When this writer was younger, there were only three main types of BMW that you saw frequently on the road – although, because this was back in the 1980s, they were driven by the wealthy up-and-coming yuppies. It was a Three Bears sort of affair: the big 7-series for the Daddy Bear, the middle sized 5-series for the Mummy Bear and the little 3-series for the Baby Bear. Today, however, BMW has set to work filling in the gaps in the numbers, as well as a couple more letters (Z and X as well as M). The lowest possible number, the 1-series or “Baby Beemer” has been around for quite a while now (the BMW 2 Coupé is its replacement), but BMW has now thrown in a few even numbers: 2 and 4. The 4-series stable is rather wide, but at the time of writing, there’s only one 2: the BMW 2 Coupé. Why it’s just 2 and not a three-digit number starting with a 2 is because of the historical inspiration behind the BMW 428i Coupé. Or maybe because there are going to be other 2s added later on but they’re not here yet (even the BMW 2 Coupé is yet to arrive on these shores as I’m writing this).
The BMW 2 Coupé deliberately harks back to the BMW 2002. The reason why this writer didn’t see many on the roads when growing up is that this car (meaning the 2002) was first launched in 1968 and had got to that in-between period on its way to becoming a classic: in the 1980s, it was old enough to be not quite the latest thing but wasn’t quite old enough to be a real classic. Today, at the end of 2013, the 2002 is a proper classic and is beloved by collectors. Hopefully, the same enthusiasm and passion will be associated with its direct descendant, the BMW 2 Coupé.
The official BMW website for the BMW 2 Coupé has a rather fun little page where you can slide along the length of the old 2002 and watch it transform into the new BMW 2 Coupé. On the modern vehicle, the headlights are larger, the nose is more sculpted, the chrome trims give way to body-coloured fluting along the sides, the wheels and wheel arches get bigger, the bonnet gets longer, the roof is more curvaceous (they called that square-looking thing a coupé in the late 1960s? What were they on… better not answer that question) and the rear is higher and has a dainty – but very effective – spoiler. But that iconic kidney grille is still there, as is the turbine logo. The chrome hasn’t completely vanished, either: it’s still there in discreet amounts. In summary, the BMW 2 Coupé is a lot more aerodynamic-looking; in fact, the aerodynamics are some of the many features that the design team at BMW are quite proud of: the apron and the lines create an “air curtain” that makes the BMW 2 Coupé just slip through the air with minimal resistance.
Those who knew and loved the old 2002 would hardly have believed what the BMW 2 Coupé has got under the bonnet and in the dashboard. Under that beautifully tailored bonnet lies a powerhouse with BMW’s famed M tuning and performance: the inline-six M235i turbo petrol engine that is juicier than the wildest dreams of drivers in the late 1960s: 240 kW of power was the sort of thing reserved for aeroplanes or racing cars, not production units for ordinary roads. They’d have salivated over the 8-speed automatic transmission with the converter clutch that pops it into manual shift mode – to be used with the help of the optimum shift indicator. One particularly fun feature of the transmission is the “launch control” aid, which allows the driver to adjust the dynamic stability control and the gearshift (you set it to S) and then guns you from a standstill to the speed you want to go (which should be the speed limit, of course…) using the maximum acceleration possible. Pure adrenaline! The fuel consumption figures are surprisingly old-fashioned and low (shades of the 1970s), with the BMW 2 Coupé managing a combined fuel economy figure of 8.1 L/100 km. This is achievable with the BMW 2 Coupé set to Eco mode rather than one of the other two selectable driving modes (Sport and Comfort).
The inside of the BMW 2 Coupé also contains some features that drivers back in the late 1960s would have felt lucky to have inside their homes, let alone their cars. Parking assist back then was a person standing outside and waving their arms about; today, it’s found alongside the rear view camera. And as for what you’d be able to call up with a light press of a button and scroll through on the display screen via the BMW iDrive system… well! We’ve come a long way since the days when computers needed cardboard punch cards to carry out simple number-crunching tasks.
You could rave on and on about the features of the BMW 2 Coupé: the Adaptive M Suspension, the servotronic variable sport steering and the Comfort Access (opens the doors for you automatically if it senses the key in your pocket outside). My favourite extra gadget is the High Beam Assist – no more manually switching from high beam to dip when encountering another car when driving at night.
At the time of writing, the BMW 2 Coupé hasn’t quite reached Australia. However, I’m looking forward to it arriving and finding out even more. Whatever it is, it’s bound to be good.
Current model series include:
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