The 2019 BMW 2-Series continues to be brand’s modern reference to the fondly remembered 2002 compact sport model. With a host of performance add-ons available, today’s car continues that focus on performance with a full dose of compact-car practicality.
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2019 BMW 2-Series Overview
What's New for 2019
The 2019 BMW 2-Series sees no significant changes following a couple of years that brought improved powertrains and interior and exterior styling updates.
Choosing Your BMW 2-Series
Based on the standard model-cycle timeline, the 2-Series is about due for another generation, however, the constant updates to the drivetrain and styling maintain the car’s high appeal.
In modern BMW fashion, there are different body styles, engines, transmissions, drivetrains, designs, and feature tiers, not to mention the long list of standard and available features. Thankfully, the 2-Series build configuration matrix is simpler than other BMW models’ although the cross-linking paths of designs and tiers can, at first, seem a bit complicated.
The first of many decisions is the body style – the 2-Series is available as both a coupe and convertible. The coupe offers sufficient space in back for adults on short trips and the convertible makes the most of its classically shaped rear-drive proportions with a powered fabric top that folds at vehicle speeds up to 30 mph.
Next up is the powertrain. A 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with a twin-scroll turbocharger is standard, developing 248 horsepower that's routed through an eight-speed automatic transmission and out to the rear wheels. An optional all-wheel-drive system is available for $2,000 and is tuned to enhance the dynamics of the car. The rear-drive coupe offers a no-cost optional six-speed manual transmission. For more performance, a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six engine is available. It produces 335 hp and develops 369 pound-feet of torque from a low and easily accessible 1,520 rpm. The manual transmission is available with either rear-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive layouts on the coupe.
The most fuel efficient configuration, according to the EPA, is the rear-wheel-drive coupe with the four-cylinder engine and automatic transmission, earning an estimated 24 miles per gallon city, 35 mpg highway, and 28 combined. Adding all-wheel drive reduces the ratings to 24/33/27 mpg (city/highway/combined), while the manual transmission lowers the estimates to 21/32/25 mpg. The larger and more powerful six-cylinder model achieves 21/30/24 mpg as a coupe with the automatic, or 18/27/21 mpg with the manual transmission.
Next in the long line of choices is what BMW calls designs. The base Sport Line Design is standard, which brings black high-gloss elements to the grille and bumpers. Next up is the Luxury Design, which is $350 more on the 230i Coupe and convertible and adds chrome touches to the bumper, air intakes, exhaust pipe, window surround, and kidney bars. Finally, the M Sport Design which maximizes the 2-Series' athleticism costs an additional $4,550 on the 230i Coupe or $3,450 on the convertible.
Choices continue with BMW's feature tiers. The Convenience Tier adds $2,050 to the bottom line of a 230i Coupe or $1,150 to a convertible. The Convenience Tier brings proximity entry, moonroof, SiriusXM with a one-year subscription, and auto-dimming interior and exterior mirrors. The Premium Tier – which runs an extra $4,550 on the 230i Coupe and $3,650 more on the convertible – includes all Convenience Tie features plus heated front seats, a heated steering wheal, navigation with real-time traffic information, speed limit information, Apple CarPlay, a universal garage door opener, and remote services.
The 2-Series pricing hierarchy begins with the rear-wheel-drive 230i which features the four-cylinder engine. The 230i xDrive nomenclature signifies the added all-wheel-drive system, while the name changes to M240i and M240i xDrive when equipped with the larger six-cylinder engine
The 2019 BMW 2-Series is, simply put, a special kind of car. Equipped with go-fast goodies and modern luxury features, the M240i with the Track Handling Package and Convenience Tier lands this coupe or convertible in the sweet spot of everyday enjoyment.
2019 BMW 2-Series Review
In more ways than one, the 2019 BMW 2-Series is a holdover from an older age. It’s rear-wheel drive. It can come with a manual transmission. It’s a sport coupe – none of that pesky all-in-one crossover mentality. This is a car with a purpose, and it fulfills its mission with panache. We’re sure glad it’s still around.
