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2022 BMW 230i Coupe Road Test and Review

Ron Sessions
by Ron Sessions
February 21, 2022
6 min. Reading Time
2022 BMW 230i ・  Photo by Ron Sessions

2022 BMW 230i ・ Photo by Ron Sessions

The 2022 model year marks the introduction of an all-new second-generation BMW 2 Series coupe. It embodies the spirit of the first BMW 2002 and 3-Series 2-door coupes that ushered in a steep rise in popularity of BMW’s compact, sporty offerings in the U.S. in the 1970s and 1980s. The new 2 Series coupe features a classic long-hood/short-deck profile with a sleeker nose, short front overhang, longer dash-to-front axle ratio, and muscular, more pronounced fender flares.

Initially, the 2 Series will be available in 2-door coupe form. The rear-wheel-drive, 4-cylinder-powered 2022 230i sDrive Coupe is priced at $37,345 including the $995 destination charge. A 240i xDrive coupe with 6-cylinder power and all-wheel drive, priced at $49,545 including destination, will also be available at launch. Later in the model year, 4-door coupe models of the 2 Series will debut as well as a 230i 2-door coupe with all-wheel drive and a rear-drive version of the 240i coupe. No 2022 2 Series convertible will be offered.

Rolling on a 2-inch longer wheelbase, the 2022 230i gets stretched 4.3 inches overall, gains 2.6 inches in width, and sits on an appropriately wider stance. Cabin space improves as well, although not for rear-seat passengers. Compared to last year’s model, the longer, lower, and wider 2022 2 Series coupe looks less toylike and more expressive and makes a stronger design statement overall. The twin-kidney grille gets larger as well, but tastefully so.

Turbocharged Power

Under the aluminum power dome hood, the 230i 2-door coupe is equipped with a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine. Tuning changes this year upgrade it to 255 horsepower, an increase of 7 hp from last year, as well as 295 lb-ft of torque, up 37 lb-ft or nearly 16 percent compared to 2021. Initially, the 230i will be available solely in a rear-wheel-drive configuration with xDrive all-wheel drive coming later in the model year. The 2.0-liter turbo four is teamed with a conventional 8-speed step-shift automatic transmission and includes steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters for the option of manual shift control. Last year’s 6-speed manual transmission option has been dropped from the lineup.

The twin-scroll turbocharger gives the 230i crisp throttle response with no turbo lag and the generous midrange torque extends from just 1,550 rpm to 4,400 rpm, which means part-throttle acceleration is effortless and therefore requires less downshifting. BMW estimates the 230i can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds. If that’s not quick enough, the 382-hp 240i can sprint to 60 mph from rest in just over 4 seconds.

EPA estimated fuel economy figures for the 230i rear-drive 4-cylinder coupe are 26 mpg city/35 mpg highway/29 mpg combined, an improvement over last year’s 25 mpg city/32 mpg highway/28 mpg combined figures. Estimates for the upcoming AWD version of the 4-cylinder 2022 230i have not yet been released.

 Photo by Ron Sessions

Photo by Ron Sessions

Performance With a Dash of Luxury

Although the 2022 BMW 2 Series is all-new, its interior design theme remains familiar. A driver-oriented dash layout offers good ergonomics, simple hard-button controls for lighting and the standard dual-zone automatic climate control, and is attractive to look at in two-tone color schemes with aluminum and Piano Black details. A standard black headliner and leather-wrapped sport steering wheel add sporty touches.

Storage is decent for a compact coupe with bottle holders in the doors, a thoughtful, flip-down flocked coin or key tray on the left side of the dash, and a pair of covered cubbies on the console. However, precious console top space is lost to the drive mode selector and infotainment screen remote controller.

The 230i test car was equipped with the $2,650 premium package which in addition to adaptive LED headlamps includes a 12.3-inch electronic, driver-configurable Live Cockpit Pro instrument cluster, a head-up display, and a heated steering wheel and front seats. With Live Cockpit Pro, the driver can move a portion of the navigation map from the infotainment display to the center of the gauge cluster. Standard BMW 230i fare is a simple analog gauge layout.

 Photo by Ron Sessions

Photo by Ron Sessions

Up Front and Personal

The standard power front bucket seats in the BMW 230i balance performance and luxury missions. Although BMW dubs them as “sport seats,” the ones in the 230i are not fitted with aggressive lateral lower cushion bolstering for high-g cornering that can hamper ingress and egress such as those in the Subaru BRZ or Toyota GR86 coupes, yet offer firm but comfortable lower torso backrest support for the daily drive. Heated (but not cooled) front seats are available in an optional package.

The front seating position is low, but not uncomfortably so, and outward vision is not a problem. The lower cushions feature pull-out extensions for under-thigh support of longer-legged persons. The driver’s seat offers selectable memory profile settings.

Standard seat coverings are SensaTec faux-leather, with real leather optional. Adjustable lumbar support is an option as well.

 Photo by Ron Sessions

Photo by Ron Sessions

iDrive 7.0 Infotainment

A standard Live Cockpit Plus infotainment system runs the latest iDrive 7.0 software. In the 2022 BMW 230i, the system uses 8.8-inch high-definition center infotainment touchscreen, or 10.3-inch one when the optional Premium package is ordered. Both include embedded navigation and are wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible. A one-year trial of SiriusXM 360L with expanded selectable genre-specific content is standard as well.

