By Otsile Kadiege
I recently jetted-off to the Mother City to sample one of BMW’s highly anticipated models the German automaker has in store for us this year– the second generation 2 Series Coupe. The newcomer has big shoes to fill as the model it replaces is highly praised in the motoring community. Codenamed G42, the new 2 Series Coupe boasts a radical new design, a familiar interior design, new technologies, frugal and powerful powertrains, as well as numerous other bits, and bobs to help improve performance.
Polarising exterior design
Upon arrivalat Cape Town International Airport, we headed to Automotion where we signed our lives away (haha just kidding) and were met by a fleet of new 2 Series Coupes. As is always the case, looks are subjective, but I quite like the new look despite its front and rear-end disconnect. Some stand-out features for me are the standard M Sport package, the style 797 M 19-inch wheels, its uncluttered side profile, angular LED headlamps and BMW’s signature snout with active air vents.
BMW also brought a M240i xDrive with M Performance Parts coated with an eye-catching Thundernight metallic paint, style 795M wheels and of course a carbon fibre M Performance body kit with M Performance decals.
Stepping inside the new 2 Series Coupe I was greeted with M door sills, door panels with patterned cut-outs and the optional model-specific illuminated M highlighters. The cockpit is a copy and paste from other models which isn’t a bad thing as good build quality, a minimalist design and a driver-focused layout has been carried over to the new 2 Series Coupe.
It has comfy sports seats which can be electronically adjusted to your perfect seating position and the M240i xDrive has its unique set of performance seats which look amazing in a toffee-like hue. Being a coupe model, rear legroom is inherently very limited. Its boot space is surprisingly quite large as it managed to accommodate four adults travel luggage and a few extra bags for camera gear.
At launch all three models(220i, 220d and M240i xDrive) were available to drive. Experience taught me to pick the least powerful of the bunch then, work my way up. So the 220i with 135 kW and 300 Nm coated in a neutral Alpine White coat was the one I chose. After escaping the buzzing streets of Cape Town, we traversed the Western Cape’s scenic routes giving us the opportunity to see what the baby 2 has to offer. The 220i impresses with its adequate power and willingness to poke its tail out when you want to have a bit of fun, however, the soundtrack is very disappointing. It’s planted through the bends, steering is direct and the suspension is compliant. There’s also minimal wind noise filtering into the cabin when traveling at highway speeds.
Sadly, I didn’t get the opportunity to sample the middle child – 220d but I’m told by my colleagues that it’s frugal and packs a decent punch.So next in line was the M240i xDrive. Riddled with excitement, I woke up bright and early to pick a Bernina Grey coated one. First thing I did was get inside and fire-up the much-loved 3.0 litre straight-six engine developing 285 kW and 500 Nm.
Its start-up sound is exhilarating thanks to its unmistakable bassy soundtrack accompanied by subtle burbles. Like its less powerful 220i the M240i steering is direct and perfectly weighted, it’s glued to the tarmac and more fun when going sideways. It’s rapid off the line thanks to BMW’s xDrive AWD and launch control systems.
Although most roads in the Cape are perfectly paved, a few imperfect roads were handled well by the M Adaptive suspension.
Does the new BMW 2 Series Coupe live up to our expectations? You betcha! Its opinion splitting looks and lack of bark in the 220i aside, the new 2 Series Coupe is one hell of a fun car. We are looking forward to our extended road test for a more in-depth analysis.
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