The 2 Series Coupé’s 2.0-litre diesel engine is available in three outputs, badged 218d, 220d and 225d. The 220d is the most popular and offers impressive performance, so you needn’t fork out extra for the 225d. It is worth paying extra for the excellent eight-speed automatic gearbox (standard on the 225d), though. It works well with the engine to provide prompt and gutsy responses when you need them, while keeping things smooth and easy-going the rest of the time.
The petrol engines are all turbocharged and include 1.5-litre three-cylinder and 2.0-litre four-cylinder units, the latter of which is available in two outputs. They’re reasonably strong, but have to be worked harder than the diesels to access their performance.
The handling of rear-drive models is very good but set up for safety. If you enter a corner too quickly, the front tyres are more likely to run wide of your chosen line than the car is to snap sideways and catch you out. That’s not to say it isn’t fun; the 2 Series has pointy-feeling handling that encourages spirited driving, while the steering is light and pleasingly direct. You can add four-wheel drive (badged xDrive) to the 220d model, but we haven’t tried it yet.
The 2 Series rides comfortably on the UK’s pockmarked roads. In fact, even the sporty M240i is surprisingly supple over poorer surfaces, so you don’t need to add the optional adaptive dampers to enjoy a well-resolved ride and handling balance. However, don’t order the bigger optional alloys on M Sport models unless you add the adaptive dampers, because you could find the ride quite brittle.
BMW’s four-cylinder diesel engines might be great for performance, but they're less impressive when it comes to refinement – and the 2 Series Coupé is no exception. The unit in the 220d settles down once it's warmed up, but it's too noisy generally and you feel too much vibration through the pedals and gearknob. The petrol engine in the M240i makes a great noise when you want it to, but fades away when cruising. There's a fair amount of wind noise from around the front pillars on all models.