The previous-generation BMW 1 Series Coupé was a successful range with 150 000 units sold globally. In keeping with the Bavarian brand’s new nomenclature practice, the new version of this model has gained a new ‘2’ badge at the rear,something last seen in 1968 when the BMW 2002 was released. Enthusiasts will remember the 125kW 2002 turbo, which is still a cult car today.
The 2 Series is an important vehicle for BMW, as it takes the fight to the likes of the Audi A3 sedan and Mercedes-Benz CLA, although the 2 Series is a two-door-only model.
In terms of dimensions, the 2 Series is 110mm longer than its hatch sibling and a 30mm wider wheelbase and a 32mm wider body than its predecessor. This means that it is more capacious inside and offers a 390-litre boot (up by 20 litres).
There will be a choice of three engines initially. The range starts with the 220i Coupé and is powered by a 135kW/270Nm version of BMW’s 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine. It takes just seven seconds to sprint to 100km/h and uses a claimed 6.0 litres/100km in automatic guise. The 220d produces the same power as its petrol counterpart albeit with 380Nm of torque. The oil-burner’s consumption goes as low as 4.2 litres/100km with emissions of less than 120g/km.
Having driven these vehicles for an extended period, I can report that there is noticeably more shove in the 2 Series thanks to the power increases. Overall, both models are supremely refined, sporty and economical. I just wish there was a more practical four-door version (perhaps a Gran Coupé later?). The 180kW 228i Coupé will also join the range from September.
We also had a chance to get behind the wheel of the new BMW 4 Series cabriolet, which replaces the segment-leading 3 Series convertible. There are three key aspects that make a good four-seater cabriolet in my mind.The first is whether the back seats are actually usable and in the case of the 4 Series, they are, but not for extended periods as it isn’t very spacious back there.
The second thing is whether the wind blows you away with the top down.While still quite turbulent it is still not a problem driving with the roof down. To aid in efficiency and aerodynamics BMW has added what it calls Air Breathers. These are positioned rearward of the front wheel arches along with Air Curtains to reduce turbulence and aerodynamic drag at the front wheels.
The third thing is whether removing the roof has changed the dynamic characteristics and rigidity of the car in such a way as to detract from driver enjoyment. Now this cabriolet is over 200kg heavier than the coupé on which it is based, thanks in no small part to the metal roof that can fold in 20 seconds at speeds of up to 18km/h. Despite this, I am happy to say that the cabriolet is still a playful, dynamic car. It may not be as sharp, butwith the top down, you forget that a little bit of dynamism has been sacrificed for infinite headroom.