First Drive: 2018 BMW 220i Coupé

First Drive: 2018 BMW 220i Coupé
 

BMW’s smallest coupe, the 2 Series, has made inroads into the compact coupe segment.

Essentially a coupe version of the 1 Series hatch, you have to admire the German marque’s marketing ploy of taking basically the same ingredients to make a cake, but opting to use different moulds to appeal to different palettes. It’s a stroke of genius, much like the company has managed to do with the 3 and 4 Series.

To spot the new items added to the updated 2 Series range, we spent some time at the wheel of the R528 000 220i variant, which is the entry point into the range and is powered by a 2.0-litre Twin-Power turbo engine, which pushes 135kW and 270Nm through an eight-speed automatic gearbox to the rear wheels.

Cosmetically, the model comes with updated headlights with Bi-LED technology, while the rear tail lights also receive LED treatment. The cabin has remained pretty much the same, save for the new instrument cluster with new dials, which give it a sophisticated look.

Of course, you can dip into the options list and spec your 220i to the hilt with all manner of stuff such as a Professional touchscreen interface (R13 900), M Sport Package (R21 200), M Sport suspension (R4 400) and gloss black wheels (R13 300). It all adds up to give the compact 2 Series even better visual venom compared to the standard model. Our test unit was finished in a red exterior hue with the M Sport Package and gloss black wheels and it looked the part.

Performance from the engine is relatively good, while the eight-speed gearbox is a slick operator we have come to admire from the BMW range.

Out on the road the model goes about its business in a nonchalant manner with the engine delivering just the right quota of performance. You do, however, need to mash the throttle to the floorboards to overtake slower moving traffic.

You could opt for the 220d diesel variant, which offers a great blend of performance and efficiency, and a fatter seam of torque — 400Nm — lending itself to a relaxed driving experience.

During the week we spent in the 220i we averaged about 9.4l/100km — on the high side when pottering about town.

The suspension is surprisingly compliant even though the M Sport suspension means it rides firmer than the regular variants and it seemed up to the task of coping with the rutted roads of Gauteng. Driven more spiritedly, the model rewarded with its surefooted handling.

The 2 Series cuts a sportier pose than its 1 Series hatch sibling and will appeal to a different buyer profile. In addition the 390-litre boot means it is more practical than its 1 Series brethren and the rear seat back can be folded forward to offer extra space. – Lerato Matebese