Specifications of BMW 2 Series Series Gran Tourer (F46 LCI, facelift 2018) 216i (109 HP)
General characteristics of BMW 2 Series Series Gran Tourer (F46 LCI, facelift 2018) 216i (109 HP)
Our time in the 2022 2 Series was limited to the more powerful M240i xDrive model, but we hope to spend some time in the 230i at a later date. Based on our experience driving the M240i around some picturesque roads near The Thermal Club in Palm Springs, BMW has once again distilled its "Ultimate Driving Machine" essence into its tiniest coupe. While many larger, more powerful M cars feel detached from the driver, the 2 Series takes us back to the simpler times of the E46 M3; except this car is far quicker. Steering hasn't been BMW's strong suit in recent years, but the M240i turns with immediacy while offering more feedback than we've felt in other M Performance cars. In Sport Plus mode, the variable steering feedback gets significantly heavier, causing us to have deja vu from the last M2 Competition we test drove. This is high praise, as BMW's pseudo-M models do not always live up to the greatness set by the fully-fledged M products.
Around town, BMW tuned the M240i's adaptive M suspension to be firm but forgiving, meaning this car is more livable than an M2 Competition. It's stiffer than a 4 Series or 8 Series Coupe, but that's to be expected at this price. We'd say the Audi A3/S3 are the more comfortable and less engaging daily drivers, but BMW has the Mercedes CLA-Class pegged on suspension tuning. Though we didn't have a chance to sample the 230i, we expect it to offer a more compliant ride than the sportier M240i.
When it's time to accelerate, the M240i calls upon one of BMW's greatest creations in the past decade, the B58 inline-six. This 3.0-liter turbocharged engine is found in a variety of BMW models (and the Toyota Supra), but this particular tune is among the best we've sampled. Turbo lag is minimal, and we love hearing the cracks and pops from the exhaust. Thanks to xDrive grip, the 2 Series rockets off the line with zero drama, and continues to pull hard into triple-digit speeds. Thanks to that cool Sprint Mode, it's nearly impossible to catch the transmission off guard for some quick acceleration. Some enthusiasts might scoff that the M240i only comes with AWD rather than tire-shredding RWD, but the system is biased towards the rear and allows for some exciting tail-happy action. The 230i is less exciting in terms of raw speed, but its RWD layout and nearly 50:50 weight distribution should make it a darling for autocross enthusiasts.