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The 2021 BMW 2 Series is, to say the very least, massive and impressive. You can choose between a Coupe, Gran Coupe, and the Convertible - all of which have a few different trim levels. With this many choices made available, how are you supposed to know which 2 Series model is the best one to buy?
Let's make one thing clear: The 2 Series is still relatively new. Its first line-up was introduced to the world back in 2014, and there has been no looking back from there. The 2 Series combines a strong fuel economy with a good amount of power. You also get the right balance of ride comfort and sporty handling from this luxury vehicle, regardless of which style you decide to buy.
The one thing you are going to be not-so-impressed by is the seriously cramped rear seat. The Coupe models are seriously small, and the drastically sloping roofline cuts way down on head room - a major problem for taller riders.
Still, you get to enjoy sitting in a well-designed cabin that is rich with standard features. And you get so many options for customization that the 2 Series can really become uniquely yours.
So, which 2 Series model is the absolute best for the average buyer? We will go through them one by one and, at the end of this trim level comparison review, announce which one we think holds the most value for you, the potential BMW customer.
Compare the 2021 BMW 2 Series 230i Coupe vs 230i xDrive Coupe. - What is the Difference?
The base trim level on the 2 Series is the 230i. On the Coupe, you can get it with standard front-wheel drive or the all-wheel drive version, known as the 230i xDrive. This powertrain is composed of a twin-turbo 2.0-L inline-4 cylinder engine that generates 248 hp. The engine has auto start/stop. You also get an 8-speed Sport automatic transmission with Sport and Manual shift modes. There is also electronically controlled engine cooling and electronic throttle control.
There is also power steering assist, Dynamic Stability Control, a front suspension that is strut-type and double-pivot spring in design. The rear suspension is five-link fully independent.
The exterior of the 2 Series Coupe features 17-inch bi-color double-spoke wheels with all-season tires equipped. You can take your choice of several non-metallic paint options, a high gloss black kidney frame, and chrome-line exterior trim.
On the inside, you get treated to cozy SensaTec upholstery, an anthracite headliner, pearl gloss chrome highlight with the high gloss black interior trim, and floor mats. There are also a number of connectivity features, such as BMW TeleServices, Apple CarPlay comparability (although there is no connectivity through Android Auto), BMW ConnectedDrive Services, and advanced real time traffic data.
The 230i has a standard 7-speaker HiFi Sound System with a 205-watt digital amplifier. AM/FM, HD Radio, and SiriusXM Satellite Radio all get included in order to meet your music-loving needs. Also, the instrumentation cluster should come off as being user-friendly. It features a 3-spoke leather-wrapped steering wheel that has multiple controls mounted onto it, USB audio connectivity with hands-free Bluetooth for audio streaming, Dynamic Cruise Control, a Sport Line motif-ed key fob, a defroster for the rear window, a tire pressure monitoring system, and BMW Business Navigation with an iController and 6.5-inch hi-res screen.
Of course, BMW does not skimp on the creature comforts. The base trim gives you a ton of storage options (including configurable under-floor storage in the cargo area), a center armrest up front, a locking glovebox, an electric interior release for the trunk, Advanced Vehicle & Key Memory (which stores the most recently used settings for things like the radio and climate control temperature), one-touch auto up/down on the power front windows, and 10-way power-adjustable front seats with 2-way power side bolsters. You also get three 12-volt power outlets.
Expect to find a lot of standard safety features too. The base trim gets Active Driving Assistant, a suite that bundles lane departure warning and front collision warning. The vehicle also has programmable LED daytime running lights, a rear-view camera, BMW Assist eCall, front and rear park distance control, and LED headlights and fog lights.
For the most part, the xDrive has the same specs and features. It does, of course, add all-wheel drive. That is essentially the only difference you will find.
Compare the 2021 BMW 2 Series 240i xDrive Coupe vs M240i Coupe. - What is the Difference?
The big step up happens with the M240i Coupe. The M240i gets upgraded to a 3.0-L BMW M twin-turbo inline-6 cylinder, 24-valve engine that generates 335 hp. It is paired with an 8-speed Sport automatic transmission, and a Sport exhaust system gets added on as well. Handling and steering get amped up with a number of upgrades. This includes variable sport steering, the adaptive M suspension, and M Sport brakes.
The M240i rides atop 18-inch M doubles-poke jet black wheels that come with performance tires. An aerodynamic kit is standard, as is shadowline exterior trim, high gloss black mirror caps, and a Cerium Grey kidney frame. Inside, the trim gets upgraded to an Aluminum Hexagon style with Estoril Blue highlighting.
Creature comforts get upped as well, as there is an advanced climate control system, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, special BMW ambient lighting, Comfort Access keyless entry, a 2-way power glass moonroof with one-touch operation and a sliding sunshade, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and 4-way power lumbar support on the front seats.
Compare the 2021 BMW 2 Series M240i Coupe vs M240i xDrive Coupe. What is the Difference?
As you can probably guess, the M240i xDrive Coupe is basically the same as the M240i, save for the fact that it has all-wheel drive. Otherwise, there are no significant differences. You will just have to pay a few thousand dollars more for all-wheel drive capability.
Compare the 2021 BMW 2 Series M240i xDrive vs 230i Convertible. - What is the Difference?