Inputs are via the console-mounted iDrive controller, steering-wheel and voice controls, analog rotary volume knob and hard tuning and station pre-set buttons under the climate controls, or easily legible tiles on the brightly lit and easily accessible high-definition touchscreen. The screen can display up to three applications simultaneously, such as navigation, audio, and phone communications.

Audio choices include a standard 10-speaker 205-watt Hi-Fi or the more enveloping optional 464-watt Harman Kardon surround sound system with 14 speakers, which costs $875.

There is both a USB-A and faster USB-C port in the front console as well as a wireless device charger. Also standard is a three-month 4G LTE in-car Wi-Fi trial.

A My BMW app, downloaded to a smartphone, can lock and unlock the car’s doors, and check on its status or location remotely. Apple iPhone users can use their phone as a vehicle remote with a BMW Digital Key function set up through the My BMW App. 

 Photo by Ron Sessions

Photo by Ron Sessions

Tight Back Seat

The setback cabin and lower roofline of the new-generation BMW 2 Series does wonders for its curb appeal, but shaves some space from what were already pretty tight quarters for rear-seat passengers in the last-generation model. In the 2022 230i, rear-seat headroom takes a 1.5-inch haircut and legroom for rear-seaters is reduced by nearly an inch.

But the BMW 230i is a bona fide coupe, selfish by nature but with creature comforts skewed in favor of the driver and front passenger. There are seatbelts for two passengers back there as well as child-seat LATCH anchors. A pair of small adults or children can fit in the nicely sculpted aft seats, but will do so with their knees in the air and with very little footwell space unless the front seats are skootched forward a few inches. Tip either front seatback forward and the front seat automatically motors forward to ease access to the rear perches.

 Photo by Ron Sessions

Photo by Ron Sessions

Trunk and Cargo Pass Through

As with most 2-door coupes, the 230i’s 10 cubic feet of trunk space is on the small side. However, the 40/20/40 split folding rear seatbacks provide flexibility to carry longer items such as a step ladder or a big-screen television box for those times an SUV or crossover isn’t available. The fold-down center section is handy for toting skis or a tripod while still saving the outboard rear seats for passenger duty. BMW doesn’t publish cargo capacity figures with all rear seats folded down, but doing so nearly doubles the space available.

 Photo by Ron Sessions

Photo by Ron Sessions

Driving Dynamics

Engaging handling is a major reason a buyer chooses a low-slung, road-hugging sports coupe over an obviously roomier but less fun-to-drive SUV. Here, BMW’s entry-level coupe does not disappoint, offering a nicely balanced chassis, pinpoint handling, and in 230i guise, an eager 4-cylinder with enough verve to keep the shapely rear-driver out in front of most traffic.

Electric variable-boost Servotronic steering is standard in the 230i as are 225/45R18 all-season tires, and the standard hydraulic shocks have special valving that does a great job of taming small road surface irregularities while firming up to maintain control for the big stuff. Opting for the M Sport package (standard with the 6-cylinder 240i xDrive) adds variable-ratio steering that benefits both straight-line stability and cornering agility and a firmer suspension tune, while a Dynamic Handling package nets an understeer-reducing electronic M Sport rear differential, larger M Sport brakes, and staggered-size non run-flat 225/40R19 front and meaty 255/35R19 rear performance tires.

A fully adaptive M suspension with electronically controlled shock absorbers is only available with the 6-cylinder 240i xDrive.

 Photo by Ron Sessions

Photo by Ron Sessions

Safety and Driver-Assistive Tech

The 2022 BMW 230i comes standard with a forward collision warning system with automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assistance, blind-spot and rear-cross traffic alerts, speed-limit information, ultrasonic front and rear parking sensors, and a backup camera. Optional in the Premium and Convenience packages are automatic high beams. The optional Parking Assistance package replaces the conventional backup camera with a 360-degree surround-view one. This upgrade includes an active parking-assist feature that helps drivers select either perpendicular or parallel spaces, then once activated, it semi-autonomously operates the gear changes, steering, accelerator, and brakes to park successfully. Oddly, adaptive cruise control that maintains a following distance as well as a set speed is an extra-cost option, a feature that is standard on many lower-cost vehicles from mainstream brands.

Using the center screen, the driver can customize the sensitivity of the blind-spot and rear cross-traffic systems as well as the degree of steering intervention for the lane-keeping system.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has not yet published results for crash tests of the 2022 BMW 2 Series 2-door coupe. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety also has not tested the 2022 BMW 2-series 2-door coupe, but it has done so with the 2022 2 Series 4-door Gran Coupe model, which received "Good" scores in all crashworthiness tests.

 Photo by Ron Sessions

Photo by Ron Sessions

Back to Basics... With Flair

A half century ago, the BMW 2002 helped initiate a new kind of driving fun on U.S. roads with the first of many small rear-drive, 4-cylinder-powered 2-door sedans and coupes. The 2022 BMW 230i and other 2 Series derivatives that are sure to come bring fresh energy to the segment. Ashtrays, scratchy AM radios, and bare-knuckled handling may have been replaced by cupholders, cloud-based navigation, life-saving safety systems, and personal assistants, but the fun-to-drive mission is still the same. You might want to think of the new 230i as an upscale cousin of the Toyota GR86 or Subaru BRZ, a rare find these days in a market gone wild for SUVs and crossovers.

 Photo by Ron Sessions

Photo by Ron Sessions


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