There was a time when BMW fans could count the maker’s model line-up on one hand. These days, you’d need both hands – and feet – to keep track, especially with the Bavarian maker adding two more distinct model lines in a matter of months.
Just months after previewing the new 4-Series Coupe and Convertible line, BMW is back with yet another new offering, the smaller 2-Series. Set to reach showrooms next year, the nomenclature for the new line follows the maker’s latest strategy which reserves odd numbers for sedans and even designations for its two-door offerings.
While many will likely refer to the new 2-Series as a replacement for the old BMW 1-Series Coupe, this is more than a cosmetic update. In fact, the new model will be a full 2.8 inches longer and 1.8 inches wider than the outgoing coupe, with another 1.3 inches added to the wheelbase. That’s good news for passengers who will benefit most from the added space.
There will be two different versions of the 2-Series for the U.S. market, the BMW 228i and the performance-oriented M235i.
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The more mainstream model will be driven by a 240-horsepower, turbocharged inline-four paired with an eight-speed automatic gearbox – the first subcompact offering from BMW to get that beefy version of the TwinPower engine. It will launch from 0 to 60 in just 5.4 seconds, BMW claims, while yielding 23 mpg in the U.S. City cycle, 35 on the Highway and 27 in the EPA’s Combined test. An option 6-speed manual delivers 1 mpg less in all three categories.
The performance version will feature a 322-hp inline-six that can cut the launch time to just 4.8 seconds. It will deliver 19 mpg City, 28 Highway and 22 Combined with the 6-speed stick. Fuel efficiency jumps to 22/32/25 with the 8-speed automatic.
A keen eye reveals that the M235i badge isn’t your typical M designation. It is, in fact, an M Performance model which, in the latest BMW hierarchy, is halfway between a conventional version and the top-line M Series. Whether a true M model might follow remains to be seen.
Along with the bigger engine, the M235i will feature a sportier chassis tuning, including standard M Adaptive suspension, the M Sport Braking system, variable sport steering and Michelin Pilot Super Sports tires. “Even the exhaust has been specifically tuned for the M235i,” BMW notes.
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In keeping with other new models, BMW has taken several steps to improve fuel efficiency, including such details as the Air Curtain system which carefully channels air flow around the nose of the vehicle to reduce aero drag, as well as the maker’s Auto Stop/Start system which shuts the engine off briefly instead of idling. It remains to be seen if the new 2-Series Stop/Start has been revised from the current 3-Series package – which has been roundly faulted for its rough nature.
The German maker suggests that the new 2-Series is the spiritual successor to the legendary BMW 2002 line that helped make it a true global luxury contender. But when it comes to creature comfort , safety and performance features, the new line-up is anything but retro. Among the many driver assistance and infotainment systems that will be offered, BMW points to its Parking Assistant, rearview camera, auto-braking cruise control system, High Beam Assistant and Advanced Real Time Traffic Information alert.
Look for a formal introduction at the Detroit Auto Show next January but BMW is giving potential buyers some extra time to start saving up for the new coupe models, revealing that the 228i will start at $33,025, while the M235i will begin at $44,025. Both of those figures include $925 in destination charges.
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Tags: BMW 2-Series, BMW 228i, BMW m235i, German luxury cars, auto news, bmw 4-series, bmw news, car news, compact luxury cars, german subcompacts, paul a. eisenstein, paul eisenstein, subcompact luxury cars, subcompact luxury coupes, thedetroitbureau