The last time we encountered the current generation BMW 2 Series was through the 220d diesel variant. It left us with mixed feelings over what BMW had done with the new vehicle. It felt lacking in engagement, unlike the previous generation which was engaging and rewarding to drive. We recently sampled the less fiery petrol variant (220i), and after a second bout in the ring with the model, we have a better understanding of what the Germans have done in this second iteration of the 2 Series.
A second glance
Undeniably, the current BMW 2 Series is still as polarising as the day it was released. We do, however, have s soft spot for it. Although angular in many places, the vehicle does have an appeal to it, more so when kitted with the standard M Sport body styling. With short overhangs, the BMW 2 Series looks like a compact and well-proportioned package. Adding a power bulge to the bonnet was a good move, albeit not being the menacing BMW M2 which is normally the sole bearer of the bonnet bulge. Like a lot of premium vehicles being produced nowadays, the current BMW 2 Series employs daytime running LED technology in its taillights, resulting in an ultra-modern look.
Interiors of the current crop of BMWs all look the same, however, we don't blame the Munich brand because this is a widespread practice in the motoring industry. The only distinguishing feature in this cabin is the lack of rear doors and limited rear passenger space. Practically, you could squeeze two humans in there, but it wouldn't be the same as being in an X3 or X5. Luggage space in coupe-style vehicles is always limited, but the new 2 Series offers a roomy trunk with enough room for a golf bag and a few pieces of luggage at nearly 400 litres.
We've always found it difficult to accept the new road manners from the current crop of Beamers. They've lost that "grab it by the scruff of the neck" feel, and instead, offer a refined driving experience. After spending time with the 220i and being constantly exposed to other vehicles of this ilk, we've become mildly desensitised and are embracing the new era of German engineering. It may not be rough around the edges or as engaging as its ancestors, but the current BMW 2 Series is adequately quick for the average driver and handles well. It has a decent level of suspension dampening, enough to avoid long-term back issues. It's a suitable daily driver with 135kW and 300Nm. The quoted average fuel consumption from BMW is 6.3l/100km, however, we didn't dabble much in the ECO PRO setting so our average consumption figure was around 10l/100km.
Between the three variants on offer (220i, 220d, M240i) the BMW 220i is the most accessible at R847 590. It's a hefty price to pay for a 2 Series, but you're essentially paying for all the standard features which include sports seats and M Performance body kit and styling.