$21,863 - $41,317

2016 BMW 2-Series Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2016 BMW 2-Series was new.


Performance: 8.7

Test drivers say the 2016 BMW 2-Series' base turbocharged four-cylinder engine offers ample power. While a stronger turbocharged six-cylinder engine is available, they agree that the base engine will satisfy the majority of drivers. They add that both the six-speed manual and eight-speed automatic transmissions offer smooth shifts. Fuel economy is also good for the class. Reviewers are thrilled with the BMW 2-Series’ exceptionally sharp handling, communicative steering and composure around corners.

  • "Its engines are relentlessly capable. … and its superb handling makes it perhaps the purest driver's car in BMW's lineup." -- Edmunds (2015)
  • "As the only rear-drive car in its class, it should come as little surprise that the BMW 2 Series coupe reigns supreme in the fun-to-drive department." -- Kelley Blue Book (2014)
  • "It's small and nimble, with the sort of performance-based ethos that the company has moved away from in recent years. Offered with a pair of fast yet frugal turbocharged engines, the 2 Series just might be the most engaging car BMW makes." -- AutoTrader (2014)

Acceleration and Power

The 2016 BMW 228i has a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 240 horsepower. The M235i comes with a 320-horsepower, turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine. Both engines are available with either a six-speed manual transmission or an eight-speed automatic. The EPA estimates that the 228i with the automatic transmission earns 23/35 mpg city/highway, which is good for an upscale small car.

For 2016, the BMW M2 is introduced, and it comes with a turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine that produces 365 horsepower and 343 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard and a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission is available. According to BMW, the M2 with a manual transmission accelerates from zero to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds and has a top speed of 155 mph.

Test drivers say the BMW 228i's turbocharged four-cylinder engine has ample power. While they agree that the available turbocharged six-cylinder engine packs more punch, reviewers say the base engine has more than enough power for most drivers. Test drivers report that the manual transmission offers direct throws and the automatic delivers silky shifts.

  • "The four-cylinder in the 228i proves that engines don't need outlandish horsepower or torque figures to provide a thrilling driving experience. The car feels so much more powerful than its 240-hp output suggests, and if you don't drive the M235i, you may not feel the need for its extra power. But step into that car and you're quickly reminded why BMW's inline-6 engines are among the all-time greats. … You really can't go wrong with either engine." -- Edmunds
  • "This spirited driving experience isn't reserved exclusively for the range-topping M 235i either, as the 240-horsepower 228i and its available 6-speed manual gearbox are more than capable of giving dedicated sports cars a run for their money." -- Kelley Blue Book (2014)
  • "Either way, we like the manual shifter's snick-snick throws, but the ultra-smooth automatic actually gets better fuel economy, so that's something to keep in mind." -- AutoTrader (2014)

Handling and Braking

Auto writers rave about the 2016 BMW 2-Series' superb handling and say there is very little body lean through tight turns. They note that its steering is responsive and provides good road feedback. However, a few critics point out that, at speed, the 2-Series cabin lets in some wind and road noise. The BMW 2-Series comes standard with rear-wheel drive, while all-wheel drive (xDrive) is optional.

  • "In normal driving situations, the 2 Series behaves like any other small luxury car. But when the road gets twisty, the 2 Series comes alive. Its precise steering inspires confidence, and we found not a hint of body roll even in the tight left-right transitions on our slalom test course." -- Edmunds
  • "With its 50/50 weight distribution, firm suspension tuning, and high stability-control threshold, the M235i has the responses of a cheetah." -- Popular Mechanics (2015)
  • "The electric power-steering system communicates more about the road surface than in the 4-series, which itself marked an improvement over the latest 3-series. More impressive is the M235i's balance, and the way it delivers just the right amount of body motion to let you know how hard it can be pushed." -- Car and Driver (2014)
  • "At highway speeds, the cabin is less immune to wind noise than the Audi A3 and Mercedes-Benz CLA, though neither of which can match the BMW when it comes to stability and overall ride compliance." -- Kelley Blue Book (2014)

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