Gratuitous BMW i8 shots to get you over the hump.
Everything you need, nothing you don’t.
Story By: Will Sabel Courtney
*European model shown.*
Press cars normally show up laden down with as many froo-froo features as your average cruise ship. Which, admittedly, makes sense—auto makers like to show off their new cars at their best, so they give journalists the chance to monkey around with all the cool new features setting their car apart. And we journalists certainly aren’t going to complain—not if it means we get to play with bazillion-watt Burmeister stereos, ventilate our butts with cooled seats, and see how well adaptive suspensions handle speed bumps at 35 miles an hour.
But most people don’t buy cars with every option on the checklist. They pick out the options they need, weed out the stuff they don’t, and pick a car thusly equipped. (Okay, most people actually go to the dealership and say, “I like that one that’s $400 a month, do you have it in blue?” But let’s pretend.) Which means the cars journalists drive can become…well, less than representative of the versions most people are driving home.
So kudos to BMW for sliding this minimally-optioned 2 Series into the fleet. Assuming, as BMW does, you count the xDrive AWD system as a trim level, my 228i showed up with four options: Valencia Orange paint ($500), heated seats ($500), brushed aluminum trim (also $500), and the Track Handling Package ($2,200), which teams up M Sport brakes, sport steering and the adaptive M suspension. Add in $950 for destination, and this little Bimmer scoots out the door at $38,600.
And I wouldn’t spend a penny more.
You could, mind you. Check every box, you could jack this little BMW’s sticker up to $52,000 or more. But all the inherent goodness, all that makes the 2 Series special, it’s all right there at $38K. I didn’t miss the xenon headlamps, the navigation system (the car still comes with a screen, you just can’t pull up a map on it), the rearview camera, or the satellite radio. I didn’t even miss having real leather; the SensaTec (not to be confused with SansaTec, which is what the eldest Stark daughter uses to check her Facebook page) feels as soft as the leather in most entry-level cars, and it’ll wear better over the years.
I didn’t even miss having a bigger engine. Granted, the M235i is one hell of a Bavarian star fighter, but it seems almost laughable to cram 320 horses and 330 lb-ft of straight-six into a car whose size and shape remind me of nothing so much as the Honda Civic coupe I had in high school. The 228i’s turbocharged four may have a bit of a direct injection clatter at idle, but punch the gas, and the littlest 2 Series takes off like it forgot it was supposed to be the wimpy one in the family.
One thing I did miss, though? A stick shift. I’ve gotten used to cars coming sans manual in this day and age, but little sports coupes just feel incomplete without a good old-fashioned stick. (BMW offers one on the 228i, but opting for that means going rear-wheel-drive.) Still, the eight-speed automatic is about as good as torque converter autos get—quiet and economical in normal operation, but smart and fast-acting in sport mode. And if you wanna shift for yourself, the paddles behind the wheel work just fine.
Other than that, though, it’s hard to think of a more well-rounded sports coupe at this price point. It runs from 0-60 in the fives and gets 35 miles to the gallon on the highway. It has a comfortable, well-made interior—something increasingly rare in sub-$40K sports cars. It’s got all-wheel-drive traction—no substitute for snow tires in true winter weather, but always a plus for grip—but still has that old-school BMW fun-to-drive flavor that’s occasionally lacking in modern-day Bimmers. And it drives like the car you always wanted when you were beginning to love to drive: sopping up bumps but constantly telling you about the road below; holding the line predictably through turns; fast enough to be fun, but not so fast as to overwhelm. Simply put—it’s a blast.
The back seat’s small, but that makes sense—it’s a small car, small cars have small interiors, QED. The rear’s still big enough to fit a pair of people in a pinch—or a ton of luggage for the two people in front. The front seats have no such problem, though; let them eat up all the rear legroom, and they’ll accommodate even the lankiest bodies with ease.
The plus size of its small size, though? The 2 Series is damn easy to park. Like I said, I didn’t miss the rearview camera; the car’s small enough to slide into just about any space on the street. And going small doesn’t mean sacrificing style, either. If anything, the 2 Series’s taut, tiny proportions harken back to some of the most iconic BMWs in history—the 2002, the E30 3 Series, and so forth. Don’t let that soccer mom in the X5 make you insecure; you’re the one in the real Bimmer.
At the end of the day, the 228i is all about balance, baby. Not just in the corners (though it has that in spades), but in life. It’s got the grip of an SUV with the zip of a sports coupe. It’s got the looks of a luxury car and the price of a regular car. It’s the kind of car you buy if you’re unmarried, love to drive, and love a good brand, but need something that can handle long trips and any weather.
Hey, that’s me.
Price as Tested: $38,600
0-60: 5.2 secs (est)
Power: 240 hp, 255 lb-ft
Fuel Economy: 23 city, 35 hwy
Miles Driven: 250
One will no longer be the loneliest number.
