The end is nigh for gas-powered, two-door sports cars. To be fair, the internal combustion engine’s days are numbered regardless of vehicle type but, due to relatively low sales figures, two-door sports cars are going to be among the first to go. Which makes this new 2022 BMW 2 Series Coupe a dying breed and almost certainly the last of its kind from the Bavarian brand. Considering that two-door sports cars are sort of what made BMW what it is today, it’s a of a sad realization. However, we can take solace in the fact that the new 2 Series could be among the best BMW has ever made.
All new for 2022, the BMW 2 Series Coupe is only the second generation of 2 Series but actually the latest in a long line of small, two-door, four-seat, small-engine, everyday sports cars from BMW. The BMW 1600, back in the original Neue Klasse, was one of the cars that really got BMW started in this segment. The 1600 was followed by the iconic BMW 2002, which created the template for the brand’s success. Now, the second-gen BMW 2 Series is the newest iteration of such a car and potentially the last.
BMW’s Most Traditional Design in Ages
It’s certainly bigger than the 2002. For this second generation, the 2 Series grew a bit in length, width, wheelbase, and wheel track, although it also got lower. All non-M240i models are now 4.3 inches longer, 2.6 inches wider, have 2.0 inch longer wheelbases, and wider wheel tracks by 2.8 inches at the front and 1.9 inches at the back. They’re also 1.0 inch lower, which gives it a lower center of gravity and a sportier look.
However, the BMW M240i grew a bit differently than its non-M Performance siblings. It’s 3.5 inches longer than the previous M240i, 2.6 inches wider, and 1.0 inch lower but its wheel track increased by 2.5 inches at the front and 2.4 inches at the back.
BMW M240i Photos
Despite being drastically bigger than the original 2002, there are some design elements that harken back to that legendary sports coupe. The Hofmeister kink is back and, much like on the 2002, the lower window line is completely flat until it meets the kink, at a sharp angle. There’s no upward sweeping window line or gimmicky interpretation — it’s the real deal. There’s also a single, unbroken shoulder line, that runs from just above the front wheel, all the way to just before the taillight, which harkens back to the 2002’s famous chrome strip that ran the entire length of the car, even the front and back.
Up front, what could be one of the most controversial designs of the 2 Series Coupe is actually one of the most classically-inspired. Gone is BMW’s now-famous double-circle headlights design, replaced with a single circle. While that might seem like a massive deviation from BMW’s classic design language, it actually copies the BMW 2002, which also had just a single, circular headlight at either side. The daytime-running light and turn signal are incorporated into the bottom half of the circle, while the actual headlight makes up the rest. It’s a modern interpretation of the 2002’s lamps, while very different from almost every other Bimmer since the 2002, is a nice throwback to the 2 Series’ most original predecessor.
The 2 Series gets quite the unique kidney grille as well. Its shape is far more traditional than anything to come from BMW in the last couple of years, with an almost BMW Z8/507-like shape. However, rather than vertical grille slats, it actually just gets active grille flaps. Typically, BMW’s active aerodynamic grille flaps were integrated into the vertical slats but now they’re one and the same. That part may not be traditional but the grilles, as a whole, are far better looking than those on the 4 Series, M3, M4, 7 Series, and X7. So this new 2er is a breath of fresh air.
Out back, you can see where BMW’s design team was a bit inspired by the 2002 for its taillights, as well. They’re not perfect squares, as they were on the original 2002, but they’re compact little taillight blobs that seem inspired by the classic. Every 2 Series model even gets a built-in trunk spoiler, as a throwback to the legendary 2002 Turbo.
In terms of color options, there’s only one new color for the exterior of the 2 Series — Thundernight Metallic, and it’s an absolutely excellent shade of purple. The rest are your typical BMW colors; Alpine White, Jet Black (non-M240i models only), Black Sapphire Metallic, Melbourne Red, Mineral White, Portimao Blue, and Brooklyn Gray. Being that Thundernight exists, optioning any other color should result in some sort of persecution.
Interior is… the Same
BMW really differentiated the 2 Series from the rest of the lineup on the outside — its headlights, grille, Hofmeister kink, taillights, and overall design language is entirely different from everything else with a Roundel. However, the interior, well… isn’t. In fact, aside from a subtle triangle pattern in the door panels and a slightly different door pull design, the cabin of the 2 Series Coupe is nearly indistinguishable from that of a 3 Series or 4 Series.
Almost everything else about the cabin is the same; Live Cockpit Professional instrument panel, iDrive 7, the steering wheel, the center console, the shift lever, the seats, and even the Harmon-Kardon sound system. It’s damn-near identical.
It’s a bit predictable and a bit boring. However, it does mean that the 2 Series will have an interior of more expensive cars, so that should give customers some comfort with their purchase.
