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Since its inception in 2014, the BMW 2 Series has been a popular choice among buyers looking for a reasonably priced luxury vehicle. Whether you get it as the Coupe or Convertible, the base trim or the M240i, rear- or all-wheel-drive, you're in for quite a treat.
The 2 Series is due for a total overhaul next year, as it launches into the second generation for 2022. But the 2021 BMW 2 Series is still an exceptional buy if you have the money to spend. With its impressive fuel economy and powerful engine options, the 2 Series provides a sporty ride that is all-around enthralling.
The only real drawback? The cramped back seats. It is hard to expect rear seats in this segment to be spacious, but the 2 Series' rear seat is even more cramped than you might expect.
But what else makes the 2 Series so much fun to drive? Why might you want to think twice about buying it? Read on through to the end of this review to find out.
What's New for 2021?
Nothing much is new for 2021. The only changes you might see are the cosmetic ones, and they are tough to discern from last year's design. BMW is saving the big changes for next year's 2022 2 Series line-up.
Top 10 Reasons to Buy a 2021 BMW 2-Series – The Pros
1. The Engine Options Create a Ton of Power
The 2021 BMW 2 Series gives you two strong engine options to choose from. On the base 230i trim level, you get a 2.0-L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that generates 248 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. This is a swift little engine that works in conjunction with a standard 8-speed automatic transmission that sends the power generated to the rear wheels. But if that is not enough, there is a 3.0-L inline-6 cylinder on the M240i trim level that gets 335 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque.
These engines provide ample enough power to get the 2 Series to 60 mph quicker than most rivals. In fact, the engines' 0-60 times are 5.2 and 5.3 seconds, which are both excellent showings for this segment.
2. Excellent Fuel Economy
As if the engine options weren't desirable enough based on their power outputs, they both get fantastic fuel economies for this segment. The 230i Coupe with RWD gets 27 mpg combined (with 24 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway). With AWD equipped instead, this number drops to 24 combined mpg. For being such a sporty little vehicle, it puts forth a good showing with engines that do not guzzle gas.
3. The Optional M Sport Adaptive Suspension
There is an optional M Sport adaptive suspension available if you really want to amp things up. It does a thorough job of balancing comfort with sport, never coming off as being too stiff - a problem that some suspensions in this segment struggle to overcome. With superb handling and a ton of comfort, the M Sport adaptive suspension provides one exciting ride.
4. Solid Braking Capabilities
The 2 Series' standard brakes work well at coming to a secure stop. However, the M Sport brakes do even better. With the sticky summer tires equipped, the 2 Series can come to a stop from 60 mph in just 111 feet. Most vehicles in this segment cannot top that number. Overall, the brakes are strong and will keep you feeling safe as you modulate them.
5. The Steering and Handling
Steering and handling are true highlights on the 2 Series. The steering is highly responsive, giving the driver plenty of feedback through the wheel. At slower speeds, the steering feels light and easy. The more you speed up, the more the weight builds up in a totally appropriate manner. If you get the M steering wheel, you will notice how well-weighted it feels in your hands.
Handling is equally superb. Take it through some sharp turns; you can zip through them without an issue. When you flip it into Sport Mode Plus, the vehicle's stiffened suspension settings return a lot of info to the driver, which serves to enhance the experience. Also, stability control helps build that enthralling drive you expect from a BMW.
6. A Comfortable Ride Quality
The 2021 BMW 2 Series does not trade comfort for sport. Instead, it evokes a serious sense of comfortable luxury. The vehicle is incredibly well-mannered in everyday driving scenarios when you have it in Eco Pro or Comfort Mode. The standard suspension is just soft enough to allow for a lot of comfort, and the adaptive suspension can certainly be adjusted for comfort.
7. A Quiet Cabin
The cabin remains quiet throughout your ride. Take it up to highway speeds and you will barely hear any wind. Road noise also remains at a minimum. The engine gets appropriately growly when you revv it up, but it otherwise stays nice and silent. You won't have to crank your music up to hear it since the whole cabin is well insulated.
