As one of the last remaining rear-wheel-drive models left within the BMW fold, except for the vicious M240i with xDrive, the new regular 2 Series Coupe still makes absolute sense in an era where RWD products are becoming a thing of the past.
Befitting examples are the new BMW 220d and 220i coupe models that channel their entire power to the rear axle, sadly, the same can no longer be said with the M240i coupe which has now adopted the xDrive all-wheel-drive system that ensures maximum grip. Yes, you need that for extra safety – if you can just imagine what 300 kW wholly sent to the rear axle would do, well, for the unskilled.
Although it shares its name with the 2 Series Gran Coupe that utilises a front-wheel-drive system, it’s not really related as far as core-DNA is concerned.
And Speaking of the 220d, we spent time at the helm of this car and well, pictures don’t exactly do it any justice. While it may look a tad smaller from a distance, it has grown by 105 mm in exterior length, 64 mm in width and is 28 mm lower than its forebearer.
Looks can be subjective, sure, but personally, BMW did a good job of honing the 220d with a fresh and modern design complemented by single round headlight clusters inspired by the iconic 2002 model. This gives it a presence for something relatively compact and eliminates the somewhat controversial oversized nostrils.
If you are familiar with the interior of the BMW 4 Series, the 220d borrows heavily from it. You get the same cockpit that is neatly angled towards the driver as well as a similar combination of the 12.3” instrument cluster and 10.25” touchscreen.
All of that is within a well-built interior that boasts impressive quality. For me, the BMW 220d coupe fits my lifestyle to a tee but the missus had a few complaints about the cramped space in the rear. The rear seat accessibility factor is also not ideal since you have to pull a lever in order to roll the front seats forward to get access. Meanwhile, the boot space is relatively generous at 390 litres, 20-litres increase over that of the outgoing 2 Series coupe.
Being the sole oil-burner model offered in the 2 Series fold, the 220d packs a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine with 140 kW and 400 Nm of torque. The powerplant offers a great balance between sportiness and efficiency – offering both in substantial quantities.
With all the oomph channelled exclusively to the rear axle, you can still provoke a happy tail thanks to the linear power delivery. On the open road, the 220d cruises with so much aplomb and refinement that it is indeed suitable to daily use. In its sporty setting, the suspension becomes firm, sure, but not to such an extent that it compromises ride quality.
Overall, the 2 Series has benefited substantially from the 4’s architecture and is bestowed with great road manners, superb cornering prowess and it’s not a surprise to note that it’s a pure choice for those seeking RWD fun combined with decent comfort.
As a great offering that delivers a potent blend of performance and efficiency, the 220d carries a price tag of R820,000. That, if I am honest, leaves a significant dent in your wallet but is still considerably more affordable than its 420d sibling which brings with it enhanced space and a more mature stance which costs R125,000 more while its M240i xDrive stablemate breaches the one bar mark at R1,050,000.
The diesel powertrain, however, stands out as a frugal unit with an average consumption over the test period of 6.8l/100 km without even trying to do the eco stuff. This should save buyers big bucks in the long run if they don’t look to constantly exploit the generous torque. Who needs a petrol car in this day and age anyway?
The market for subcompact executive cars still exists and the BMW 220d offers a superb balance if efficiency and performance remain at the top of your want-list. With all the options ticked, the 220d makes for an irresistible all-rounder product but if it's too small for your liking, its grown-up sibling, the BMW 420d exists to fulfil a much more spacious purpose.