$24,253 - $42,904

2018 BMW 2-Series Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2018 BMW 2-Series was new.


Performance: 9.1

The 2018 BMW 2 Series is a genuinely sporty car, with precise steering and a well-tuned suspension system complementing each of the three engine choices. As you climb the trim levels, horsepower and performance increase. Unlike with many rivals, though, even the base engine provides satisfying acceleration.

  • "It's a joy to drive, whether for its exciting dynamics or just in your daily commute. Unlike some models in the class that sacrifice comfort for handling, the 2 Series delivers both at impressive levels." -- Edmunds
  • "The 2 Series feels thrillingly taut from the driver's seat, which is a welcome departure from BMW's increasing tendency toward luxury these days." -- Autotrader
  • "BMW's new 2016 M2 is a blast. Its powerband is broad and wide, with a reservoir of grunt that can compensate even if you miss a gear, and the standard 6-speed manual transmission remains stellar and is the one we recommend. … Off the track, where most M2's will reside, BMW's little beast is extremely pleasant. … Most impressive is how civilized the M2 is on the highway given its immense capabilities on the track." -- Kelley Blue Book (2016)

Acceleration and Power

A different engine accompanies each of the 2 Series' three available trim levels. Its base engine – powering the 230i – is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder. It may be rated at 248 horsepower, but it feels much more powerful. This is also the most efficient engine of the bunch. Its fuel economy rating of 24 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway is above average for a luxury small car.

The M240i comes with a turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine that cranks out 335 horsepower and a satisfying exhaust note. Both the 230i and M240i have the same gearbox options: An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard, and for no charge, you can upgrade to a six-speed manual transmission. There's no wrong choice here, as both feel smooth, and the automatic shifts quickly. Gas mileage on the M240i is rated at 21 mpg city/30 mpg highway.

The M2 is the most powerful edition in this lineup. Like the M240i, a turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine is under its hood, but special tuning produces a 365-horsepower rating. It has a fuel economy rating of 20/26 mpg and comes with the choice of a standard six-speed manual transmission or a $2,900 seven-speed dual-clutch automatic.

  • "The entry-level 4-cylinder engine feels like it's punching above its declared output numbers, per BMW's norm. As awesome as the M240i's engine feels (and sounds) at full throttle, it carries a premium of $10,500 in coupe form, and that may not be worth the few tenths of a second shaved from acceleration runs. The manual's shift action is superb, but the ultra-smooth automatic gets better fuel economy, which is something to keep in mind." -- Autotrader
  • "The 2.0-liter turbo engine gets the 2 Series up to 60 mph quicker than pretty much all of its rivals. Whether storming onto highways or just commuting, shifts from the eight-speed automatic transmission are quick and smooth." -- Edmunds
  • "BMW's turbocharged 2.0-liter is one of the best 4-cylinder engines on the planet. It's smooth and powerful, with 248 horsepower on tap for 0-60-mph blasts under six seconds, and efficient with a fuel-economy rating that reaches 35 mpg on the highway. It's the best of both worlds." -- Kelley Blue Book (2017)

Handling and Braking

The 2 Series is one of the sportiest cars both in its class and in this price range. Handling is precise, and the car maintains full composure, even when you're aggressively carving corners. The suspension has been cleverly tuned to keep body movements in check, yet it still absorbs road imperfections to keep the ride comfortable.

  • "The 2 Series is very responsive. Effort is light at slow speeds and weights up appropriately when going faster. Feedback is a little lacking, but the M steering wheel feels great in your hands." -- Edmunds
  • "Despite high-class cabin materials, the 2 Series leaves no doubt it's here to entertain. The ride is supple and refined, yet the focus is clearly on sharp responses – which makes it special, especially in light of its comparatively reasonable pricing." -- Autotrader
  • "Small, light and tossable, the 2017 BMW 2 Series is a true driver's car, reminiscent of the great rear-wheel-drive sports coupes that built the brand's reputation for performance. … From behind the wheel, the 230i and M240i are smile-makers, with power to spare and enough agility to satisfy any car lover. … In all cases, BMW combines the 2 Series' natural athleticism with high levels of quality and refinement, and the result is a very enjoyable car to drive. The 2 Series' tidy dimensions and tight turning radius also make it an easy car to live with in the city." -- Kelley Blue Book (2017)

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