Two days spent on some glorious Western Cape roads with the new BMW Series 2 coupé showed up a sort of ‘best of both worlds’ scenario with the raunchy M240i at the fun end of the scale and the petrol 220i at the ‘for-all-practical-purposes’ opposite end.
As well as gains in dynamic ability, the new BMW 2 Series Coupé also offers a premium cabin ambience and cutting-edge innovations in the areas of operation and connectivity – so much thbe benchmark ideal of modern generation car buyers.
As is the case with most new iterations of BMW generations is a growth in size and the new model is 105 millimetres longer and 64 millimetres wide than the previous version. It is also 28 millimetres lower and all of this, coupled with a 12% increase in torsional rigidity works to give all the new variants improved handling and road holding.
Fun fact: Should the engine start gasping for breath, the vertical flaps in the horizontally-designed kidney grille will open electrically to allow in more air.
Inside, sport seats and a Sport leather steering wheel is standard, while BMW-coloured door insert panels add a touch of levity.
The new BMW 2 Series Coupé comes as standard with Alcantara/Sensatec upholstery. The BMW M240i xDrive Coupé and cars in M Sport specification have Alcantara/Sensatec trim alongside other specific design features such as an M leather steering wheel and cushioned knee pads on the centre console.
Talking seats – my driving partner on the launch could not get fully comfortable in the M240i, yet with a bit of tweaking of the lumbar support, I found the seat to be perfectly fit for purpose. Of the three variants, the 220d offered the best seating for daily and long-haul use, slightly thicker padding being more enveloping and cosseting.
Standard specification includes acoustic glazing for the windscreen, three-zone automatic climate control, and ambient lighting, while a Harman Kardon surround sound system is one of the items on the options list.
The new BMW 2 Series Coupé’s boot offers a useful load capacity of 390 litres and the height of the loading edge has been reduced by 35 millimetres compared to the predecessor model.
However, under the skin BMW engineers have been hard at work. The two-joint spring strut front axle and five-link rear axle were designed to minimise weight and optimise rigidity.
The standard M Sport suspension brings firmer responses for the lift-related dampers and springs and includes variable sport steering.
The flagship BMW M240i xDrive Coupé variant also comes as standard with an M Sport braking system and an M Sport differential at the rear.
The new BMW 2 Series Coupé is fitted as standard in South Africa with 19-inch light alloy wheels. The new BMW M240i xDrive Coupé leaves the factory on 19-inch M light-alloy wheels fitted with mixed-size tyres.
The 3,0-litre straight six engine in the M240i has a maximum output of 285 kW and develops 35 kW more than the engine in its predecessor. Peak torque is 500 Nm and the new BMW M240i xDrive Coupé accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 4,3 seconds.
The BMW 220i Coupé is powered by a new four-cylinder petrol engine generating 135 kW and peak torque of 300 Nm to propel it from 0 to 100 km/h in 7,5 seconds.
Two-stage turbo-charging and 48V mild-hybrid technology give the four-cylinder diesel engine in the new BMW 220d Coupé give the 2,0-litre unit 140 kW and peak torque of 400 Nm. The new BMW 220d Coupé sprints from rest to 100 km/h in 7,0 seconds.
All the engines team up as standard with an eight-speed Steptronic Sport transmission. As well as paddles on the steering wheel, it also features Launch Control.
The eight-speed Steptronic Sport transmission is part of the M Sport package Pro. This option is available for cars with M Sport specification and adds 19-inch M light-alloy wheels, M Sport brakes, a front spoiler lip and an M rear spoiler.
Very simply, this is a car for people who really love cars, power and driving dynamism. It has adrenalin inducement by the bucketload, handles (as much as public roads would permit) with precision and is rarely unsettled even by rapid directional changes. In Sport+ mode it relaxes the ‘nanny’ systems enough to allow some sliding – there being a bit of ‘push’ going into corners from the front end, neatly countered by a dab extra on the loud pedal.
Even in Comfort mode it is, perhaps, the least comfortable of all three in slow sections on bumpy roads but that is the price you pay for a sports-tuned suspension.
More than enough power, torque and let’s have some fun attitude this, for me, is the pick of crop. Both massively practical in a daily use scenario, it is more than happy to elevate to much sportier levels. And, with the current price of fuel, it does have an edge.
There is not much to fault with the petrol derivative but, it just did not generate the same levels of enthusiasm as the other two variants and, at times, felt mildly underpowered
However, launch drives are mere samplers and a full road test experience may alter this opinion.
Prices start at:
BMW 220i Coupé – R771,900.00
BMW 220d Coupé – R819,278.00
BMW M240i xDrive – R1,062,420.00