2022 BMW 220i Coupe review

The BMW 220i might be a base model, but it doesn't want for much alongside its more powerful, more expensive brothers.

Scott Collie
Scott Collie
Deputy Editor
Published
PROS
  • Compact proportions are just right
  • Grown-up interior is great for the daily grind
  • Entry-level engine is a willing companion
CONS
  • Engine gets breathless at the top end
  • Plenty of obvious 3 Series parts
  • Looks are very colour-dependent

Who doesn’t love a compact sports coupe? Beyond that, who doesn’t love a compact BMW coupe?

From the E30 and E46 3 Series coupes to the more recent F22 2 Series, the Bavarians have a stronger history than most of creating fun, rear-wheel drive coupes. You’re looking at the latest step in that storied lineage.

Ignore the 2 Series Gran Coupe, with its four-door body and front-drive chassis, the two-door, rear-wheel drive coupe on test here is the real 2 Series.

It’s built on a version of the platform from the larger 3 Series sedan, and is offered with a choice of two four-cylinder engines, sitting below a flagship turbocharged inline-six. We know a hotter M2 is coming as well, but that’s a story for another day.

The 2022 BMW 220i Coupe on test here is as far removed from the M2 as you can go in the range. It’s the least powerful option, with power from an engine shared with entry-level BMW SUVs, and a sticker price around the $60,000 mark.

Don’t let that fool you, though. It’s still a fun little coupe that’s almost too grown-up for its own good.

How much does the BMW 220i Coupe cost?

Pricing for the 220i Coupe kicks off at $61,900 before on-road costs, with a sticker that puts it in line with top-end front-wheel drive hot hatches like an optioned Volkswagen Golf GTI ($54,990 to $60,320 before on-roads), or front- and all-wheel drive four-door coupes like the Mercedes-Benz CLA200 ($67,189 before on-roads).

If you’re married to the idea of a rear-wheel drive sports coupe but have a bigger garage, you could also look at the Ford Mustang ($52,590 for 2.3L High Performance, $65,290 for GT V8).

2022 BMW 2 Series Coupe pricing:

  • BMW 220i: $61,900
  • BMW 230i: $70,900
  • BMW M240i xDrive: $89,900

All prices exclude on-road costs.

What is the BMW 220i Coupe like on the inside?

Up front, there’s a lot of 3 Series about the 2 Series. That’s because these cars are built using the same basic toolkit.

The driver and passenger are faced with the same infotainment screen and digital dashboard you get in the 3 Series, and the transmission tunnel and dashboard are identical. What’s different?

The more compact 2er has less headroom, especially with the optional sunroof fitted, and the longer doors feature funky inserts into which BMW has etched a cool backlit pattern. You definitely feel more cocooned in the 2’s cabin than the 3, which is kind of the point.

BMW gets ergonomics more right than most brands, and the 2 Series is no exception.

Front-seat passengers sit low in seats that perfectly blend long-haul comfort with bolstering for the corners, and the driving position adjusts enough to accomodate a huge range of body shapes. You sit nice and low, and there’s space for leggy weirdos like me up front.

BMW’s iDrive 7.0 is one of the best infotainment systems in the business. The central 12.3-inch screen is crystal clear, and can be controlled using Hey BMW voice prompts, touch inputs, and a rotary controller on the transmission tunnel.

Sounds confusing, but each is useful at different times.

You also get wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which means you can bypass the native navigation and use Apple or Google maps, or more easily access podcasts on the move.

The digital driver’s display is less excellent. It’s visually busy, and doesn’t have the same range of layout options you get in Audi’s excellent Virtual Cockpit, although you still get all the information you need about speed, revs, and your trip computer.

There are plenty of storage spaces on offer, from the wireless phone charger and front cupholders under a damped lid, to the decent-sized underarm bin. There are also door bins with space for big bottles, and a spacious glovebox.

As for the rear seats? This is not meant to be a family hauler, but you can get kids back there behind adults in a pinch. There are only two seats, not three, but you still get a fold-down central armrest, air vents, and USB-C charge ports.

