The 2015 BMW 2-Series is a well-rounded luxury sports coupe with looks, handling, features, and speed that belie its entry-level positioning.
The BMW 2-Series replaced the 1-Series Coupe last year, and it brought improved styling, better handling, and upgraded materials, while keeping its fundamental place in the automaker's lineup. And now, for 2015, a convertible body style and all-wheel drive help diversify this model line of two-door cars.
The 2-Series slots right into the 1-Series’ former position in the BMW range, but there's some significant change that BMW fans especially are going to spot right away. The 2-Series exterior is smoother, sleeker, and better-proportioned in every respect; it's longer, wider, and more spacious than the 1-Series as well. Perhaps owing to its slight increase in size, the curves, vents, and angles come together in a more graceful, artful way with the 2-Series. The mix of a relatively long hood, arched roof, and stubby tail speak to classic sports-coupe proportions, while managing to echo the look of the new 4-Series coupe at the same time.
The cabin of the 2015 BMW 2-Series is clearly driver-centric, with instruments and controls oriented for easy access. Materials look as good as they feel, and BMW offers a range of upgrades and trim lines to customize the car to the buyer’s preferences.
Two engines are available in the 2-Series: a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder for the 228i, rated at 240 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque; and a 3.0-liter turbocharged in-line six-cylinder in the M235i that’s good for 322 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque. Rear-wheel drive is standard, and new for the 2015 model year, xDrive all-wheel drive is available. M235i models have the choice of a six-speed manual transmission or eight-speed automatic; 228i coupes also offer the choice, but 228i convertibles come with the automatic only.
Despite the powerful engines and sprightly acceleration, the 2-Series manages fair gas mileage in rear-drive form, with the 228i returning 23 mpg city, 36 mpg highway, and 28 mpg combined. In M235i form, mileage drops as low as 19/26/22 mpg.
Performance in the 2-Series is brisk. Even the base model accelerates to 60 mph in just 5.4 seconds, while the M235i does the deed in 4.8 seconds. All-wheel drive shaves a couple tenths from either figure. Also new for the 2015 model year is a Track Handling Package code-named ZTR. Available on both rear- and all-wheel-drive 228i models, the new package adds the Adaptive M Suspension system, variable sport steering, M Sport Brakes, Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires, 18-inch wheels, and revised springs that reduce ride height by 10 mm. The new Track Handling Package costs $1,600 when chosen with the M Sport or Sport Line options, or $2,200 without.
Whichever version of 2-Series you may prefer, you’ll find the cabin surprisingly spacious for a sports coupe, with ample front seat space in every dimension and a wide range of adjustability for seating and steering wheel position. The rear seat is markedly roomier than the 1-Series, but still not quite comfortable for the full range of adult body sizes. An “Easy Entry” function improves accessibility to the rear seat, however--critical inside the Convertible, which is narrower in the back seat due to top packaging and hardware for its pop-up roll protection.
The convertible top, by the way, raises or lowers in 20 seconds, and can be operated at speeds of up to 30 mph.
Cargo space is fair, if not impressive, with 13.8 cubic feet available in the trunk. The rear seats are split-folding, offering room for larger cargo when necessary (though access is narrower on convertibles due to body-structure additions). Up front you’ll find two cupholders, a glove box, and large door pockets for small-item storage.
The 2015 BMW 2-Series hasn’t yet been rated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), but the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) calls it a Top Safety Pick. And while the 2-Series doesn’t offer much advanced active-safety wizardry, or the cutting-edge technology of the brand’s full-size sedans, it does have a fair array of available high-tech equipment, including navigation with iDrive, a touch-sensitive console controller, driver assistance and connected telematics services, several advanced safety features, and a central display up to 8.8 inches wide. On the entertainment front, a Harmon Kardon HiFi audio system is available, as is Bluetooth audio streaming, app compatibility, and more.
Pricing for the 2015 BMW 2-Series starts at $33,050 for the 228i, rising $1,800 to $33,850 for the all-wheel-drive 228i xDrive. The M235i starts at $44,050, while the M235i xDrive begins at $45,850. Convertibles are priced from $38,850 for the 228i, $40,650 for the 228i xDrive, and $48,650 for the M235i.