BMW 2 Series Coupé in the test: Small cross driver – Auto & Mobil

As the? A new BMW without a huge double kidney that defies the wind? With alternatively configurable round instruments instead of confusing boomerang graphics? Either as a super-economical diesel, a small gasoline engine or an M Sport grenade including a row six and all-wheel drive. A car from a time when sheer driving pleasure was the most valid currency. Electrically would currently be opportune, but because this 2 Series is closely related to the 3 and 4 Series and there is simply no installation space for the batteries, the Coupé is committed to the combustion engine – apart from the mild hybrid module, which drives the ancillary units with up to eleven hp and boosts for one breath. Bad timing? How you take it. Because two-door models now lead a niche existence across all brands, an electric coupé or convertible would probably only produce negligible quantities at the moment.

So it remains with four or six cylinders, which according to WLTP consume between 4.7 and 8.8 liters of fuel per 100 km. Incidentally, joy does not only arise in the new 2 Series when full performance is demanded. The steering is perfectly matched for all operating conditions, the chassis fulfills its multiple obligations (traction, grip, suspension comfort, directional stability, controllability) without any major compromises, the standard sports brake in the M model works with profound effort and without significant signs of fatigue. Where today the M240i xDrive defends its new territory with flying colors, just a few years ago the M3 was the measure of all things – progress is passed around that quickly.

Closely related to the current BMW 3 and 4 Series: With the M 240i Coupé, there are no surprises under the bonnet either.

(Photo: Daniel Kraus / BMW)

Jos van As, charismatic chassis guru at BMW, breaks a lance for the weaker but lighter four-cylinder with rear-wheel drive: “Playful, safe and cheap driving is the secret of the entry-level variants.” Perhaps, but the lower weight of the four-cylinder does not necessarily stand against the smoothness and power development of the six-cylinder. Especially since the 3.0 liter engine accelerates the four-seater from 0 to 100 km / h in a brute 4.3 seconds – the equally powerful M440i takes two tenths longer; the 220i cannot even begin to keep up with 184 hp under the hood in 6.9 seconds. The eight-speed Steptronic finds it easy, especially in sport mode, to provide the four wheels with sufficient thrust in every situation, because the maximum torque of 500 Nm is available almost endlessly from 1900 to 5000 tours.

With the introduction of the Active Tourer seven years ago, the Munich-based company split the 2 Series into a compact space cruiser (read: mini-van) and a sporty coupé and convertible. The 2 series convertible is being discontinued these days, but at least the coupé successor remains true to its basic form of the longitudinal engine including rear-wheel drive. The same applies to the second edition of the shirt-sleeved M2, which will celebrate its premiere next year as the last two-door BMW of classic design without significant electrification. But there is also a cheaper option.

The 374 PS strong M240i xDrive is basically a nicely dressed BMW 4 Series – without the luxury surcharge of 12,400 euros. However, it is relatively cheap: Compared to the slightly higher predecessor, the wheelbase, length and width increase by around ten centimeters. Unfortunately, the price has also increased, from 51,700 to at least 56,000 euros.

BMW M240i xDrive in the test: Classic BMW cockpit without too many digital gadgets.

Classic BMW cockpit without too many digital gadgets.

(Photo: Daniel Kraus / BMW)

During the first test drive it poured out of heavy clouds – no problem for the all-wheel drive version, significantly more twitching and twitching in the slightly narrower tire 220i, which has to do without a limited-slip differential and sports brake. While the four-cylinder has fun coordinating the constantly changing coefficients of friction more or less effectively, the M240i can hardly be confused by the capers of the weather god. The all-wheel drive, blessed with multiple push-and-pull talents, stoically pulls its track, the optional 20-inch models ensure more traction thanks to the larger contact area, sports steering and sports suspension sharpen precision and feedback, the aerokit increases the downforce at higher speeds. The rear-biased torque distribution also puts the front wheels to work in critical situations.

At the end of the day the sun finally shows up and the generously motorized 2-series, which is actually a minimally refined 4-series, is allowed to do a few hot laps on the test track near Maisach. With the chubby fender flares and the XXL air inlets, the Coupé conveys exactly those brand-typical qualities that one can expect from a BMW in its function as the ultimate man-machine interface.

This car gently and intuitively brings order to the rarely conflict-free interplay of longitudinal and lateral forces, subtly influences the steering angle and self-steering behavior by supplying torque, seeks and finds new approaches to the limit area with excess momentum and precisely set load changes. It’s not primarily about speed, but about temperament. And to have a lot of fun with the joy.

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