Once in a while, I’m exceptionally appreciative of getting a vehicle in for review that brings back the feeling of more analog sports cars of the past with this week’s tester being a newly redesigned 2 Series Coupe in the 230i base trim but packing some tasteful looks and M Sport goodies.
Many would argue that some BMW vehicles have lost their way whether it be the controversial styling of the elongated front grille belonging to the new 4 Series, M3, and M4, or claiming to have diluted the brand with front-wheel drive-based additions from the X1 and X2 small crossovers to the 2 Series Gran Coupe. Having driven many new BMWs I would never go as far as to say BMW has lost their way and having the redesigned 2022 BMW 230i Coupe further brings home the idea that BMW is still in the game of providing driver-focused luxury sports machines that can still be affordable and fun. The proportions, updated styling, and a welcomed modernized touch to the updated kidney grille with its active shutters make the new 2 Series Coupe look good and fresh with a front-end look that won’t cause any arguments – we hope you’re listening, BMW!
The new 2022 BMW 2 Series Coupe is redesigned for the model year where they will start with just two defined trim levels, the 230i Coupe and the M240i xDrive Coupe. The major differences in the two trims are the powertrains and the M240i xDrive being all-wheel-drive over the standard 230i’s rear-wheel-drive setup. Having the 230i to dive into for the week has been an enjoyable experience, one that somewhat reminds me of my E46 2002 BMW M3. The size of vehicles overall has grown and BMW hasn’t been shy about the size increases, which is what makes the 2 Series Coupe so enjoyable to get back to that smaller form that I remember in my E46 M3. Also, it is wise to note and respect that the 2 Series Coupes are completely different from the 2 Series Gran Coupe models as the 2 Series Coupe is a rear-wheel-drive platform, which we give a thankful nod to BMW for keeping the 2 RWD – the way God and enthusiasts intended.
Performance and Driving Character
Powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline 4-cylinder engine, the new BMW 230i gets 255 horsepower from 5,000 to 6,500 rpm and 294 lb-ft of torque from as low as 1,550 rpm peaking all the way up to 4,400 rpm to play with. That power feels substantial and sending it through one of the best automatic transmissions around, a ZF-sourced 8-speed automatic, the 230i feels just right. There’s a delicate nimbleness of the 230i in the way it transitions when you hit curvy back roads or just the way it somewhat firmly covers ground on the highway and local roads. There’s a welcomed connection between the 230i and you as the driver even though the super sharp and quick-ratio electric-assisted steering rack doesn’t necessarily communicate much. The suspension is a bit on the firm side but the body motions stay mostly composed and isn’t overly abusive going over road imperfections considering the low profile 19-inch tires. Acceleration is strong and consistent where you can hit 60 mph in just 5.4 seconds when you enable the Sport Plus drive mode, a reduced traction control mode, and enact launch control.
The BMW 230i is quite the fun compact machine with a little engine that could. Mostly everything about the powertrain is properly tuned – even though a manual transmission option would have been nice – but we can’t have everything in life all the time. Having less weight to move around (3,519 pounds) versus the more powerful M240i xDrive (3,871 pounds) with its all-wheel-drive system and healthy 382 horsepower, I don’t think I’m missing out on all that much more fun with more power in the M240i considering there are a few M Sport bits to enhance the experience on my nearly loaded-up test vehicle, which include an M Sport Suspension system, the variable sport steering, larger 19-inch staggered wheels wrapped in Pirelli P-Zero summer performance tires, larger M Sport brakes, and an M Sport Differential.
Being powered by a turbocharged 4-cylinder you expect decent fuel economy, which the 230i gets at the tune of 26 mpg city, 35 mpg highway, and 29 mpg combined. Those figures are easily attainable in the real world as I experienced in my week-long drive.
Interior and Tech
Surprisingly, with the new 2 Series Coupe being among the smallest BMWs in the lineup, there’s still a decent amount of space up front. Again, the interior proportions are welcomed and a quick reminder of my E46 BMW M3.
The front heated seats are adorned in the upgraded Oyster-colored leather upholstery with contrast stitching. The dashboard highlights the two screens with the gauge cluster being the expected 10.25-inch setup with some customization and the 10.25-inch touchscreen all as part of the optional Premium 2 option package. Otherwise, the 230i gets an 8.8-inch infotainment touchscreen as standard. Running the latest iDrive 7 setup you get the welcomed responsive interface from many of my previous BMW reviews, which integrates wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Again, the seating room up front is good and there’s a bit of usable space for two passengers in the back seats provided that whoever sits back there isn’t on the large or tall side. You’ll not want to sit back there for too long, though. But while you’re back there, the rear seat area gets its own single automatic climate zone and vents. The cargo room in the trunk is a usable but limited 10 cubic feet, which increase through folding of the rear seatbacks.
There are the expected active safety features included on the BMW 230i of lane departure warning, blind-spot monitor, forward collision warning with emergency braking, and front and rear parking sensors. There’s the option of adaptive cruise control with a 3D view/360-degree surround-view camera system as part of the optional Parking Assistance Package, which was not included on my test vehicle.
The new BMW 230i Coupe starts at a reasonable $36,350 before any fees or options. Loading one up like my test vehicle to include the highlights of the M Sport option, the stunning Brooklyn Grey metallic paint color, 19-inch wheel option, upgraded Vernasca leather, Premium 2 package, Shawdowline Package, 14-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, and Dynamic Handling package, you’re looking at the as-tested price of $47,250 including a $995 destination charge.
Now, with such an excellent new design and performance attitude, we can only hope BMW brings us a redesigned M2 before electrification takes over. We shall see, because I like what BMW has done in the new 2022 230i Coupe. More of this please, BMW.