Access is tight, forcing passengers to squeeze behind the chunky front seats despite their tilt and slide function, and headroom is limited under the sloping rear screen.

Those in need of more space should look at a 4 Series Coupe, with its longer wheelbase and more spacious rear.

Boot space is 390L with the 40/20/40 folding rear seats in place. The boot itself has a broad opening, and you’ll get golf clubs in there without breaking a sweat.

What’s under the bonnet?

Power in the 220i comes from a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine with 135kW of power and 300Nm of torque, good for a 7.5-second sprint to 100km/h. It’s mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive.

A version of the same engine making 55kW and 100Nm more is available in the 230i, while the M240i and its inline-six engine pumps out a meaty 285kW and 500Nm.

Claimed fuel economy is 6.3 litres per 100km, and we saw 6.5L/100km on a run from Melbourne to Healesville with some spirited driving thrown in for good measure.

The fuel tank holds 52 litres and drinks 95 RON premium unleaded.

How does the BMW 220i Coupe drive?

Although platform sharing is a win for carmakers keen to cut costs, it can make for a range of vehicles that all feel roundly the same on the road.

The 2 Series Coupe shares most of its mechanicals with the 3 Series, and there’s no getting away from some of the similarities, but it’s not just a pure clone. It rides more firmly, the steering feels tighter, and the car’s compact dimensions mean it’s an easier car in which to dart through traffic.

Yes, it’s still grown up, but it’s more alert than a regular 3er or 4er in day-to-day driving.

With no adaptive dampers, the ride in the 2 Series is quite choppy. It’s never harsh, but the car is constantly moving up and down over tightly-packed bumps at low speeds, and it feels quite busy on the highway. This is a common criticism levelled at BMW models on passive dampers.

The trade-off is tight handling. The front end of the 220i Coupe can be thrown confidently into corners and you know it’ll stick, and once you’re there the car has the same rear-drive balance we know and love from the 3er.

You can get the back end just nibbling away with a heavy right foot, but it’s not exactly a drift machine – not that BMW really needs it to be, with the M240i RWD and M2 in the same range globally.

It’s a fun little car to throw around, although doesn’t offer all that much in the way of feedback through the steering wheel.

As for the base engine? It’s more willing than you might expect. BMW’s range of 2.0-litre engines are smooth movers, and even in the least-powerful 20i guise it packs a solid whack of torque down low in the rev range.

It pulls strongly from just off idle, and does its best work in the mid-range where it can still squeeze you back in your seat. It runs out of puff at the top end though, unlike the 30i version of the same engine which zings to the redline.

The standard eight-speed automatic does a good job keeping the engine in the meat of its torque band, but when you’re using the paddles it’s easy to find yourself running into the black hole just before redline.

It’s not a particularly sporty feeling engine at the top end, although most of the time owners will just surf the wave of mid-range torque and be happy enough. Those who want more grunt have the 230i to look at anyway.

At highway speeds the transmission locks into eighth gear and the engine is nearly silent. Road roar and wind noise are well contained by European sports car standards, but the lack of adaptive cruise is disappointing in what’s still not a cheap car.

What do you get?

220i Coupe highlights:

  • M Sport Package
    • M Sport steering wheel
    • M Sport seats
    • Alcantara/faux leather trim
  • M Sport suspension
  • Sport steering
  • Head-up display*
  • 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster
  • 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system
  • Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • DAB+ digital radio
  • Satellite navigation
  • Parking Assistant
    • Parking sensors
    • Reversing camera
    • Auto park assist
    • Reversing assistant
  • Six-speaker sound system
  • Wireless phone charging
  • Ambient lighting
  • LED head- and tail lights

* indicates a feature temporarily unavailable due to the semiconductor chip shortage.

