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2018 BMW 2 Series Overview
For 2018, the BMW 2 Series gets a sizable bump in base price but not much else. Even so, that doesn’t take much of the appeal away from this sporty luxury compact 2-door, which is available in both coupe and convertible form. Even the base models are quick and well equipped, and driving enthusiasts will be relieved that the 2 Series is one of the relatively few remaining BMWs still available with a manual transmission. Trims include the base 230i and the performance-oriented M240i, which was introduced last year to replace the M235i, while true speed freaks will want to check out the separate, more dedicated M2 model.
The base powertrain for the 230i is a turbo 2.0-liter direct-injected 4-cylinder engine rated at 248 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. The run from 0-to-60 takes just over 5 seconds, which is certainly impressive. BMW’s xDrive all-wheel-drive (AWD) system is available on the 230i, although it comes standard with the classic rear-wheel-drive (RWD) configuration. Buyers looking for a bit more pep will be drawn to the M240i, which is a great value with a starting price of a little under 37 grand. Its turbocharged 3.0-liter inline 6-cylinder engine makes a whopping 335 hp and 369 lb-ft and drops about a second off the 230i’s 0-to-60 time. While not a proper M car, it’s a seriously quick and competent performer. Both the 230i and M240i can be had with either an 8-speed automatic transmission or a 6-speed manual. While the automatic is technically a bit slower and gets slightly worse fuel economy, BMW should be commended for sticking to its “Ultimate Driving Machine” claims by offering owners the chance to row their own gears. When equipped with the automatic, the 230i is reasonably impressive in terms of fuel economy with 24 mpg city, 35 highway, and 38 combined, while opting for a manual drops this significantly to 21, 32, and 25. Steering is by electric power assist.
BMW adds $1,650 to the base price of the 2 Series this year, and an updated interior design, new exterior colors and wheel trims, and standard LED headlights seem to be the only serious changes. Interior room is adequate, although the back seats won’t be very comfortable for adults. The 2 Series coupe comes with a decent 13.8 cubic feet of cargo room, while the convertible offers 11.8 cubic feet. Space in the convertible gets even tighter with the top down, which takes up another 1.9 cubic feet of trunk space. The power convertible top takes a good 30 seconds to go up or down but will do so at speeds up to 30 mph, so any surprise rain can be addressed without coming to a full stop.
All 2018 2 Series models come standard with leatherette seat upholstery, HD Radio, automatic climate control, and a 6.5-inch display screen with the latest iDrive 6.0 infotainment system. Flashier exterior paint colors and premium interior trims are also available, but the price can quickly get out of hand if you check enough boxes. Adding xDrive AWD raises the MSRP by $2,000, while opting for a convertible body style for the 230i adds $5,800.
It may be a small, zippy, and fun car, but BMW takes vehicle safety pretty seriously—and that commitment extends all the way down to the 2 Series. The 2017 model received the highly coveted Top Safety Pick+ status from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), and it’s available with forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, parking assist, and a reversing camera.
The latest 2 Series is more expensive, but it’s still a solid value in the world of compact luxury 2-doors. It appeals to a wide range of buyers—from Florida or California drivers who want a comfortable RWD convertible to northern buyers who need AWD to handle snowy winters.
Andrew Newton first got into cars through vintage racing a Formula Vee. After receiving history degrees, he followed his passion for cars and became a contributor for sites like Sports Car Digest, BoldRide.com and JamesEdition.com in addition to serving as Education Manager at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline, MA. Andrew currently covers the collector car market full time as Auction Editor for Hagerty Classic Car Insurance.
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