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2017 BMW 2 Series: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader November 2016

The 2017 BMW 2 Series is among the German automaker's most engaging cars. It's compact, agile, balanced and quick -- whether powered by an eager turbocharged 4-cylinder engine or a sweet inline 6-cylinder -- but still comfortable and upscale. Keep an eye on the options, though, as they can easily push up the bottom line into the territory of a 4 Series or a pristine used M3.

What's New for 2017?

Updated engines with minor power hikes turn the previous 228i into the 230i and the former 235i into the 240i. The once-optional Sport Line package (18-inch alloy wheels, sporty styling touches and excellent manual-adjusting sport front seats) has become standard, and what was the Technology options package is now called Navigation. Other options for 2017 include wireless smartphone charging and a Wi-Fi hot spot.

What We Like

Forceful acceleration; modest fuel consumption; capable handling; refined ride; premium interior; optional all-wheel drive; top safety scores

What We Don't

Costly options; cramped back seat

How Much?

$34,145-$50,045

Fuel Economy

BMW equips all 2 Series models with standard rear-wheel drive and an 8-speed automatic transmission. An 6-speed manual transmission is a no-cost option with this drive setup. All-wheel drive (offered only with the automatic) is an option on all models.

The 230i coupe has a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline 4-cylinder engine making 248 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. When paired with the automatic transmission, fuel economy is estimated at 24 miles per gallon in the city and 33 mpg on the highway with either 2- or 4-wheel drive. The manual transmission results in 21 mpg city/32 mpg hwy.

Naturally, it's the same engine in the automatic-only 230i convertible, but fuel consumption differs slightly: 23 mpg city/34 mpg hwy with rear-wheel drive and 22 mpg city/33 mpg hwy with all-wheel drive.

The M240i enjoys a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline 6-cylinder engine rated at 335 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. With rear-wheel drive and the automatic transmission, both the coupe and the convertible return a still-respectable 21 mpg city/32 mpg hwy. The manual transmission modifies those figures to 19 mpg city/28 mpg hwy for the coupe and 19 mpg city/29 mpg hwy for the convertible.

Both M240i body styles with all-wheel drive (xDrive, in BMW-speak) return 21 mpg city/31 mpg hwy.

Standard Features & Options

The 2017 BMW 2 Series is offered as a coupe or a soft-top convertible in either 230i or M240i trim. The xDrive all-wheel-drive system is a $2,000 option on all models.

The 230i coupe ($34,145) comes standard with the turbo 4-cylinder engine, 17-in alloy wheels, fog lights, push-button ignition, manually adjustable front seats, leatherette upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, 60/40-split folding rear seats, Bluetooth, iPod/USB connectivity and the iDrive infotainment system with a 6.5-in screen.

The 230i convertible ($39,945) has a power retractable soft-top in black, brown or Anthracite with silver accents.

The M240i coupe ($45,445) adds more features, including the turbo 6-cylinder engine, 18-in M-designed wheels, an adaptive M Sport suspension, a sport exhaust, upgraded brakes, variable-ratio steering, adaptive xenon headlights, a sunroof, a rear spoiler, 10-way power front sport seats with driver memory, a sport instrument cluster and dynamic cruise control.

The M240i convertible ($50,045) shares the 230i convertible's soft top.

The 230i offers a wider range of options than its high-performance sibling. The M Sport package makes the 230i more sporty, with a lowered suspension, 18-in M-specific wheels, an aerodynamic kit and an M steering wheel. The Track Handling package brings an adaptive suspension, variable-ratio steering and upgraded brakes.

All models offer packages that provide the latest in luxury and gadgetry, along with a standalone 12-speaker Harmon Kardon audio system. Various other options are available, such as navigation, heated front seats, parking sensors, self-parking, rearview camera and a limited-slip differential for the M240i.

Trunk space is a 2 Series strength, measuring 13.8 cu ft. in the coupe -- generous for a compact car. The convertible offers about 9 cu ft., which BMW says is enough to accommodate a pair of golf bags.

Safety

The 2 Series comes standard with stability control and 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes. The coupe gets eight airbags (front, front-side, front-knee and full-length side-curtain), while the convertible comes with six (all except the side-curtain airbags).

Optional safety features include BMW Assist, which adds automatic crash notification and roadside assistance, lane-departure warning and forward-collision mitigation with automatic emergency braking.

In independent crash-testing, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 2 Series its top score of Good in every category.

Behind the Wheel

The 2 Series feels taut from the driver's seat, which is a welcome departure from BMW's current quest for luxury. It's tight in the back seat, which is generally a kids-only arrangement.

Despite high-class cabin materials, the 2 Series leaves no doubt that it's here to entertain. The ride is supple and refined, but the main focus is clearly on razor-sharp responses -- which makes it special, especially in light of its comparatively reasonable pricing.

The entry level 4-cylinder engine feels like it's punching above its declared output numbers, per BMW's norm. As awesome as the M240i's engine feels (and sounds) at full throttle, it carries a premium of $11,000 in coupe form, and that may not be worth the few tenths of a second shaved from acceleration runs.

The manual's shift action is superb, but the ultra-smooth automatic gets better fuel economy, which is something to keep in mind.

Other Cars to Consider

2017 Audi TT -- It starts out with a higher price than the 230i coupe and even less room for rear passengers, but it's compact, sporty and German.

2017 Chevrolet Camaro -- This is the closest any mainstream American sports machine has come to a European-style driving experience, especially with the relatively new 2.0 turbo engine.

2017 MINI Cooper -- This one isn't endowed with rear-wheel drive or generous amounts of power, but it still has a combination of compact dimensions and a high fun factor.

Used BMW M3/M4 -- A used M3 or M4 offers a choice of sedan, coupe or convertible body styles and a ton of driving pleasure.

Autotrader's Advice

There's also an M2 coupe (reviewed separately), which might be the dream choice, but the M240i gets pretty close. Whether you go for the hardtop or the soft-top version is down to your preferences, as is engine preference. Just don't go crazy with the options.

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2017 BMW 2 Series: New Car Review - Autotrader