The 2-series reminds us of the great BMW 3-series coupes and sedans of the past. Compact, solid, nimble, and quick—make that ripsnorting fast with the uplevel six-cylinder engine—the 2-series is a link to when Bimmers felt as if they were designed exclusively to delight enthusiastic drivers.

The 2-series comes in two flavors: the zesty 248-hp 230i and the jalapeño-hot 335-hp M240i. With two satisfying engines, available manual transmissions, well-executed automatics, and a choice between rear- and all-wheel drive, the 2-series is a comprehensive take on the entry-luxury sports coupe. While competitors such as the Audi A3 focus on providing the newest tech and safety gadgets to their entry-level customers, the littlest BMW aims to deliver on the brand’s sporting rep—and largely succeeds. We wouldn’t say no to more modern active safety equipment or richer interior materials at this price point, but their absence won’t keep us from enjoying the ride. Count us among the faithful.

HIGHS

A pair of truly great engines, big fun to drive, looks every bit a BMW.

LOWS

Cramped back seat, behind the active-safety curve, interior is plain for the price.

VERDICT

Small and relatively affordable (for a BMW) and a good way for Bimmerphiles to get their fix.

What’s New for 2017?

Both of the available engines for the 2-series are new for 2017, resulting in new names for both models. The entry-level trim, now the 230i (formerly the 228i), is powered by a 248-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four. The scalding M240i, previously known as the M235i, gets its heat from a 335-hp turbocharged inline-six. Each model has new wheels for 2017, too, with 17-inchers as standard equipment on the 230i and 18-inch wheels with sticky Michelin Pilot Super Sport summer tires on the M240i. Along with minor infotainment updates, navigation is now included in the optional Technology package; a wireless charging pad and Wi-Fi hotspot are now available, too.

Trims and Options We’d Choose

The 2-series presents us with the agony of choice. Each model is good in its own right. The 230i is the lower-key, more well-rounded sibling. It’s well executed, swift enough to keep most drivers happy, and, at a starting price of $34,145, less costly. The M240i is the hot rod of the family, always ready for action with eye-popping acceleration just a push of the throttle away, but it starts at $45,445. Pay your money and take your choice. A sweet-shifting manual transmission is a no-cost option in both trim levels, and all-wheel drive can replace rear-wheel drive for $2000 in either model. Making the 230i into a convertible adds $5000 to the sticker, and it costs an extra $4600 to do the same for the M240i. We’d go big with the M240i coupe, which comes standard with.

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