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The Two is upon us. As promised, BMW has unveiled the full 2 Series Coupe lineup as a replacement to the outgoing 1 Series Coupe, following the format set by the 4 Series earlier. It claims to raise the bar in the premium compact segment in terms of dynamic ability, aesthetic appeal and emotional allure. Let’s take a look, shall we?

Unique in its segment, the BMW 2 Series Coupe features a classic three-box design that’s typical of BMW coupes, four seats, rear-wheel drive and a set of engines and chassis setup focused on dynamic ability. And of the name, BMW claims that the new 2er calls upon the sporting heritage of the BMW 02 range from the ‘60s and ‘70s, even though that itself was the precursor to the 3 Series Coupe (now the 4 Series).

The most famous model of the 02 range was undoubtedly the BMW 2002 turbo. The performance hero of its time, it was the first European model to have a turbocharger. How apt, then, that the new 2 Series Coupe has an all turbocharged engine lineup. Five variants are on offer at launch, which we’ll get to below.

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It gets enough of a visual differentiation to distance itself from the 1 Series hatchback it’s based on, at least on the outside. The entire face is bespoke to the coupe, replacing the hatch’s droopy set of eyes and oversized grille with a much sharper looking front end. It’s been a while since BMW managed to make a car this small look this good.

Various surface lines and angles point forward towards the protruding, three-dimensional kidney grille to give the 2 Series Coupe a forward-surging static appearance. The slim headlights taper down at their inner extremes, drawing focus towards the wide grille for increased road presence.

Three intake openings on the lower valance are each angled precisely to match the light clusters and grille above them. Small slits at the corners of the front bumper channel onrushing air to hang over the front wheels like a curtain – which explains the Air Curtains designation – to cut turbulence and aid aerodynamics.

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The back end is a little less cohesive. It’s wide, especially with the classic BMW L-shaped lights that stretch to the outermost edges of the boot, but still the lamps appear too large over the small 2 Series frame. Nevertheless, the boot aperture is wider here than it was on the 1 Series Coupe, and the horizontal cues down low visually emphasize the car’s sporting intentions.

A muscular silhouette is achieved by having a short rear deck, swooping roofline and an obvious front-biased wedge shape. A prominent slanted swage line runs across the sides and over the flared wheelarches that form the widest part of the coupe – primed as a visual reminder of its rear-wheel drive layout. As is customary on a BMW coupe, the doors have frameless windows.

Though not immediately apparent in pictures, the new two-door is 72 mm longer than the old 1 Series Coupe. It’s also 32 mm wider, 5 mm lower, and sits on a 30 mm-longer wheelbase with front and rear tracks that have grown in excess of 40 mm each. It measures 108 mm more than the five-door F20 1 Series hatchback, at 4,432 mm long.

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The interior will be familiar to current 1 Series owners, as the dashboard appears to be identical to the one fitted to the more humble hatchback. Only the optional touch-sensitive iDrive controller sets it apart, at least until the 1 Series gets that upgrade. Long doors and an Easy Entry function enhance access to the rear seats.

As the car has grown bigger, so has the cabin. The rear seats now have 21 mm more legroom than the outgoing 1er Coupe, while headroom for front occupants have increased by the same margin too. There’s an extra 20 litres of usable space in the boot too, which now measures in at 390 litres.

As is the norm for all BMW models now, the 2 Series Coupe is available in standard trim, as well as with the usual BMW Sport Line and Modern Line. Also available from launch is the M Sport package. Each one features distinctive and coordinated exterior and interior designs.

The M Sport package in particular includes unique suspension tuning (10 mm-lower than standard), 17-inch M wheels, a full set of aerodynamically optimised M bodykit and an exhaust finisher in high-gloss chrome. Also packaged in are aluminium door sills, sports seats, Aluminium Hexagon interior trim with Estoril Blue accent strip, and M instrument cluster.

Five variants are available internationally at launch: the 218d, 220d, 225d, 220i and M235i. The three diesel models are powered by the same 2.0 litre engine, each with its own tuning state of 143 hp/320 Nm, 184 hp/380 Nm and 218 hp/450 Nm respectively. Zero to 100 km/h times for the turbodiesels range from 8.6 to 6.3 seconds, with average fuel economy as low as 4.2 litres per 100 km (23.8 km/L).

The base petrol variant get the familiar 2.0 litre BMW TwinPower Turbo engine with 184 hp and 270 Nm that’s good for a 0-100 km/h time of 7.0 seconds and a 230 km/h top speed. It does 5.7 litres per 100 km (17.5 km/L). All models are available with either a six-speed manual gearbox or an eight-speed automatic transmission. Figures quoted here are for the (faster) automatic models with the optional Launch Control.

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A wealth of different options allows the handling characteristics of the standard BMW 2 Series Coupe to be tailored to individual needs. Among them are variable sport steering, M Sport and M Performance braking systems, and a choice of Adaptive M suspension, stiff M Sport dampers and the BMW M Performance sports suspension (20 mm lower to the ground).

Topping the range is an M Performance model, the BMW M235i. A turbocharged inline-six engine sits under the long hood, making 326 hp and 450 Nm of torque. It gets to 100 km/h in just 4.8 seconds (5.0 seconds with a manual ‘box), on to a limited top speed of 250 km/h. Average fuel consumption is claimed at 7.6 litres per 100 km (13.2 km/L).

Just like the three-door M135i, this one features a bespoke chassis setup (unique spring and damper settings), upgraded braking system as well as model-specific aerodynamic balance. Lightweight 18-inch M wheels are fitted as standard, which can be upgraded to 19-inch BMW M Performance items. Exclusive to the M235i is the option for a BMW M Performance limited-slip differential.

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BMW 2 Series Coupe interior

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BMW 2 Series Coupe sketches