First Drive: 2022 BMW 2 Series
The new 2 Series has gotten larger, heavier and more powerful, but the new refinements all add up to make it as enjoyable as the outgoing one
Even the most diehard fans can be critical about an automaker’s path to progress , and the BMW crowd is no different, as the German brand doles out larger and less analogue-feeling cars . Aside from the fire-breathing M-branded models , it was up to the smaller 2 Series to carry forward the playful, premium, and sporty pillars that earned BMW so many fans in the past. The 2022 model arrives with significant changes to the formula that may disappoint longtime fans, but there is a bigger picture at play.
For starters, the 2 Series, fortunately, dismisses the awful grille design of the 4 Series and instead features minimalized details. Rather than featuring a large caricature of the now-iconic kidney grilles, the 2 Series design is relatively restrained. The headlights are nicely contoured, and the vehicle has attractive proportions with a long hood and short deck. The design brief at BMW currently seems to include a lot of triangles and diagonals, and they went all-in on that. You can see a bit of the cult-classic E46 generation 3 Series in the side profile, but the rear is a bit awkward with a tiny trunk lid spoiler and small taillights.
While the proportions look normal, the 2 Series has grown in size. The wheelbase has been extended by 50.8 mm, while the vehicle is 66 mm wider and 89 mm longer overall. The track is wider as well, but the car sits a bit lower than the previous model.
The added size foretells the added weight. The M240i xDrive model (the only spec available to Canadians at the moment) tips the scales at 3,871 lbs, a bump of over 200 pounds over the outgoing model. An aluminum hood and front fenders help to save weight.
Fortunately, the power plant has received a proportional bump as well. The 3.0-litre turbocharged inline six-cylinder makes 382 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque and is paired with an eight-speed automatic and all-wheel-drive. Unlike the last generation model, there are no rear-wheel-drive or manual transmission options this time around, which will disappoint the diehard enthusiasts that seemed to fall for the 2 Series in previous years.
As expected from a performance-oriented straight-six (and one with standard M Sport exhaust), it sounds excellent. Furthermore, the car changes manners depending on the drive mode selected. It gets wild in the sports modes and is extra sensitive to throttle inputs. This setting delivers a consistent thrill, while the other modes are a bit more sedate and appropriate for everyday commuting or saving fuel.
There is a lot of tech managing and directing the power to ensure the M240i is fast and agile. The all-wheel-drive system uses an electronically controlled multi-clutch plate in the transfer case and sends power to the front or rear axle to help mitigate understeer or oversteer. When there’s no need to send power to the front wheels, the system routes all the power to the rear. Additionally, the vehicle comes with a standard M Sport rear differential , with an electronically controlled, fully variable locking function to help optimize the power delivery to the rear wheels.
On the road, you don’t feel these systems interfering with the drive or taking away from your inputs. They work together and do something rare in the world of sports coupes — they make the car disappear , so you can focus on the road ahead, rather than trying to accommodate or anticipate the manners of these high-tech systems or the rowdy powerplant.