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2016 BMW 2 Series
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2016 BMW 2 Series Review
Nobody ever talks much about Abraham Lincoln’s sister. Big Sis was two years older than Abe, but while he became the great freer of slaves, she’s not really remembered at all. Such is the yoke of siblings of the great. BMW’s 228i is in a similar bind. The M235i is one of the greatest cars in the land, taking a spot on our 2015 10Best list, but, at a savings of $11,000, does the 228i get its fair share of the familial greatness?

Like the rest of the 2-series family, the 228i is built on bones derived from the F30-generation 3-series. It’s the follow-up to the 1-series coupe/convertible; the silhouette is similar, but the car is 2.5 inches longer, 1.0 inch wider, and stretched 1.2 inches between the axles. And, for 2015, all-wheel drive is available on this littlest BMW for the first time. (It was never offered on the 1.) On both the 228i and the M235i, xDrive is an $1800 option. A 240-hp 228i xDrive coupe is our first four-wheel-drive 2-series test car. As in all of its applications, the 2.0-liter four is surprisingly stout. It whips the little coupe to 60 mph in just 5.0 seconds—a tenth behind the rear-drive 228i. The AWD version’s quarter-mile exactly matches the rear-driver’s at 13.7 seconds and 101 mph. Auditory accompaniment is aggressively gruff, such that you expect to feel a coarseness but you don’t. It’s about as gnarly as this engine is going to get, and we like it. We also like how tidy the 2-series feels. It’s refreshing, in this age of bloat, to get into a car that actually feels compact. Its small size makes it feel as if you could steer the 2-series through your front door and into the living room, where you’d kick back on the couch and prop your heels on the BMW’s roof. BMW’s engineers might have had ottomans on the brain when they were tuning the 228i xDrive chassis, because it’s a bit more relaxed than we’d prefer. The steering is quick, but it’s also light and not particularly communicative. Skidpad grip, at 0.87 g, is sufficient for Sunday drives, but the 183-foot stop from 70 mph would have landed the 228i in last place in our most-recent minivan comparison test. Blame the low-rolling-resistance all-season rubber for that one, but credit fine chassis tuning for extracting otherwise respectable performance in spite of the tires. As it is, the 228i xDrive is so stable that it had us wishing for more power—say, the M235i’s 320-horse straight-six.

Reminiscent of classic BMW coupes of yore, the 2-series offers connected steering, rev-loving engines, and corner-hugging handling. (There’s a convertible, too.) The base engine is a 240-hp 2.0-liter turbo four; a Track Handling package adds an adaptive suspension and upgraded steering and brakes. The M235i (a 2016 10Best) has a 320-hp 3.0-liter turbo six. Transmission choices for all are either a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic. Rear-drive is standard; all-wheel drive is optional.
2016 BMW 2 Series 228i
Call:  1-800-851-9000 | 1-888-861-8080
Int'l: 1-561-862-5657 | 1-310-860-8986
Bodystyle:  2dr Car
Ext Color:  Melbourne Red Metallic
Int Color:  Black
Engine Description:  4 Cylinder Engine 2.0L
Transmission:  8-Speed A/T
Drivetrain:  Rear Wheel Drive
Item Number:  BMW228I1701
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