The most affordable coupe in the BMW lineup, the 228i proves that luxury and performance really can co-exist in a subcompact passenger car. We're continuously impressed by its ability to switch from cruising quietly to tackling curves without missing a beat.
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2016 BMW 228 Overview
What's New for 2016
The previously optional Sport Line trim is now standard, as is an anti-theft alarm. A new Luxury package adds fancier detailing throughout. Several option packages receive minor revisions.
Choosing Your BMW 228i
Available as coupe or soft-top convertible, the 228i carries a turbocharged 2-liter four-cylinder engine that delivers 240 horsepower, paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. A six-speed manual is also available as a no-cost option. The automatic is required when you specify the available xDrive all-wheel drive system.
Standard equipment is what you would expect in an entry-level luxury coupe: automatic dual-zone climate control, rain-sensing wipers, Bluetooth phone, leatherette sport seats, and a 10-speaker sound system with HD radio. Leather upholstery is a standalone option.
The popular Premium package adds common luxury car equipment likes power seats, auto-dimming mirrors, a sunroof (coupe only), keyless access and ignition, ambient interior lighting, satellite radio, and a universal garage door opener. Cars equipped with the Premium package and leather seats are eligible for the Luxury package, which furnishes chrome exterior accents and wood or aluminum interior trim.
You can take the 228i in another direction with the M Sport package featuring an adaptive suspension, 18-inch wheels, a sport steering wheel, an aerodynamic body kit, and sportier trim throughout. The Track Handling package (available with or without the full M Sport treatment) gets you performance brakes, sport-tuning steering, 18-inch wheels, and the M Sport suspension.
Once you've settled on the basic character of your 228i, you can add all of the usual BMW option bundles. The Technology package includes a navigation system with real-time traffic data, upgraded dash displays and controls, online services, and a suite of smartphone apps. Parking sensors and rearview camera come in the Driver Assistance package. Models equipped with both of those packages are eligible for Driver Assistance Plus, which adds lane departure warning, forward collision mitigation, automatic high beams, and speed limit data.
You might also like the Cold Weather package, which tacks on headlamp washers, heated front seats, and a heated steering wheel. There's also a Lighting package featuring adaptive xenon headlamps.
Several of the 228i's package features can be purchased individually, including power seats, a sunroof, and smartphone apps. A 12-speaker Harman Kardon sound system is available as a standalone option only.
We've always considered the Premium Package mandatory for buyers who want the full luxury car experience. The performance upgrades will appeal to some enthusiasts, but aren't necessary in our view. The 228i is a top performer no matter how you equip it.
2016 BMW 228 Review
Offering turbocharged performance, dynamic handling, and excellent fuel economy, the BMW 228i proves that even BMW’s least expensive coupe deserves the manufacturer’s "Ultimate Driving Machine" trademark.
Pricing and Equipment
The 2016 BMW 228i is available as a coupe or convertible. Front-wheel drive is standard, all-wheel drive models are also available.
The 228i is powered by a 2-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine and an eight-speed automatic transmission. A six-speed manual transmission is available as an option on front-wheel drive coupes only.
The 2016 BMW 228i is available in four trim levels:
- The nicely equipped base 228i starts at $32,850 and includes SensaTec (high-quality leatherette) upholstery, a nice-sounding audio system, push-button start and much more.
- The base 228i is also available as a Convertible, prices start at $38,650.
- The all-wheel drive 228i xDrive is priced from $34,850.
- Pricing for the 228i xDrive Convertible begins at $40,650.
Pricing does not include a destination and handling fee of $995.
Package pricing varies, but highlights include:
- The M Sport Package with an upgraded M branded steering wheel, shadowline trim, special headliner and an exterior aerodynamic ground effects kit.
- Track Handling Package with variable sport steering, adaptive suspension, upgraded brakes, and Michelin Pilot Super Sport performance tires on 18-inch light-alloy wheels.
- Harmon Kardon Sound System with a 360-watt amp, five tweeters, five mid-range speakers, and two central bass speakers under the front seats.
- And a Driver Assistance Package with multiple active safety technologies.
The 228i is powered by a 2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 240 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. The engine is quite sufficient for the 228i, providing excellent acceleration. Zero to 60 zips by in as little as 5.3 seconds, while the 228i also provides excellent fuel economy.
- The 228i rear-wheel drive coupe returns 23 mpg city and 36 mpg. Even the heavier all-wheel drive 228i xDrive convertible makes 22 mpg city and 34 mpg highway, which represents the worst gas mileage of all the 228i trim levels.
- Handling and braking are superb, especially if you opt for the relatively inexpensive Track Handling Package. The adaptive suspension and M Sport brakes are worth the price of admission alone, never mind the sport steering, springs, tires and 18-inch wheels.
- Unlike many manufacturers, the 228i still offers a manual gearbox in at least some trim levels. While the eight-speed automatic is truly marvelous, the connectivity that rowing through the gears affords the driver is priceless.
- The all-wheel drive convertible might qualify as the Swiss army knife of cars; a great all-weather vehicle that handles copious amounts of snow and sunshine with equal grace.
There's little to complain about, so we'll leave it at saying the turbocharged engine requires premium fuel.
While inexpensive compared to the brand’s top models, the 228i retains BMW’s high level of fit and finish. The 228i’s cabin is roomy, especially for front seat occupants. The driver’s cockpit is arguably the best seat in the house; BMW is highly regarded for creating intuitive controls and easy to understand gauges and information technology.
The available luxury options escalate the 228i’s interior to levels commensurate with BMW’s more expensive vehicles. There are fancier interiors, but very few offer the restrained luxury and driver-centric ergonomics that BMW does.
- The rear seat is bigger than the outgoing 1 Series coupe that the 228i replaced, but it is still cramped quarters for adults.
- The trunk is quite small, especially in the convertible. You might be able to make do with the 13.8 cubic feet available in the coupe, but the 11.8 cubic feet of the convertible is hardly enough to handle luggage for an overnight trip for two.
The Most Pleasant Surprise
The 228i is an absolute blast to drive. What is truly amazing is that you can have brisk acceleration and incredible gas mileage. Not too many years ago numbers like the 228i’s would have been science fiction.
The Least Pleasant Surprise
The tiny trunk of the convertible will limit real-world functionality, but that really isn’t as much of a surprise. I mention it because the trunk is arguably the low point of an otherwise excellent vehicle.
The Bottom Line
Very few vehicles match BMW’s incredible driving dynamics. The 228i takes the formula a little further in the direction of value by offering a relatively affordable vehicle that offers excellent acceleration and fuel economy, which is no small task. There are certainly some compromises in the name of cost-cutting that make vehicles like the BMW 428i more appealing, but BMW’s entry-level coupe is quite remarkable on its own merits.