Almost two million units of the BMW 1 Series have been sold worldwide over the last ten years, and this latest edition is poised to set another new benchmark in driving pleasure in the premium compact segment. The new 3-door and 5-door BMW 1 Series models come with a comprehensively revised engine line-up and additional measures designed to reduce fuel consumption and emissions, allowing them to lead the way once again in the introduction of new BMW EfficientDynamics technology.
The selection of engines available for the new BMW 1 Series model range has been enhanced by the addition of latest-generation petrol and diesel units with three and four cylinders. The torquey and high-revving engines with BMW TwinPower Turbo technology team up with rear-wheel drive – still a unique selling point in the compact segment – to deliver a suitably intense driving experience. And an even broader spread of standard equipment, an output boost for the six-cylinder in-line engine powering the BMW M135i M Performance Automobile and cutting-edge innovations from BMW ConnectedDrive also imbue the brand’s hallmark characteristics with renewed vigour.
Modified exterior and interior design includes familiar BMW styling cues underlining sports performance and premium characteristics.
Carefully considered updates to the exterior design of the new BMW 1 Series shine the spotlight on its sporting elegance and high-end presence. A newly designed BMW kidney grille and larger air intakes help to emphasise the car’s dynamic potential in familiar BMW style. Headlights with a significantly flatter geometry play a similar role. They come with LED daytime driving lights as standard and can now be specified in full-LED specification as an option. The rear lights have also been completely remodelled. They now display the “L” shape characteristic of BMW models and reveal LED-powered lights. Elsewhere, the sophisticated design of the upper centre console with the controls for the radio and climate control system is foremost in accentuating the premium ambience on board the new BMW 1 Series.
Automatic air conditioning, BMW Radio Professional and BMW iDrive fitted as standard; new equipment variants.
Standard equipment for the new BMW 1 Series model range now also features automatic air conditioning, a rain sensor, the BMW Radio Professional and the iDrive operating system, complete with a high-resolution 6.5-inch display integrated in the instrument panel as a freestanding monitor. And the Advantage, Sport Line, Urban Line and M Sport packages available as an alternative to standard specification provide fresh scope for targeted individualisation.
New generation of engines, new benchmarks in efficiency.
An extensively updated line-up of engines and extended BMW EfficientDynamics technology ensure that the new BMW 1 Series model range once again sets new standards in its class by further reducing fuel consumption and emissions. BMW 1 Series customers will now be offered three- and four-cylinder power units from the BMW Group’s new engine family. The new efficiency pacesetter in the brand’s model range is the BMW 116d EfficientDynamics Edition with 85 kW/116 hp and average fuel consumption of 3.4 litres/100 kilometres (83.1 mpg imp) combined with CO2 emissions of 89 g/km in the EU test cycle.
As an alternative to the standard six-speed manual gearbox, there is the option of an eight-speed Steptronic transmission (standard in the BMW 125d, BMW 120d xDrive and BMW M135i xDrive). The latest version of the automatic unit now also offers transmission management supported by navigation data.
A 5 kW increase in output (to 240 kW/326 hp) from its six-cylinder in-line engine allows the new BMW M135i (average fuel consumption: 8.0 litres/100 km [35.3 mpg imp]; CO2 emissions combined: 188 g/km) to strengthen its position as the elite sports performer in the BMW 1 Series’ competitive segment. Like the BMW 120d and BMW 118d, the BMW M Performance Automobile can also be specified with the intelligent all-wheel-drive system xDrive which, as well as serving the causes of traction and directional stability, also enhances the car’s dynamics. The new BMW M135i xDrive (average fuel consumption: 7.8 litres/100 km [36.2 mpg imp]; CO2 emissions combined: 182 g/km) sprints from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in just 4.7 seconds.
Sophisticated chassis technology, Tyre Pressure Indicator fitted as standard.
Advanced chassis technology teams up with rear-wheel drive and an almost perfect (50 : 50) distribution of weight between the front and rear axles to give the new BMW 1 Series unmistakable handling traits headlined by agility and dynamic excellence. Options include adaptive suspension, M Sport suspension, Variable Sports Steering and an M Sport braking system. A Tyre Pressure Indicator showing each individual wheel is now part of the standard specification.
New assistance systems and services from BMW ConnectedDrive.
The selection of optional driver assistance systems from BMW ConnectedDrive available for the BMW 1 Series now also includes the radar-based Active Cruise Control system with Stop & Go function. The latest-generation Parking Assistant now enables parallel parking in tight spaces restricted either by two obstacles or on one side only, as well as automatic transverse parking. Features such as the camera-based Driving Assistant, rear-view camera and Speed Limit Info system with No Passing Info display can also be specified.
All models in the new BMW 1 Series line-up come as standard with an embedded SIM card, which allows use of the likewise standard Intelligent Emergency Call and BMW TeleServices functions, as well as access to optional internet-based mobility services. In addition to BMW Online and Real Time Traffic Information, customers can also enjoy the Online entertainment function. Further online services can be integrated into the car using smartphone apps and operated safely, intuitively and conveniently via the iDrive system. Meanwhile, the new Navigation system Professional also offers automatic map updating by mobile phone via the embedded SIM card, which is free of charge to customers for the first three years following registration of the car.