8. User-friendly Features
BMW equips the 2 Series with some user-friendly features. They are high-tech, sure, but not confusing. The controls are all smartly placed and are clearly labeled. There is no guesswork as to what everything does. While the iDrive system takes a little bit of time to figure out, once you get it, it becomes second-nature.
9. A High-quality Design
BMW does not disappoint with its use of high-quality interior materials. Everything seems to be well constructed and made to endure. You won't find any unsightly gaps between the panels or hear any odd rattling sounds while you drive. Plus the trim and upholstery options look chic and sporty - as they should.
10. Plenty of Cargo Space
The amount of cargo space is actually above the class average. The Gran Coupe gets a solid 15.1 cubic feet of cargo space, which is considerably large for a luxury sports coupe. Getting items in and out is overall pretty easy too.
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Reasons Not to Buy a 2021 BMW 2-Series – The Cons
1. The Cramped Rear Seat
The biggest issue that people might take with the 2021 BMW 2 Series is its cramped rear seat. Of course, you probably won't expect it to be anything too cavernous due to its class, but the rear seat is small even by segment standards. Two adults will feel crammed in back there, and taller riders will feel like their heads are too close to the roof of the Coupe. The seat cushions are really low and are basically best suited for children.
2. Some Difficulties Entering and Exiting the Vehicle
Getting in and out of the 2 Series can be a bit tricky. Entering and exiting the front seats is fairly simple since this is a smaller sized vehicle. But the rear seats are a different story. Kids and smaller adults will be okay to get in and out of the rear, but average or larger sized adults will have some trouble. The only issue front seat occupants might have is the lengthy reach backward to grab the seat-belts and bring them back over their laps.
3. The Options Get Pricey
While this is a minor gripe that can be avoided, the 2 Series has a lot of optional packages that, when tacked on, can get pretty pricey. The Prmeium Package is basically a 'must-have' on the 230i, but you might also want to equip more of the driver aid add-ons as those feel a little bit sparse in the standard list.
4. The Upcoming Overhaul
Let's face it, the 2022's overhaul is going to be really enticing as it brings a lot of changes to the 2 Series. Some drivers might want to wait until its release to decide whether they want to buy a brand-new 2 Series. A prototype has already been spotted, and its muscular exterior design already suggests a greater emphasis on sporty performance.
How it Stacks Up to the Competition:
2021 BMW 2 Series vs. 2021 Audi A5
The 2021 Audi A5 delivers a luxurious interior design that doesn't feel over-the-top. Instead, it is classy with an emphasis on comfort. The powertrain puts forth a solid performance too, and you get a vehicle that is equipped with a lengthy list of standard infotainment features and driver aids.
The one big drawback on the A5 is that its interior storage space feels restricted. Small item storage areas are not as large as they could be, and they are not as plentiful in number as you should expect to find inside of a luxury vehicle.
2021 BMW 2 Series vs. 2021 Mercedes-Benz A-Class
The 2021 Mercedes-Benz A-Class brings a lot to the table in terms of luxury. The A-Class was just introduced in 2019 and has been well received. The MBUX infotainment system is probably one of the most user-friendly systems that you will find in a luxury vehicle right now, acting as the cherry on top of a chic interior design. The engine's performance is not too shabby either.
The pitfalls? You will notice more wind noise in the A-Class than in the 2 Series. Also, some of its driver aids are more sensitive than they should be, issuing false warnings.
The 2021 BMW 2 Series is a classy vehicle with a lot of power behind it. While you get the typical issues inherent in its class (especially limited space), they are outweighed by the spunky performance the vehicle provides its riders. However, serious buyers might want to hold off one more year for the second generation to make its debut.
• Why buy a 2020 BMW 2-Series? w/ pros vs cons