The new BMW 2-Series gets a 369hp engine, rear-wheel drive, and a normal grille

It’s the least controversial-looking Bimmer in a while
by Ollie Kew | Jul 7, 2021
PHOTO: BMW
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Punchy-looking little fighter, isn’t it? And yet, BMW’s new 2-Series Coupe might well be BMW’s least controversial-looking car for a long while. It’s lumpy and bumpy from some angles. Downright squat and hunkered in others. But overall, it’s traditional BMW.

No beavertooth grilles. Just a short front overhang, some muscular shoulders, and a stern face. BMW’s clearly quite proud of it: this one’s painted aubergine purple.

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Mr. Eggplant here is the new M240i, which gets a 369hp wallop courtesy of a turbocharged 3.0-liter straight-six petrol engine. That’s right, BMW isn’t giving up on its big-sixes just yet.

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This is indeed the magnificent engine from the M440i, hooked up to the equally superb eight-speed automatic gearbox (there’s no manual 2-Series anymore, folks) and powering all four tires through BMW’s rear-axle biased xDrive all-wheel-drive system.

Choose launch control and you’ll go from 0-100kph in 4.3sec and all the way to a limited top speed 250kph. We’ve just checked and that makes this new M240i quicker than the old V8 M3.

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Oh, you’re a die-hard, rear-wheel drive fanatic? You’ll be making do with the 180hp 220i or 184hp 220d and their four cylinders, then. BMW reckons the diesel is good for over 25.5km/L. But we'd forgive you if you weren’t really listening, and instead were drooling over what this new 2er might be like once the M Division gets its oily hands on it. New M2 Competition, anyone?

See, the 2-Series isn’t just a 1-Series hatchback in a pretty dress this time. The 1 Series is now a sensible front-wheel-drive box thanks to lots of bits shared with Mini. That means the 2-Series sits on a completely different platform, and that’s allowed BMW to go to town with the chassis. This stiffer body is 105mm longer and 64mm wider than the old 2-Series, but sits 28mm closer to the road.

Front and rear tracks have swelled massively to help cornering. There’s more negative camber for better turn-in. Aluminum panels and lighter suspension bits help shed weight that the growth spurt would have otherwise added.

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The M240i scores upgraded brakes, a cleverer rear differential and adaptive multi-mode suspension. Everything you get on a big, grown-up BMW, now on the littlest quick coupe.

BMW even reckons it’s slashed lift by a massive 50% thanks to active aero devices. And if handling isn’t your bag, but shopping is, then good news for you too: the boot’s grown 20 liters and is easier to load.

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Inside, it seems BMW has sort of stopped bothering to design new interiors. Seriously, it’s ruddy identical to a 3 Series (or 4 Series, or 8 Series).

You get the 12.3-inch iDrive screen and a 10.2-inch cockpit display, a thick steering wheel with some paddle shifters, lots of proper buttons instead of useless touch-sensitive nonsense, and all the usual BMW tech that can self-drive the car in stop-start traffic, seek parking or yummy lunch on the sat-nav, annoy the heck out of you with voice control, and deploy your smartphone as the car’s key.

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Now, judging by the latest 3 and 4 Series, the New Two is going to be quite handy to drive. The M240i will probably make a decent noise too. Prices kick off at £35,000 (P1.74 million) for a 220i, and the M240i is just under £46,000 (P2.29 million).

But none of that matters today, does it? Today is about one question. Have we, Internet, got ourselves A Good Looking New BMW?

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NOTE: This article first appeared on TopGear.com. Minor edits have been made.

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PHOTO: BMW
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