The 2 series is the baby coupe model in the BMW range. In many ways it reminds me of where BMW started in the modern era with the E30 3 series. Small, compact sedans and coupes with a healthy dollop of sporty DNA.
The current 2 series is different in retaining rear wheel drive to satisfy driving purists, a feature that is becoming increasingly rare in smaller cars today.
Our test car was powered by the very familiar 2l turbodiesel motor that we experienced only a few weeks ago in the X3. 140kW and 400Nm are exceptional figures and in the smaller, lighter and more aerodynamic coupe body, it feels like a proper sports car. As expected the 8 speed automatic transmission offers drive modes and paddles on the steering column if the mood takes you.
A 2 door coupe is always going to be an impractical vehicle so it's very important to assess and know your needs and requirements. When rear headroom and legroom are limited for me, you have to know that this is a car that is compromised in this respect. In spite of separate air-con controls and 2 USB ports in the rear, treat this as a 2 seater with occasional +2 space for smaller occupants. Non -opening rear windows emphasize this fact.
Boot space is excellent again if space is needed for 2. The absence of a spare wheel helps in this respect although I will refrain from commenting about my feelings regarding run flat tires.
From the drivers seat, where you really want to be, this is a true sports coupe. The standard BMW fare of luxury, infotainment and information are all there literally at your fingertips. There is almost a Jeykell and Hyde nature to this car and engine combination. I did an economy run and achieved 4.9l/100km cruising at speed limits. Then, LeadFoot took over and explored the performance and handling potential, both of which are impressive. The car returned to me showing overall consumption from our combined usage at 8.3l/100km. The final segment of the test I drove as if just using the car normally and the final figure for the week was 7.7l/100km.
This is truly a case of a car that can be driven however you want, but there will be a price to pay for having fun. Taking the twisties through to Hartbeespoort showed an unexpected level of smoothness and comfort with that sporty feel as a bonus.
As with all cars from BMW and many other manufacturers, its crucial to be very careful when ticking boxes to spec your individual car. Once again, I felt short-changed by the lack of electric adjustment for the drivers seat at least. A second item on the test car that I would most definitely omit is the M logo adorning the inner door panels, they even light up at night. Many may like this, I found it garish but it's a matter of personal opinion.
An interesting fact of the local 2 series range is that the only engine options are the 2l in diesel or petrol and then the 240i model powered by the 3l 6 cylinder motor giving 285kW plus XDrive all wheel drive. I'd love to suggest the a 230i model using the 2l petrol motor boosted to provide 190kW would be a sweet spot. How about is BMW SA?
The 220d is currently priced at R820 000 in standard spec, this includes a 5 year/ 100 000km maintenance plan
Alan Rosenmeyer: MotorMatters: www.motormatters.co.za