2019 BMW 2-Series

By October 7, 2019

The 2019 BMW 2-Series is a sweet reminder that not every new car must be a crossover SUV. 

The 2-Series coupe and convertible are the spiritual successors to the iconic and beloved BMW 2002 from the 1960s. The current 2-Series is about the same size as the 3-Series was 10 years ago, which means while it can carry five passengers, it’s better at two adults plus two occasional passengers. 

This year BMW offers two engines in two models. The 230i sports a 2.0-liter turbo-4 with 248 horsepower, while the M240i gets a thrilling 335-hp turbo-6. Both engines come in other BMWs, but in the 2-Series they feel even faster because the car is so relatively light. The rear-wheel-drive 2-Series can be outfitted with available (and affordable) all-wheel drive, and with a 6-speed manual to swap in for the standard, excellent 8-speed automatic. The M2 sport coupe is a low-volume, higher-performance version of the 2-Series.

For 2019 the 2-Series gets standard automatic emergency braking. It hasn’t been fully crash-tested yet, but the IIHS has called it a Top Safety Pick, even without the automatic emergency braking. 

The EPA rates the 230i coupe at 24 mpg city, 35 highway, 28 combined, while the 230i xDrive with all-wheel drive earns 24/33/27 mpg. The convertible gets 1 less mpg. Enthusiasts pay a price for the fun of shifting, as the 6-speed gearbox brings the mileage down by 3 mpg. 

The M240i only suffers by 3 mpg for its 87 more horsepower, rated with the automatic at 21/30/24 mpg, whether coupe or convertible, rear-wheel or all-wheel drive. Both engines need premium fuel. 

Model Lineup

The 230i coupe starts at about $36,300, and BMW throws tempting options at buyers. All-wheel drive costs a reasonable $2,000, while the convertible is also reasonable, at $4,800 more. 

Standard equipment on the 230i includes synthetic leather upholstery, 17-inch wheels, automatic climate control, a 4-year/50,000-mile warranty, Bluetooth connectivity, a USB port, automatic emergency braking, and a 6.5-inch infotainment screen with a controller. Apple CarPlay is optional. 

An M240i xDrive convertible with navigation, an 8.8-inch touchscreen, leather upholstery, and premium audio can push $60,000.

Exterior 

The 230i is a smallish car with a lovely shape and all the right dimensions, including confident shoulders. It doesn’t look pinched, with all the glass from a low window line. The long hood ends at a face with big intakes on each side of the traditional twin-kidney grille. 

We like the convertible’s roofline more than the coupe’s. It shows more patience in its rearward flow. 

Interior

The fit-and-finish meets the expectations the world has from BMW. We prefer the wood trim to aluminum. 

The front seat bottoms are supportive and comfortable. We’d say that real leather is an expensive option that isn’t so tempting, because the synthetic leather is so good. 

Compared to the BMW 3-Series, the 2 is six inches shorter, and it all comes down on the rear passenger room. The stats say there’s 33 inches of legroom; it’s considerably smaller than the 3-Series, but still has usable rear seats.

The coupe trunk is 13.8 cubic feet; the convertible has a slimmer 11.8 cubic feet with the roof up, or 9.9 with it down. As long as there isn’t anything in the way, the top can lower into the trunk in 30 seconds, at speeds up to 30 miles per hour.

Driving Impressions

The lighter weight of the 2-Series is a huge performance advantage versus other BMWs with the same engine. The 230i, with its 248 hp, can accelerate to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds. 

The available 6-speed manual transmission with rear-wheel drive is very good. The 8-speed automatic is great, with quick shifts and perfect programming. 

Even with all-wheel drive, the 2-Series carves a tight line with little drama. Want more? A track handling package for 230i coupes adds stickier Michelin Pilot Super Sport performance tires and suspension upgrades, all for $2,300.

As good as the 230i performs, it’s outpaced by the M240i with its screaming turbo-6. It accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 4.1 seconds—and can be configured with rear-wheel drive and the 6-speed manual transmission. It’s a riot, even if the ride is only as comfortable as it needs to be. The emphasis is on handling, with precise steering, exceptional feedback, and real agility. 

Final Word

The 2019 BMW 2-Series is the least expensive car the brand offers, and it’s one of our favorites. It’s a descendant of the great 2002, but with a modern style, modern technology, and exceptional handling. The M240i performs as well as recent 6-cylinder M3 cars—and there’s an M2 if that’s still not enough.