut, expected sometime in 2017.
If you’re looking for BMW performance and clout without paying 4 Series pricing, and you can live with a tiny back seat, the 2 Series coupe and convertible have you covered. With the extra $10K you save over the 4 Series, you can add some really nice options.
If you need the convenience of four doors and a roomy rear seat, you’ll be better off in an Audi A3, Acura ILX or Lexus IS. The 2 Series has a long option list, which can quickly drive the price well past what you’d pay for most competitors.
KBB Expert Ratings
For 2016, the BMW 2 Series coupe and convertible receive a number of updates. Sport Line content is now standard on 228i coupe and 228i xDrive coupe and convertible. All-wheel drive is added to the M235i convertible, while last year’s Premium package is made standard on M235i and M235i xDrive.
Because the 2016 BMW 2 Series is designed as a rear-drive car first, we think it holds a competitive edge over front-wheel-drive models like the Audi A3 and Acura ILX....
... Our feelings about the 2 Series apply equally across the line, from the 240-horsepower 228i with its 6-speed manual to the 320-horsepower M235i. The 2 Series’ tidy dimensions and tight turning radius make it an easy car to live with, especially in the city. Get the 2 Series out on the open road, and you’ll hear more noise in the cabin than with an A3 or CLA, but you’ll also discover a car that feels more stable at high speeds. Despite its potent output, our 228i with the automatic transmission is rated at an impressive 35-mpg highway. Our real-world testing exceeded that figure by nearly 4 mpg, a remarkable feat besting some economy cars with half the horsepower.
With BMW Apps, the 2 Series for 2016 can integrate “can’t-live-without-it” features such as Twitter and Facebook, as well as streaming-music services like MOG and Pandora. The newest iDrive interface is the best yet, straightforward and user-friendly.
Still dread having to parallel park? The 2016 BMW 2 Series’ optional Parking Assistant will do it for you. Just find an open spot and the system will automatically steer the 2 Series into it.
The 2016 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.
We prefer the muscular proportions of BMW’s 2016 2 Series over the older 1 Series it replaced last year. 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. Coupes and convertibles offer 13.8 cubic feet of trunk space, marginally better than the Audi, Mercedes-Benz and Acura rivals.
The base-model 2016 BMW 228i coupe and convertible come standard with 8-way manually adjustable front seats, sport 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 sedan, you'll pay extra for a USB port and dual-zone climate control – both 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 $1,800 less than the BMW.
All-wheel drive is available on all 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 $2,300 for the 228i coupe without the M Sport packages, or $1,700 for models with it, 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.
The 2016 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 (RWD, AWD) through either a 6-speed manual or 8-speed automatic transmission. The M235i uses a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6, 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 (228i)
240 horsepower @ 5,000-6,500 rpm
255 lb-ft of torque @ 1,450-4,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/35 mpg (automatic, RWD), 22/34 mpg (manual, RWD), 23/35 mpg (automatic, AWD), 23/34 mpg (convertible, RWD), 22/34 mpg (convertible, AWD)
3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6 (M235i)
320 horsepower @ 5,800-6,000 rpm
330 lb-ft of torque @ 1,400-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/31 mpg (automatic, RWD), 19/28 mpg (manual, RWD), 20/30 mpg (automatic, AWD), 19/26 mpg (convertible, manual), 20/31 mpg (convertible, automatic), 20/30 mpg (convertible, AWD)
The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the 2016 BMW 228i starts reasonably enough, at just over $33,800 including the $950 destination charge. The 2016 BMW M235i starts just over $45,000. AWD on either car costs an extra $2,000. Order all the options, and you'll wind up with a 228i and M235i that top out at about $50,000 and $55,000, respectively. Convertible models add $5,800 to the price of either 228i coupe, or about $4,600 for the M235i convertible. The Audi A3 and Mercedes-Benz CLA start lower, close to $32,000. The less refined Acura ILX starts even lower, around $29,000, but you lose performance and cachet in the bargain. Check out Kelley Blue Book’s Fair Purchase Price Tool before heading to the dealership. We expect the 2016 BMW 2 Series coupe to retain slightly above-average residual values, better than the Acura ILX, on par with the Audi A3 and Mercedes-Benz CLA.