BMW recently refreshed the 2 Series model lineup, bribing new engines and new names. While the more powerful and more expensive BMW M240i is the one that made headlines, the BMW 230i shouldn’t be forgotten. Replacing the BMW 228i, the 230i is a little sweetheart of a car. Sure, it’s not perfect but it’s a ton of fun. Car and Driver recently reviewed it to find out if it’s changed any with the new name.
Thankfully, the chassis wasn’t changed any after the 2 Series’ facelift. It’s still the same gem of a chassis. The steering is still sharp and precise, if a bit numb. Its chassis balance is still fun and its performance is far more than acceptable. C&D tested the BMW 230i xDrive, which is the all-wheel drive model. xDrive-equipped 2 Series’ only come with the ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic, with no manual option, but that’s really no hindrance. The ZF-8 is the best automatic gearbox on the planet and it works well with the 230i’s tiny turbo-four.
Under the hood lies BMW’s new B46 2.0 liter turbocharged four-cylinder TwinPower engine. It makes 248 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, very respectable numbers for a 2.0 liter four-pot. When paired with its auto ‘box and all-wheel drive, it scoots from 0-60 mph in 5.3 seconds, which is plenty quick enough to be fun. It won’t light your hair on fire, but it’s certainly enough to make an enthusiast happy. Combine that peppy performance with rear-drive dynamics and you’ve got yourself a fun little canyon carver.
There are a few issues, obviously. Inside, the 230i isn’t the most luxurious of places. Everything is laid out well, ergonomics are good and the build quality is impressive. But it’s lacking in any sort of interesting design. Also, the back seat is rather small, though I’ve personally never had an issue. But I’m also short. So there’s that.
Bigger than all of that, though, is the price issue. While the 230i is relatively cheap to start, with an asking price of $36,145, it bloats quickly with options. The as-tested price of C&D’s BMW 230i xDrive was $50,070. That’s including xDrive, the Track Handling Package, Dakota Leather and the Premium Package. So it’s not cheap to option. And at that as-tested price, you could have yourself a BMW M240i, which is a lot faster and more fun. So the BMW 230i is a good car but its options list needs to be reigned in a bit. If you want one, get a rear-drive model with a six-speed and make both you and your wallet happy.[Source: Car and Driver]