BMW’s 2 Series generated plenty of buzz when it debuted in 2014. For many fans of the Bavarian brand, it was the long-awaited successor to the legendary BMW 2002tii, the sporty sedan that helped put the automaker on the map.
Now, a second-generation model is making its debut, and the 2022 version of the coupe may be the purest product in the BMW line-up, at least when it comes to styling and road dynamics.
The 2022 BMW 2 Series grows both larger and more powerful. And, while the styling has generated a bit of controversy, that’s nowhere near as heated as the debate about other recent models, like the 4 Series, with its angry rabbit grille.
BMW has taken an unusual approach with the 2022 makeover. The four-door 2 Series Gran Coupe retains a natively front-wheel-drive platform. The two-door coupe, however, migrates to a more classic BMW rear-drive architecture. And the benefits became clear as I spent my time behind the wheel whipping a 2022 BMW M240i xDrive through twisty Boxwood Canyon, outside Palm Springs, California.
Add some updates under the hood, along with a mix of new tech features and the new 2 Series has become a worthy successor, not only to the gen-1 model but also to the classic 2002 line.
When BMW confirmed it was redesigning the 2022 2 Series there was much gnashing of teeth. The automaker has gone off on some tangents with other recent models, such as the all-electric iX, and even the new 4 Series has sparked plenty of debate. Much of that is focused on the tall, slender take on the iconic BMW double-kidney grille.
The good news, at least for traditionalists, is that the new coupe retains a more traditional grille. But that’s not to say the overall look hasn’t been updated. There’s actually a hint of the classic 2002 in the look. Meanwhile, the side air inlets use active shutters that can open or close in 10 stages, letting in only the air needed at the moment in order to reduce wind drag.
Aero plays a key role in all automotive design today and its influence is easy to spot everywhere on the new 2 Series, including the shape of the new taillights which help air flow off the chunkier back end while reducing drag.
A first impression suggests the design team was also inspired by the Z4 roadster, with which it shares a similar stance in profile. The hood is long and powerful looking, the rear deck short and aggressive, with a muscular stance seemingly poised for launch. Meanwhile, the greenhouse retains the familiar “Hofmeister Kink” that has been another BMW trademark for decades.
Overall, the 2022 2 Series coupe has grown by 4.3 inches, with its wheelbase stretched by two. And its width has grown 2.6 inches. All that clearly pays off when you slip inside.
One of the biggest complaints about the original 2 Series was its cramped interior. The extended dimensions of the 2022 model provide some welcome relief, especially for those who previously suffered in the back seat. There’s more head and shoulder room — though models equipped with the optional sunroof loose a full 3 cubic feet of interior space.
Anyone familiar with the latest BMW line-up will immediately recognize the interior layout of the 2022 2 Series. It retains the classic, cockpit layout, with a standard 8.8-inch infotainment screen angled towards the driver. There are the usual analog gauges on base versions of the coupe. The M240i I spent time in featured the upgraded, 12.3-inch digital display and the bigger, 10.25-inch infotainment display. The digital gauges are reconfigurable and change imagery depending on the driving mode you choose.
The overall look of the cabin is more refined than with the outgoing model. It now features sports seats on all versions, along with a leather steering wheel. The sunroof is optional on the 230i, but standard on the M240i.
The 2022 BMW 2 Series features an e-Shifter, rather than a mechanical linkage. And it sits alongside the now familiar iDrive controller.
At launch, buyers will have two options. The “base” BMW 230i is motivated by a 2.0-liter inline-4 paired with an 8-speed automatic. It pumps out 255 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque to the rear wheels. An all-wheel drive “xDrive” model is slated to follow.
The upgraded M240i takes things to a new level thanks to its turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six. Power increases notably from the outgoing line, horsepower rising 17, to 382. Torque climbs 26, to 369 lb-ft. BMW claims that will get you to 60 in just 4.1 seconds. The M240i shares the 8-speed gearbox but pushes power out to all four wheels, with an electronic limited-slip differential helping ensure grip.
Safety and Technology
All versions of the 2022 BMW 2 Series feature the automaker’s familiar infotainment system and iDrive controller. But unlike so many competitors, the automaker has retained classic controls for climate control.
Much of the focus is on driving dynamics. The 230i features a strut-style front suspension and five-link rear. The M240i upgrades to an adaptive suspension, along with the electronically controlled limited-slip differential. It’s optional on the 230i.
A new “lift-related shock absorber” system is designed to enhance vehicle stability, especially “when driving over large bumps,” according to BMW. It can also keep the vehicle level, even when carrying a heavy cargo load.
The 2 Series also offers a range of advanced driver assistance technologies, such as forward collision warning with auto-braking, lane-departure warning, active blind spot detection and rear cross-traffic alert — though some features are optional, especially on the 230i.
I spent my time behind the wheel of the 2022 M240i xDrive, loaded with pretty much every possible option. I quickly came to appreciate the e-LSD and adaptive suspension as I rocketed through the tight turns of Boxwood Canyon.
The original 2 Series may have inspired dreams of the old 2002 line, but its native front-drive platform just didn’t quite deliver during aggressive handling exercises. The new, rear-drive layout is another matter entirely. The M240i was a pleasure to drive, with crisp steering and minimal body roll, even in the harshest turns. The rear tires did break loose, briefly, when I seriously overcooked a corner, but the coupe was easy to bring back in line and regain composure.
During my time on the highway, the 2022 model was clearly more refined than the outgoing version, quiet and with a more calm and luxurious ride.
We’ve seen a lot of changes at BMW in recent years. The brand seems to inspire controversy, whether over the oft-maligned iDrive or its latest grille design. On the whole, the Bavarian brand still produces some of the best driving machines you can find, though it has been facing more competition from established brands like Audi and Mercedes-Benz, as well as upstarts like Genesis.
The 2022 BMW 2 Series clearly pulls things back to what made the brand a classic in the first place. It boasts an attractive design, a reasonably well-equipped cabin, plenty of power and the performance-oriented handling that BMW fans crave. While demand for sedans and coupes has faded in this era of SUVs, there’s good reason to still consider the 2022 2 Series.
Just rolling into showrooms now, the 2022 BMW M230i starts at $37,345. The M240i xDrive coupes begins at $49,545. My tester came in at $57,295 before delivery fees.
2022 BMW 2 Series — Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a 2022 BMW M2?
The rear-wheel-drive is expected to carry over to an M2 with all-wheel drive being optional. Under the hood, sources indicate the M2 will feature a 3.0-liter twin-turbo inline-6 that putting out about 420 hp — to start.
Where is the 2022 BMW 2 Series made?
BMW has started assembling the new generation 2 Series in the company’s newest factory in San Luis Potosi, Mexico.
What engine is in the BMW M240i?
The engine of a 2 Series Coupe varies by model. A new 230i Coupe includes a 2.0-liter inline 4-cylinder engine, while the M240i xDrive Coupe has a larger, more powerful 3.0-liter inline 6-cylinder engineered by BMW M, according to the company.