As any driving instructor will be at pains to tell you, looking in the rearview mirror is important. Car companies like to do this too; although perhaps it’s to inspire a sense of nostalgia more than anything in the engineering department.
This becomes immediately evident when driving the new BMW 2-Series and the BMW 2002, a classic that the blue and white propeller brand is keen to entrench as the newcomer’s progenitor. There is certainly a shared spirit: a small, compact sports coupe with decent power and tidy rear wheel drive handling. But my goodness, how things have moved on.
Firstly, I wouldn’t want to crash into a beach ball in the 2002. There’s barely a seatbelt to speak of and the entire frame looks and feels paper thin. In terms of passenger protection, I’m quite happy to be a car journalist in the modern era.
However, there’s a directness, a sense of immediacy in the vintage car that most modern cars lack. We’ve become very detached from the driving experience. This is bittersweet; for a long journey, detachment is a good thing. Modern cars are almost relaxing. But for a blast up a windy road, the charm of the old school is undeniable and missed.
The BMW 2-Series reviewedHowever, progress we must, and it’s the new 2 that you will be buying, so let’s have that chat. BMW’s smallest coupe replaces the 1-Series coupe which was a real hoot to drive, but was perhaps less practical, especially the rear seating.
While the new series shares engines with the entire range, it is based on a cut down version of the 3-Series chassis, making this noticeably bigger than the car it replaces. In fact, a quick glance and you could be forgiven for thinking it’s a 4-Series.
There are 3 engines available, two petrol in various states of tune, a diesel and the mildly insane M235i. See the table below for a full overview of the range and power outputs.
BMW 2 Series SummaryIt’s not that I don’t like the 2-Series, but I struggle to see the point. You could spend less money and have a 1-Series, which in 5-door guise is more practical. You could spend a little bit more money and have a 3 Series, which is infinitely more practical but understandably less exciting.
Or you could spend about R80 000 more and pick up a 4-Series, which I think might just be the best BMW available right now, besides the X5.
Or you could spend about R380 000 and pick up a 220i. It’s a well-sorted little package; comfortable, powerful enough, not terribly thirsty and in M Sport trim, quite good looking. It will probably make you smile every time you drive it, especially when you flick it into Sport mode.
And maybe that is the point.
BMW 2-Series prices and specs for South Africa
|Price||R406 757||R436 500||R445 988||R558 079|
|Engine||2.0 i-4 turbo||2.0 i-4 turbo||2.0 i-4 turbo||3.0 i-6 turbo|