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Driven: BMW expects 2 Series to boost coupe sales

2-up: BMW’s 2 Series is expected to be a hit, but the real volume boost will come from the 228i due for launch in October.

New BMW 2 Series arrives tasked with more conquest sales in Australia

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BMW logo26 Feb 2014

BMW Australia projects its new 2 Series coupe will sell in greater numbers than the popular 1 Series it supplants, but the real volume boost will have to wait until October when the mid-range 228i arrives.

Due in October with pricing expected to kick off under $65,000, the high-output 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo will slip between the 220d and 220i entry cars and the hot M235i in the F22-series line-up.

For now, though, BMW’s local arm will rely on a triumvirate of turbocharged 2 Series variants: the entry $50,500 (plus on-road costs) 220i petrol, the $52,500 220d diesel (more than $8500 cheaper than the 123d) and the flagship M235i from $79,900.

The company is counting on the two-door four-seater compact to build on the success of the preceding E82 1 Series. Released in 2008, it significantly exceeded initial forecasts, recording over 5000 sales in Australia in five and a half years.

Likewise, bigger things are expected from the F23 2 Series convertible when it arrives in the first quarter of 2015, replacing the popular E88 1 Series ragtop that ran at an unprecedented 50:50 sales ratio to the coupe equivalent.

Mr Andreevski said there should be sufficient stock to see the latter out until the F23 surfaces next February.

BMW also expects the successor to continue to usher in a high number of conquest buyers. Last time well over 70 per cent were new to the Bavarian brand.

F22 orders have already been building strongly since pricing was announced late in January. The only six-cylinder 2 Series Coupe for now – the M Performance-bred M235i – is also gaining strong traction.

As with the 1 Series Coupe back in 2008, BMW says the newcomer possesses a spiritual connection to the 1602 to 2002 series from the 1960s and 1970s.

Based on the F20 1 Series platform, the ‘2’ nomenclature falls in line with the even-numbered F32 4 Series and F12 6 Series models respectively.

Like the recently released 4 Series Coupe, the 2 Series Coupe brandishes BMW’s latest styling details, including the larger double-kidney grille, ribbed sides and a multi-layered tail-light effect.

It is also more aerodynamic than its direct predecessor, with a 0.29Cd drag co-efficiency rating – an impressive effort considering the larger overall size. The company says weight gains have been mitigated by the implementation of lighter and more efficient materials.

Compared to the 1 Series Coupe, everything but the car’s height grows, including length (by 72mm to 4432mm), width (up 32mm to 1774mm), the wheelbase (an extra 30mm to 2690mm), front tracks (up 41mm to 1521mm) and rear tracks (up 43mm to 1556mm).

But while height drops by 5mm to 1418mm, there is a 19mm boost in front headroom, 6mm more rear headroom, 21mm of extra rear legroom and a 20-litre larger boot. Rated at 390L, the latter is available in either a 60/40 or optional 40/20/40 arrangement for extra long and narrow loads.

The 220i’s EU6 emissions-rated 1997cc 2.0-litre TwinPower turbo produces 135kW of power between 5000 and 6250rpm, and 270Nm of torque between 1250 and 4500rpm, for a 0-100km/h claim of 7.0 seconds, a fuel consumption average of 6.0 litres per 100km and a carbon dioxide emissions figure of 139 grams per kilometre.

On the economy front, the $2500 more expensive 220d consumes just 4.4L/100km and 117g/km on the combined cycle – thanks to an EU5 certified 1995cc 2.0-litre turbo-diesel engine delivering 135kW at 4000rpm and 380Nm from 1750 to 2750rpm.

The latter also means the diesel is just 0.1s slower to 100km/h than the 220i.

But the performance headline act for now is the 235i’s M135i-based 2979cc 3.0-litre turbo inline-six another EU6 rater, and with 240kW between 5800 and 6000rpm and 450Nm available from 1300 to 4500rpm, it will sprint to 100km/h in just 4.8 seconds on the way to a speed-limited 250km/h V-max, yet still average 7.6L/100km for a very reasonable 176g/km result.

Employing the 220i’s 1997cc unit, October’s 228i Coupe’s outputs should be in the vicinity of 180kW and 350Nm.

BMW will offer a six-speed manual as a no-cost option alternative to the standard ZF-supplied eight-speed torque converter automatic transmission dubbed Steptronic – but note that in the 120i Coupe equivalent the same vehicle cost $2500 less.

Either gearbox drives the rear wheels in usual BMW tradition while weight distribution is pegged at 50:50 front to rear.

The nose contains a double-joint spring MacPherson strut system while the rear houses a five-link independent rear end, while electric power steering in both BMW’s Servotronic system unless the variable ‘sport’ ratio set-up is ordered as a $677 option. The latter offers 25 per cent less turning effort.

M Sport division’s uprated braking system should be a popular option, as will BMW’s Adaptive M suspension setup with electronically controlled dampers. Both are standard on the M235i.

Still on the flagship model, an M Performance mechanical limited slip differential replaces the stability/traction control-based electronic device.

On the safety front there are the usual front, side and head airbags, along with a pedestrian-friendly active bonnet and ‘defined front end deformation zones’.

Inside, the 2 Series Coupe follows BMW’s usual driver-focused dashboard – all with automatic climate control and the iDrive operating system in conjunction with BMW Professional radio and navigation systems.

Standard features in the 220i and 220d include cruise control with a braking function, 17-inch alloy wheels, Bluetooth connectivity, stop/start, fog lights, rear parking sensors, satellite navigation, a split/fold rear backrest, climate control air-conditioning and vinyl seat trim known as Sensatec.

As first introduced in the current F30 3 Series range in early 2012, BMW offers a Modern and Sport line no-cost option trim packs with different materials and wheels.

There are also a number of bundled up option packages including a $1820 Advanced Parking Package, $3250 Visibility Package and a tech-heavy Professional Multimedia and Comfort packages from $3120 apiece.

2014 BMW 2 Series*
220i (a)$50,500
220d (a)$52,500
M235i (a)$79,900
*Excludes on-road costs.

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