In classic BMW fashion, the 2-Series can be spec’d up well over $50,000 in higher trim. We’re all for customizability, but this is one instance where restraint is the better part of wisdom.
The base-trim 2-Series is nothing to sneeze at. It gets BMW’s all-purpose 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, good for 248 horsepower. That would be pedestrian in a larger car, but unburdened by excessive weight, it’s enough to hustle the 2-Series to 60 mph in just over five seconds.
The 2-Series is available in either coupe or convertible form, but the convertible adds nearly $6,000 and impinges on an already limited cargo capacity. All-wheel drive is available on all trims, but for a car this raw, the siren call of rear-wheel drive is too strong.
The result: a RWD BMW 230i coupe. We’d have the manual, if only because it’s good and one of a dying breed. The automatic is equally excellent, so no great loss either way. With tasteful (read: frugal) option selection, it’s a sport coupe that’s hard to dislike.
- Model:2019 BMW 230i
- Engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder
- Output:248 hp / 290 lb-ft
- Transmission: Six-speed manual
- Drivetrain:Rear-wheel drive
- MPG:21 City / 32 Hwy
- Options: Metallic paint ($550), Heated front seats ($500)
- Base Price:$36,295 (including the $995 destination fee)
- Best Value Price:$37,345
The driving experience is what the 2-Series is all about. If the base engine isn’t enough for you, the M240i offers a turbocharged inline six-cylinder delivering 335 hp, which shortens the zero-to-60 sprint to 4.4 seconds. Both transmissions are smooth, and it’s a pleasure to drive a sweet-shifting manual these days.
The diminutive size and weight also contribute to excellent handling. Turn-in is precise, and the feel is an excellent antidote to the modern epidemic of numb steering. Performance upgrades in the suspension, brakes, and steering are available for race track disciples, although they’ll probably just buy the M2 (covered separately).
Even the mileage is decent. The larger engine isn’t particularly economical at an EPA-estimated 24 miles per gallon combined (21 with the manual), but the four-cylinder unit is good for up to 28 mpg combined. It won’t compare to hybrids, but it’s thrifty enough for a performance car.
The 2-Series is attractive in both bodies. Clean lines support aggressive shoulders, and the profile is particularly nice in convertible form. Inside, a low beltline and a healthy amount of glass help things feel more spacious. The interior is cozy and well designed, with pleasant surfaces and a competent infotainment system. BMW’s synthetic leather is decent, and the seats are supportive and comfortable. Automatic emergency braking is newly standard, which adds to the 2-Series’ already strong safety scores.
But the attractively compact proportions aren't without their compromises. The biggest is the rear seats, where leg room suffers from the shortened wheelbase. The second row is fine for short trips, but it carries groceries better than adults. Cargo space isn’t spectacular, especially on convertible models, and the interior still uses hard plastics for a few minor surfaces. Another gripe is the options menu: despite excellent customizability, many options require expensive add-ons to unlock. One frustrating example is Apple CarPlay, which requires an expensive package and a subscription after the first year.
The Best and Worst Things
A compact and comfortable sedan with stirring performance is the formula with which BMW seduced the world. We’re glad they’ve still got the mojo, but we wish they wouldn’t try so hard to gouge your wallet on the options list.
Right For? Wrong For?
The BMW 2-Series is right for the driver who loves driving. If you prefer a car that tells you what’s happening at the wheels, or a vehicle without the size or bloat of most modern sedans, the 2-Series will delight. It’s a joy to drive in any trim.
It'll disappoint buyers who need substantial utility, or those who frequently carry friends. The 2-Series is lovely from the driver’s seat, but we wouldn’t want to go on a road trip in the back. It’s a focused machine, but practicality is limited.
The Bottom Line
The 2019 BMW 2-Series is the kind of car that reminds us why we love the brand – and why we love driving. It’s not for everyone, especially at BMW prices, but for drivers who savor the journey, there are increasingly few options like the 2-Series. We hope it sticks around.