Punchy looking little fighter, isn’t it? And yet, BMW’s new 2 Series Coupe might well be BMW’s least controversial-looking car for a long while. It’s lumpy and bumpy from some angles. Downright squat and hunkered in others. But overall, it’s traditional BMW.
No beavertooth grilles. Just a short front overhang, some muscular shoulders, and a stern face. BMW’s clearly quite proud of it: this one’s painted aubergine purple.
Mr Eggplant here is the new M240i, which gets a 374hp wallop courtesy of a turbocharged 3.0-litre straight-six petrol engine. That’s right, BMW isn’t giving up on its big-sixes just yet.
This is indeed the magnificent engine from the M440i, hooked up to the equally superb eight-speed automatic gearbox (there’s no manual 2 Series any more, folks) and powering all four tyres through BMW’s rear-axle biased xDrive all-wheel-drive system.
Choose launch control and you’ll go from 0-100km/h in 4.3 seconds and all the way to a limited top speed 250km/h. We’ve just checked and that makes this new M240i quicker than the old V8 M3.
Oh, you’re a die-hard rear-wheel drive fanatic? You’ll be making do with the 180bhp 220i or 184bhp 220d and their four cylinders, then. BMW reckons the diesel is good for 100km per gallon.
But we'd forgive you if you weren't really listening, and instead drooling over what this new 2er might be like once the M Division gets its oily hands on it. New M2 Competition, anyone?
See, the 2 Series isn’t just a 1 Series hatchback in a pretty dress this time. The 1 Series is now a sensible front-wheel-drive box thanks to lots of bits shared with MINI.
That means the 2 Series sits on a completely different platform, and that’s allowed BMW to go to town with the chassis. This stiffer body is 105mm longer and 64mm wider than the old 2 Series, but sits 28mm closer to the road.
Front and rear tracks have swelled massively to help cornering. There’s more negative camber for better turn-in. Aluminium panels and lighter suspension bits help shed weight that the growth spurt would have otherwise added.
The M240i scores upgraded brakes, a cleverer rear differential and adaptive multi-mode suspension. Everything you get on a big, grown-up BMW, now on the littlest quick coupe.
BMW even reckons it’s slashed lift by a massive fifty per cent thanks to active aero devices. And if handling isn’t your bag, but shopping is, then good news for you too: the boot’s grown 20 litres and is easier to load.
Inside, it seems BMW has sort of stopped bothering to design new interiors. Seriously, it’s ruddy identical to a 3 Series (or 4 Series, or 8 Series).
You get the 12.3in iDrive screen and a 10.2in cockpit display, a thick steering wheel with some paddleshifters, lots of proper buttons instead of useless touch-sensitive nonsense, and all the usual BMW tech that can self-drive the car in stop-start traffic, seek parking or yummy lunch on the sat-nav, annoy the heck out of you with voice control and deploy your smartphone as the car’s key.
Now, judging by the latest 3 and 4 Series, the New Two is going to be quite handy to drive. The M240i will probably make a decent noise too.
But none of that matters today, does it? Today is about one question. Have we, Internet, got ourselves A Good Looking New BMW?
STORY Ollie Kew