Get your kicks: 2 Series now in SA
Picking up where the old 1 Series Coupé left off, the new BMW 2 Series Coupé is a two-door four-seater that's focused squarely on driving pleasure.
It's not, in any way, to be confused with the upcoming front-wheel drive 2 Series Active Tourer - the Coupé is thankfully based on the latest 1 Series and sends its ponies through the back wheels, thank you very much.
In keeping with BMW two-door tradition, this low-slung 2 Series boasts a classical three-box profile with its long bonnet, short overhangs and set-back passenger compartment.
Having just been launched in South Africa, it presents a choice between two petrol models - 220i and M235i - and a single diesel in the form of the 220d. Here's what BMW will charge you for one, before options:
PRICES (including CO2 tax)
220i - R378 257
220i AT - R395 436
220i Sports AT - R397 536
220d - R406 000
220d AT - R424 000
220d Sports AT - R426 100
M235i - R519 579
M235i Sports AT - R538 346
The three gearbox choices include six-speed manual, eight-speed automatic and an eight-speed sports automatic. The latter is tuned to deliver faster gear shifts and comes with a launch control function and flappy paddles on the steering wheel.
But what are these bad boys capable of?
All feature BMW TwinPower technology, meaning they're equipped with a twin-scroll turbocharger, direct injection and Double-Vanos variable camshaft control.
As the most attainable option, the 220i features BMW's two-litre four-cylinder that offers 135kW from 5000-6250rpm and 270Nm from 1250rpm, while the 220d (diesel) is credited with 135kW at 4000rpm and 380Nm from 1750rpm.
Firmly at the top of the pecking order is the M235i with a three-litre straight six capable of 240kW from 5800-6000rpm and 450Nm from 1300.
The 220i, BMW says, will run to 100km/h in 7.0 seconds and you can add 0.2sec in the case of the 220d. The M235i takes just 5.0sec in manual form and, thanks to the launch control, 4.8sec in automatic guise.
After wringing its neck on a speedway near Las Vegas recently, Jesse Adams of Star Motoring described the M235i's three-litre as an absolute jewel:
“It gushes torque from idle and pulls across a seemingly endless rev range with a wonderful wail only a high-revving straight-six can make.”
If we're talking economy, the 220d clearly takes the cake with EU 'lab test' combined consumption of 4.2 litres per 100km in automatic guise, while the 220i and M235i AT models drink 5.7 and 7.6 litres per 100km respectively.
Beneath this two-door sits a chassis featuring a generous helping of aluminium components while the five-link rear suspension layout and 50:50 weight distribution conspire to provide pin-sharp handling.
“Handling is exceptional,” Jesse exclaimed. “Around the Vegas racetrack the Coupé exhibited levels of grip that will doubtfully ever be tested by buyers on public roads.
“Turn-in is sharp and immediate, and from there corners can be rounded off with throttle inputs as the wheelbase is short enough to get the tail drifting around in a slightly wider arc than the nose - if the driver has the guts.”
M SPORT PACKAGE
The M Sport Package is standard on the M235i and optional on the 220i and 220d; it brings a sports suspension set-up to the party along with various interior and exterior design enhancements.
All models can also be ordered with Adaptive M suspension, which features electronically controlled dampers.
A whole glut of trim and electronic options are available to spruce up the interior, which is a bit more practical than before with 21mm more rear legroom, 19mm more headroom and a bigger boot that chomps 390 litres of luggage.
The options extend through various sound systems, navigation devices with 3D map display and apps that enable things such as web radio and social media access. And much more, and, and. But best you concentrate on what this car's really about.