230i Coupe adds:

  • Keyless entry and start
  • Digital key
  • Electric seat adjustment
  • Adaptive LED headlights
  • Auto high-beam
  • Adaptive cruise control with stop/go
  • HiFi Loudspeaker sound system
  • M Sport brakes

M240i xDrive Coupe adds:

  • M Sport brakes
  • Adaptive M Suspension
  • 19-inch alloy wheels
  • Adaptive cruise control with stop/go
  • Powered glass roof
  • Keyless entry and start
  • Leather seat trim
  • Powered, heated front seats
  • Adaptive LED headlights
  • 14-speaker surround-sound system

Options:

The Enhancement Package ($3900, 220i and 230i) brings:

  • Metallic paint
  • Power sunroof
  • 19-inch alloy wheels

The Comfort Package ($3400 220i, $3900 230i) adds:

  • Steering wheel heating
  • Keyless entry and start (220i only)
  • Lumbar support
  • Powered front seats
  • Heated front seats

The Driver’s Assistant Package ($3400, 220i) adds:

  • Tyre pressure monitoring
  • Adaptive LED headlights
  • High-beam assist
  • Adaptive cruise control with stop/go
  • Parking Assistant Plus
  • BMW Drive Recorder

The M Sport Plus Package ($2500 220i, $1500 230i, $1200 M240i) brings:

  • M Sport brakes (220i)
  • Shadowline lighting elements
  • M seatbelts
  • M rear spoiler (220i and 230i)
  • Extended high-gloss Shadowline package

Finally, the Executive Package ($3000 on 220i and 230i, $2800 on M240i) gets:

  • Remote engine start
  • Steering wheel heating (M240i)
  • Tyre pressure monitoring (230i and M240i)
  • Alarm
  • Sun protection glazing
  • Harman Kardon 14-speaker sound system (220i and 230i)
  • BMW Drive Recorder (230i and M240i)

Is the BMW 220i Coupe safe?

The BMW 2 Series Coupe hasn’t been crash tested by Euro NCAP or ANCAP, but its CLAR platform mates have all scored five stars.

Standard safety kit in Australia includes:

  • Autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection
  • Forward collision warning
  • Cruise control with downhill braking function
  • Lane departure warning
  • Blind-spot monitoring
  • Rear cross-traffic alert
  • Traffic sign recognition
  • Proactive rear collision protection

How much does the BMW 220i Coupe cost to run?

The BMW 2 Series is backed by a three-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty in Australia.

It’s disappointing BMW refuses to follow Mercedes-Benz and Audi to five-years of coverage.

A five-year, 80,000km pre-paid service plan costs $1700.

CarExpert’s Take on the BMW 220i Coupe

No, the 220i isn’t the E30 3 Series reincarnated, but it does a good job interpreting classic BMW coupe DNA for 2022.

For all the parts it shares with the more grown-up, dulled-down 3 Series, the little 2er possesses just enough character of its own. It’s a bit firmer and a bit more direct, which is exactly what you want from a little two-door.

The 220i isn’t the one we would buy, though. It has enough just grunt, but the 230i packs a zingier version of the same engine that’s more in keeping with the sporty promise of a compact coupe.

The way the 220i runs out of puff at the top end a reminder you’ve stumped for the base model.

Of course, not everyone wants a sports car. Some coupe buyers just want to show the world they’re young, or young at heart, by chopping off the rear doors – and for those people, the 220i is more than enough.

It’s surprisingly well specified for a base BMW, and in the right colour, with the right wheels, it looks really sharp. There, we said it.

Click the images for the full gallery

MORE: Everything BMW 2 Series

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Scott Collie

Scott Collie is an automotive journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Scott studied journalism at RMIT University and, after a lifelong obsession with everything automotive, started covering the car industry shortly afterwards. He has a passion for travel, and is an avid Melbourne Demons supporter.

Ratings
Overall8
Show Breakdown
Cost of Ownership 8
Ride Comfort 7.5
Fit for Purpose 8.5
Handling Dynamics 8
Interior Practicality and Space 7.5
Fuel Efficiency 8.5
Value for Money 8.5
Performance 7
Technology Infotainment 8.5
Pricing
$63,900 MRLP
Top Line Specs
6.3L
135kW
145g
Not tested
View all specifications

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