The next big change is going from the Coupe to the Convertible, which has a base trim called the 230i. This trim level is powered by the 2.0-L engine and 8-speed Sport automatic transmission. It essentially has all of the same driving dynamics as the base Coupe. It shares the same wheels and exterior design, save for the fact that it is a convertible.
As you can imagine, the interior is similar to the base Coupe too. The same seats, connectivity features for infotainment, sound system, and creature comforts are all packed in here. There is a nifty through-loading system that is added on.
Compare the 2021 BMW 2 Series 230i Convertible vs 230i xDrive Convertible. What is the Difference?
Naturally, you can expect for the 230i xDrive Convertible to be almost exactly the same as the front-wheel drive variant. Just bear in mind that the all-wheel drive upgrade will take the price tag up by a few thousand dollars, and that's really all that you are paying to get upgraded here.
Compare the 2021 BMW 2 Series 230i xDrive Convertible vs M240i Convertible. What is the Difference?
The M240i is, as you should reasonable expect, a Convertible version of the one that comes on the Coupe. You get the sturdy and powerful 3.0-L engine with the Sport exhaust system, 8-speed Sport automatic transmission, variable Sport steering, adaptive M suspension, and 18-inch wheels. A black softtop is the key difference here, and it looks chic paired with the Aluminum Hexagon interior trim and SensaTec upholstery.
The creature comforts are essentially the same as what you find in the Coupe variant, as you get everything from the BMW ambient interior lighting package to the cozy 4-way power lumbar support on the front seats. The through-loading system gets tacked on, and you also get a wind deflector to keep wind interference to a minimum as you cruise.
A rollover protection system gets added to the Convertible, but you will find that all of the standard safety features otherwise remain the same.
Compare the 2021 BMW 2 Series M240i Convertible vs M240i xDrive Convertible. What is the Difference?
We probably do not need to reiterate that the xDrive is the all-wheel drive variant of the M240i Convertible. But, again, you will find that all other features on these two variants are essentially the same. Your choice between them will ultimately depend on whether or not you feel more secure with having all-wheel drive or sticking with front-wheel drive.
Compare the 2021 BMW 2 Series M240i xDrive Convertible vs 228i xDrive Gran Coupe. What is the Difference?
Now, we come to the Gran Coupe trims. The 228i xDrive Gran Coupe trim is up first. This vehicle is powered by the 2.0-L twin-turbo engine that generates 228 hp and comes with the 8-speed Sport automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is standard, and an ARB (an actuator-related wheel slip limiter) Traction Control system gets added to the mix.
17-inch multi-spoke wheels come equipped, and they feature style 546 all-season run-flat tires. The chrome kidney frame and satin aluminum exterior trim give the Gran Coupe an air of distinction from the standard Coupe. The gorgeous illuminated Berlin trim on the interior only adds to the sense of sporty luxury.
This trim level does upgrade you to the Connected Package Plus. This means that you get advanced real-time traffic readouts as well as BMW Remote Services (which includes Stolen Vehicle Recovery, Concierge Services, Remote Door Lock/Unlock, and the BMW Connected App). A 10-speaker sound system also gets swapped in.
Live Cockpit Plus gets inserted into the fray as well, giving you a huge 8.8-inch instrument cluster in addition to the 8.8-inch touchscreen display for the infotainment system (the iDrive 6.0). You can choose to voice-operate this system, use the iController pad, or simply utilize the touchscreen - it's up to you. The 32 GB of multimedia storage is certainly sufficient, and you can get over-the-air (OTA) map data updates four times per year. There are also four USB audio connections that you can use.
Dual-zone automatic climate control gets inserted in place of the single-zone system on the other trim levels. The rear seat is 40/20/40-split folding with through-loading. The rear seat headrests also fold flat.
With safety in mind, BMW adds more driver aids to its suite. You get speed limit data, active blind spot detection, and city collision mitigation added into the Active Driving Assistant system. Automatic high beams are also standard on the 228i xDrive Grand Coupe.
Compare the 2021 BMW 2 Series 228i xDrive Gran Coupe vs M235i xDrive Gran Coupe. What is the Difference?
Finally, we have the line-topping, super-chic-and-sporty M235i xDrive Grand Coupe. The M235i is equipped with basically everything you could want in a luxury coupe. Its 2.0-L engine is tweaked to get 301 hp, giving it a ton of power. It has M Sport brakes, ARB Traction Control, the M Sport suspension, M Sport steering wheel, and a Torsen Limited slip Differential.
On the outside, this trim level is distinguished by its 18-inch M double-spoke bi-color wheels, aerodynamic kit, rear spoiler, Cerium Gray mirror caps, and a matching kidney frame. The interior is decked out in breathable, soft, luxurious Dakota leather upholstery with the illuminated Boston trim throughout the cabin.
Tech-wise, it has almost entirely the same set of standard features as the 228i. Do not expect to see any real differences there. The main emphases here are the mechanical and aesthetic designs.
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Which Trim to Choose?
Whew! The 2021 BMW 2 Series sure does give buyers a lot of options to choose from. You can basically customize this vehicle to fit your needs. But which trim is going to be the most appealing to the average buyer?
We have to hand it to the base 230i Coupe (both the front- and all-wheel drive variants) for packing a lot in. The engine is powerful but not overwhelming, and you get a lot of standard features for the price. While a few driver aids are lacking, they are not totally necessary. Pick out a few optional add-ons, and you can make the 230i Coupe truly, uniquely yours.
• Compare the 2020 BMW 2-Series Trim Levels