The wraps have now come off of the all-new 2014 BMW 2 Series Coupe, and as expected, this de facto replacement for the current 1-Series 2-door adds a bit more scale, a bit more style and boasts even better overall performance. Set for its formal public debut at the Detroit Auto Show in January, it will arrive in U.S. showrooms during the first quarter of next year in base 228i form as well as in M235i guise - the first official "M Performance Automobile" BMW has ever offered in America. Look for a 2 Series Convertible to follow not long after. 

While remaining a sub-compact, the 2014 2 Series Coupe does stretch virtually every one of its critical dimensions, adding 2.8-inches in length, 1.3 inches of wheelbase and 1.6/1.7-inches of front/rear track which combine to endow it with more dramatic proportions and improve its overall passenger and cargo space. The edgier, wedgier appearance of this performance-focused 4-seater still says BMW from its classic dual-kidney grille to its signature L-shaped taillamps, but there's a keener character to the mix now which is further defined by the unique cosmetic accents in the base, Sport Line and new M Sport trims. The enthusiast-oriented M235i Coupe raises that visual profile even further with its deeper front apron, larger air intakes, contoured side skirts and bespoke rear apron treatment. Like all new BMW models, every version of the 2 Series Coupe features the automaker's flow-optimizing front Air Curtains.

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Motivating the new 2 Series is a pair of potent but efficient TwinPower Turbo engines. The 228i packs BMW's 2.0-liter/4-cylinder that cranks out 240 horsepower while the M235i is fitted with an M Performance-spec 3.0-liter/inline-6 that makes 322 horses. Both are fitted with BMW's Auto Start/Stop and Brake Energy Regeneration systems and either can be backed by the standard paddle-shiftable 8-speed sport automatic or a 6-speed manual transmission as a no-cost option. Where the 228i completes its 0-60 mph sprint in a very respectable 5.4 seconds, the M235i nails that benchmark pace in 5.0 ticks - or 4.8 with the autoshifter's Launch Control engaged.

The extremely strong, rigid basic structure and the suspension design of the new 2 Series represents a scaled-up variation on what's found in the current 1 Series 3-door and 5-door models. Chassis tuning is specific to each 2 Series model, and bolstered by BMW's comprehensive suite of handling assists that include Dynamic Stability Control, Dynamic Traction Control, Cornering Brake Control and Dynamic Brake Control. The base underpinnings in the 228i can be upgraded to the Adaptive M Suspension with its electronically controlled shocks or a stiffer steel M Sport Suspension, both of which drop ride height by nearly half an inch. The M235i elevates things to a new dimension, starting with its custom-tuned version of the Adaptive M suspension. The hotter half of the 2 Series also features variable sport steering, an M Sport braking system and an electronically locking rear differential in U.S. trim while offering an M Performance mechanical limited-slip differential as a dealer-installed factory accessory. 

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Slip inside the now-easier-to-access cabin of this new 2 Series and you'll find a well-measured mix of familiar and fresh design, all rendered with a clear BMW sense of style that gains the expected performance spin in the M235i trappings. The additional people space - most evident in front headroom and rear legroom - is matched with a long list of standard features and upline options including an enhanced version of BMW's ConnectedDrive Services that brings mobile hot spot functionality. 

Both the 228i and M235i will come with dual-zone climate control, iDrive multimedia controller, Bluetooth and BMW's Driving Experience Control while items like navigation - with an 8.8-inch display and Touch Controller plus a harman kardon premium audio system can be added to either model. A full line of sophisticated driver assists, including Lane Departure Warning, Collision Warning, Parking Assistant and Park Distance Control also richen the ownership experience while the M235i also will offer more competitive buyers a trick Laptimer.  

Pricing for the 2014 BMW 228i will start at $33,025 while the new BMW M325i will open at $44,025.

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