Reviews

2015 BMW 2 Series Walk Around



The BMW 2 Series is in perfect proportion, with taut lines and a stance that matches its agile handling. The signature twin kidney grille is surrounded by wraparound headlamps and a wide lower air intake, creating a face that’s neither too aggressive, nor too cute.

From the side, the 2 Series loses the 1 Series’ saggy lower line created by its droopy rocker panels. Instead, the 2 Series gets a virtual sheet metal tummy tuck, with a sharp, straight rocker panel and an upward-curving character line that flows into the rear wheel arches. An upper line running from the front fender, through the door handles and into the rear decklid is straight and sharp.

The rear is clean and simple, with just the tiniest hint of shelfy-ness that seems to be fading out with the post-Bangle era. Wraparound tail lamps and hood cut lines are very straight and horizontal. We also like that the M235i places its dual exhaust pipes one on each side, giving it a symmetrical look.

The 2 Series Convertible has a low-slung look, with a rear end that looks slightly wider than that of the coupe. With the top down, the lines around the passenger compartment create a wraparound design, which designers say was intended to give the appearance of a boat deck. With the power-folding soft top up, the 2 Series convertible understandably doesn’t look as sleek as the coupe, but still telegraphs its own unique, fun personality.

Color availability depends on model. The broadest palette is found on the 228i, with unique choices like Valencia Orange, Sparkling Brown metallic and Midnight Blue metallic. Shade choices are narrower for the M235i, and include whites, greys and black, plus the beautiful dark Melbourne Red and the bright Estoril Blue found on other M Sport models in the 3- and 4 Series lineups.

Interior

The look and quality of cabin materials vary depending on the model and options. Layout and organization of the controls, as with all BMWs, are clean, simple and intuitive. On cars with navigation, the wide screen sits atop the dash, which makes for very good visibility. Dual air vents, audio and temperature controls sit below, including a wide row of preset buttons, which can serve as shortcuts to navigation destinations and other functions, as well being traditional satellite and radio station markers.

On the center console, the most recent iteration of the iDrive button is located on the right side within easy reach. A traditional parking brake sits to the left. To the fore of the gearshift are two side-by-side cupholders. The center armrest offers a moderate amount of storage, and is where iPhones and other mobile devices can be plugged in and stowed.

Front seats are comfortable, and 228i models offer adequate support. M235i variants get sport seats, with more aggressive side bolstering on the seatbacks and cushions that keep driver and passenger firmly in place around corners. Standard upholstery is faux leather, dubbed Sensatec. Optional leather looks good but wasn’t exactly soft and buttery. Visually, we particularly liked the leather interior in bold Coral Red.

Backseat space is expectably snug for a coupe but is fine for occasionally carrying average-sized adults on short trips. Legroom measures 33 inches, about three inches less than in the larger 4 Series Coupe. Plenty of toe- and foot room under the front seat helps to mitigate a cramped feeling. Headroom in 2 Series coupes is 36.5 inches, about on par with the 4 Series and the old 3 Series Coupe. A rear center console has cupholders for added convenience. When not carrying backseat passengers, the armrest folds down, revealing a pass-through slot for long items.

Convertibles get about a half-inch more headroom with the top in place, but legroom is reduced by more than an inch, making the drop-top best for two. With the top down, headroom is unlimited.

Cargo space in the coupe measures 13.8 cubic feet, about two cubic feet less than the 4 Series Coupe, but more than the Audi A3 sedan and Mercedes-Benz CLA. Rear seats are split 60/40 and fold down for increased space. Surprisingly, BMW claims the 2 Series convertible has the exact same amount of luggage space as the coupe, which is quite a feat considering folding tops often take up considerable space.

In the cabin, BMW 228i models have a mostly attractive design, but we found the plastic surrounding the instrument cluster and in the center console looked a bit cheap for a BMW. The abundance of hard, plain plastics in the cabin is especially noticeable in tan; black interiors better disguise these textures.

M235i models look more upscale, but still suffer from some of the same maladies. On both models, the trim on the sweeping armrest/door handle is too thick for the average person to grab and looks stuck-on. Sun visors are also very thin, and the corners bend like cardboard when one is unhooked from its latch. On the M235i, we prefer the optional Brushed Aluminum interior configuration with accents in black gloss trim over the default Aluminum Hexagon trim, which includes metallic blue metal inserts that can look garish in certain color combinations.

How much you care about these details may depend on how much you’re spending on the car. At $33,000, BMW’s interior execution isn’t unconscionable. But with our test car topping out at nearly $50k, we’d expect more.

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