Improvement Where it Matters
You don’t buy a BMW for its interior, though. While BMW makes nice cabins, that’s never really been the brand’s main priority. Instead, you buy a BMW for how it drives (or at least how it’s supposed to). For this new 2022 BMW 2 Series, the improvements made were to what matters most — chassis, suspension, and handling.
As with all BMWs, the 2er gets a near-perfect 50/50 weight balance, front/rear. Its chassis has been stiffened by 12 percent, it’s been given an increase in negative camber, as well as new aluminum suspension arms and swivel bearings. Another interesting new improvement is the new wheel bearing design, which is said to not only save a total of six pounds — a not so insignificant number considering they’re just wheel bearings — while also increasing efficiency by reducing friction by 45 percent.
However, the biggest improvement made is the addition of a two-joint spring-strut front suspension system. This is said to improve steering precision and wheel control at the front end. Additionally, the BMW M240i gets a hydraulically-damped tension strut on the front wheel hubs, to minimize vibration and oscillation.
BMW 220i / 230i Photos
Just like the G20 3 Series, the new BMW 2 Series gets lift-related dampers as standard equipment. The idea is that these passive dampers can provide adequate ride comfort and a sporty feel, without having to opt for adaptive suspension. The G20 3 Series ended up getting criticized a bit for its overly stiff ride on its passive lift-related dampers, so we’re hoping BMW learned from that lesson with the 2er. An M Sport suspension makes them stiffer, if you want an extra sporty ride. Adaptive dampers are standard on the BMW M240i and are electronically controlled, with the typical Comfort, Sport, Sport Plus, and Adaptive settings.
On all non-M240i models, 18 inch wheels are standard, with 19 inchers being optional. A wide variety of wheel options will be available for customers who want a bit of extra style, even on less powerful models. The BMW M240i xDrive comes with 19 inch wheels as-standard, wrapped in performance all-seasons. However, if you want performance runflats or even non-runflats, you get a staggered wheel setup; 225/40R19 front and 255/35R19 rear for the performance runflats and 245/35R19 front and 255/35R19 rear for performance non-runflat tires.
The BMW M240i gets M Sport brakes as standard (optional on other 2 Series models), which come with four-piston calipers up front and single-piston clampers out back. As per usual with M Sport brakes, calipers come standard painted blue, with little M logos, but can also be optioned in red, which is a nice touch.
Overall, the new 2 Series is a couple of hundred pounds lighter than the outgoing 2er, regardless of model, but it now has an aluminum hood and fenders, to help keep the weight as well distributed as possible.
Engines as Usual
The reason I’m listing the engines last is because they’re pretty typical. You could probably guess them all correctly right now. In fact, if you read any current small BMW’s engine list, you’ll have the new 2 Series’ engine list. This new 2022 BMW 2 Series will come in four flavors (two in North America); BMW 220i, BMW 220d, BMW 230i, and BMW M240i xDrive. The latter two will only be available in the U.S. market, while all four will be available in Europe.
As expected, the BMW 220i will come with BMW’s typical 2.0 liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, making 184 horsepower, 221 lb-ft (300 Nm) of torque, and return up to 37 mpg (6.3 liters per 100 km). While the BMW 220d uses a 2.0 liter turbo-diesel, that makes 190 horsepower and 295 lb-ft (400 Nm) of torque, while returning 50 mpg (4.7 liters/100 km). The BMW 230i gets another 2.0 liter turbo-four but with 255 horsepower and 295 lb-ft (300 Nm) but fuel economy ratings weren’t released. Lastly, the BMW M240i gets a 3.0 liter turbocharged inline-six engine, with 382 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque, while getting 29 mpg (8.1 liters/100 km).
2022 BMW 2 Series Design Sketches
All 2 Series models get the same eight-speed ZF automatic transmission, which means no manual transmission option for any market, at least as of right now. Enthusiasts won’t be happy about that but it’s not entirely surprising, giving the abysmal take rate for manually-equipped regular 2 Series’. I’m sure a manual will be available on the upcoming BMW M2 but non-M versions of the car will be automatic only. The BMW M240i will also only be xDrive all-wheel drive.
Most BMW-like BMW in Ages
Even some of the best modern BMWs, such as the new BMW M3 Competition, have been large departures from the typical Bavarian norm. However, this new 2 Series seems to be a return to form for the brand. Not only is its design a throwback to one of the most iconic Bimmers in history, and the precursor to all small BMW sports coupes, but it seems to be sharper, more capable, and more dynamic than before.
We don’t know if this new BMW 2 Series will be as good as advertised when it finally debuts but we should appreciate it either way. We’re almost certainly never going to see another 2 Series without electrification, if we ever see another 2 Series again. This is the end of the classic recipe and we should appreciate it while it still lasts.
The market launch is set for November 2021. The MSRP of 2022 BMW 230i Coupe starts at $36,350 and $48,550 for 2022 BMW M240i xDrive Coupe, plus $995 Destination.