Will the real BMW please stand up? At its core, BMW is a performance company. Yet, as the trope drags its feet into the 21st century, BMW has apparently lost its way. Come on, the company puts an M badge on just about everything in its lineup these days. Yeah, you can get an M–that means “motorsports,” by the way–version of the X5 crossover, complete with an automatic transmission and your kids’ best excuse why you should never be late picking them up from school again.
But somewhere, deep down in the root of what BMW is and stands for, the company is still on the right path. Despite growing bigger and softer, the 3 Series is still the best overall sports sedan in its class. Sorry, Keith, my boss and Cadillac ATS enthusiast, but BMW’s still tops. And beneath the 3 Series, the 2 Series looks to distill the spirit to its core ingredients.
Replacing the BMW 1 Series coupe, which came to the U.S. in 2008, the 2014 BMW 2 Series coupe grows 2.8 inches in overall length and 1.3 inch in width, with 1.3 inch going towards expanding the car’s wheelbase. Translation: The car is now about the same size as the E46 (1998-2005) BMW 3 Series, which is considered by a good number of us as one of the better 3 Series ever made. It also means that rear-seat passengers will no longer have to be amputees to fit comfortably back there.
Like the BMW 3 Series, power will come by way of a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 240 horsepower or a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6. Unlike the 3, the 2 Series will have 322-horsepower and will come from the factory as a bonkers M Performance model, effectively and directly supplanting the 135is. The two models will be known as the 228i and M235i, respectively.
BMW has not listed weight for either of the two cars, but expect them to weigh 3,200 pounds or so, which would put them at the more svelte end of the automaker’s lineup. Either engine will be available with a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission, and we must say that the eight-speed is incredibly good. Also, it’s quicker than the manual. Sorry, enthusiasts. BMW estimates that the 228i will run from zero to 60 mph in 5.4 seconds with the automatic, which is quicker than a circa 1998 BMW M3 by a slight margin. The M235i will run with the newer 2002 vintage BMW M3, achieving the same feat in 4.8 seconds. BMW is typically conservative, however. Overseas publications have seen the M135i hatchback with the same drivetrain go much quicker.
Sometime down the line, we wouldn’t be surprised if the 180-horsepower engine from the BMW 320i makes its way into the 2 Series or xDrive all-wheel drive. Both are available in European models. A convertible model will also join the fray sooner than not.
Getting beyond the drivetrain, the 2014 BMW 2 Series will also have:
- A standard 6.5-inch iDrive screen in the U.S. The 1 Series and X1 were the last holdouts for this. Navigation-equipped models will have a larger 8.8-inch screen.
- Available adaptive headlights, parking assistant, rearview camera, active cruise control, and real-time traffic monitors.
- Available Sport and M Sport Lines for the 228i.
- An available limited-slip rear differential for M135i customers who look to take their cars onto a track.
- Fuel economy ratings of 23 mpg city/35 mpg highway with the eight-speed automatic in the 228i and 22 mpg city/34 mpg highway with the six-speed manual.
- 22 mpg city/32 mpg highway for the M235i automatic and 19 mpg city/28 highway for the manual model.
- A long list of M Performance accessories available for the M235i.
The 2014 BMW 2 Series will go on sale in the U.S. during the first quarter of 2014 with a base price of $33,025 for the 228i and $44,025 for the M235i, including destination and handling. Those numbers represent $600 increase and $450 decrease, respectively over the 128i and 135is, for what should be markedly better cars than the ones they’re replacing. However, it should be noted that a 2013 BMW 135i costs $40,425, which undercuts the M235i by quite some margin.
Will the 2014 BMW 2 Series restore faith in BMW diehards? We think so. We’ll let you know when we see it at the Los Angeles Auto Show how it stacks up in-person, and we should have driving impressions for you not long after that.