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2020 BMW 2-Series Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 8.7

The 2020 BMW 2 Series ranks among the most athletic cars in the class. It offers several turbo-four and turbo-six engines, all of which provide quick acceleration and power to spare. This BMW is also nimble on winding roads and gets decent gas mileage. It also has a smooth ride over most surfaces.

  • "The 2019 BMW 2 Series follows the company's logic of the smaller the number, the smaller the car. But this is no less of a driver's machine because of its diminutive dimensions. On the contrary, there are fewer pounds to haul around compared with bigger cars, making the 2 Series responsive and agile. It's also well-balanced." -- Autotrader (2019)
  • "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 (2018)
  • From behind the wheel, the 230i and M240i are smile-makers, with power to spare and enough agility to satisfy any car lover. And for true high-performance enthusiasts, there's the 365-horsepower M2. 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." -- Kelley Blue Book (2017)

Acceleration and Power

Each 2 Series trim has a different powertrain, and there are no bad choices. Every engine in the lineup makes this BMW feel quick off the line and provides plenty of power for every driving situation. All engines are available with smooth-shifting automatic transmissions, and most offer a manual gearbox that driving purists will enjoy.

The base 230i features a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that puts out 248 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. You can choose between an eight-speed automatic transmission or a six-speed manual.

The all-new Gran Coupe 2 Series models also feature a 2.0-liter turbo-four. Power output depends on the trim you buy. You’ll get 228 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque in the 228i trim, and 301 horsepower and 331 pound-feet of torque in the M235i. Gran Coupe models are only available with the eight-speed automatic transmission.

The high-performance trims start with the M240i. It comes with a turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine that produces 335 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. According to BMW, the M240i will jet from zero to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds. That’s nearly a full second quicker than the base 230i can do it.

The M2 Competition features a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six that makes 405 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission comes standard, and a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic is available. This model is even faster than the M240i, with BMW reporting a zero-to-60 time of four seconds flat.

Finally, there's the new-for-2020 M2 CS. Based on the M2 Competition, the CS is the quickest, most-powerful 2 Series, zooming from zero to 60 mph in just 3.8 seconds thanks to its 3.0-liter twin-turbo six-cylinder engine, which puts out 444 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission comes standard, and a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic is available.

With the automatic transmission, the 230i coupe gets an EPA-estimated 24 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway. Those are decent ratings for the class. The M240i isn't quite as fuel-efficient, earning ratings of 22 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. The M2 Competition gets just 17/23 mpg city/highway.

  • "You can't go wrong with either of the engines in the 2-series. It gets bonus points for offering a manual transmission with both engines in addition to a well-coordinated eight-speed automatic transmission. The 230i's 248-hp turbocharged four-cylinder is always on call, responding quickly to your right foot with little to no turbo lag. The M240i is another story, and a lightning-quick one: its turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six sings a mechanical aria as it rockets the small coupe to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds." -- Car and Driver
  • "… [the 2 Series] is one of BMW's most engaging creations, whether powered by an eager turbocharged 4-cylinder engine or a sweet inline 6-cylinder engine." -- Autotrader (2019)
  • "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 (2018)

Handling and Braking

Simply put, this is one of the most fun-to-drive cars in the class. The 2 Series has sharp steering, a tight turning radius, and plenty of road grip, making it equally capable of navigating canyon switchback roads and busy streets. The ride is generally smooth, though it can start to feel unsettled over very rough pavement.

The 2 Series has four drive modes – Sport, Sport+, Comfort, and Eco Pro – that let you adjust the driving dynamics to your liking. Rear-wheel drive comes standard, and BMW's xDrive all-wheel-drive system is available. M models also feature an adaptive suspension.

  • "The 2-series handles itself with aplomb, thanks in part to its quick, accurate steering responses and its solid, capable chassis. The ride over uneven pavement is generally good, and passengers are isolated from most bumps by the firmly controlled suspension. … An adaptive suspension with adjustable shocks is standard in the M240i, and that, plus grippy summer tires, gives this car seriously responsive handling capability." -- Car and Driver
  • "The ride is supple and refined, yet the main focus is clearly on sharp responses -- which makes it special, especially in light of its comparatively reasonable pricing." -- Autotrader (2019)
  • "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 (2018)
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2020 BMW 2-Series

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