Earlier this week, BMW made it official. The 1 series is out and the 2 series is in. Following the company’s newer nomenclature strategy of designating two door models with even numbers and four door models with odd numbers, the second generation 1 series coupe and convertible is becoming the 2 series.
The 2 series is slightly sleeker and sharper looking than its predecessor. Still sporting the characteristic BMW double kidney grill, Hofmeister kink in the back window, and dual-halo headlamps with eyebrows. The interior closely resembles that of the new 4 series; the newest evolution of BMW’s organic-looking blend of leather and technology which continues to yield a sense of user-friendly logic and intuitiveness.
Much like the base level of the newest 3 Series, the 228i touts a turbocharged 2 litre 4-cyclinder, which BMW says will get you to 60mph in just 5.4 seconds on 240 horsepower. The pricier M235i puts out 315 horsepower hits 60mph in a short 4.8 seconds with its 3 litre straight 6.
BMW knows its drivers like an involving experience; you can ditch the silky smooth 8-speed autobox for a 6 speed manual. Opt for the M235i with the manual box and your 2 Series will meet the formula referred to by BBC Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson, as “page 1, chapter 1 of the Petro-sexual Handbook.”
The 328i gets 22/36mpg city/highway, minus 2 or 3 mpg for the manual transmission. The M235i gets just 4 mpg less on the highway. The figures aren’t quite those of similarly sized compacts, but they are quite good for a car as athletic as the 2 Series.
The 2 Series will start at $32,025, which may seem an odd pricing decision on BMW’s part considering the sub-$30k competition coming from Audi’s A3 and Mercedes’ CLA sedans. The BMW is no doubt more performance oriented than the the A3 or CLA and shows that the company is more concerned with producing a quality vehicle, than building to a price; a formula that has kept the 3 Series as the gold standard for mid-sized luxury sedans for almost 40 years.
But do keep in mind that renaming the coupe as the 2 series, does open up the 1 Series badge to be attached to a sub-$30k sedan for 2017. Only time will tell if a 2017 BMW would be too late of an entry into the front-wheel-drive Audi-Mercedes knife fight over younger buyers. Though I would wager that most young people wanting a BMW do the same as I have, and simply step into a used 3 Series within their budget. Many will likely opt for the much cheaper front wheel drive Mini Cooper.
Expect the 2 Series to be available in early 2014, about the time the snow begins to melt and the cool asphalt begs for a rear-wheel drive compact-sports-coupe to burn rubber across its surface. This also gives those on a budget an opportunity to talk down the dealer price on the 1 Series they’ve been eyeing; though keep in mind the 2 Series is probably more than worth the price difference.
BMW Releases Its New 2 Series Coupe (New York Times)