2015 BMW 2 Series

What's new for 2015? The 2 Series convertible debuts midway through the model year, and all models except the M235i convertible can be outfitted with all-wheel drive. There's also a new Track Handling package for the 228i, though it's basically last year's Dynamic Handling package with a different name.

Great cars don't always enjoy a lot of fanfare, and the 2015 BMW 2 Series illustrates the point. Before the 2 Series' debut last year, we knew it would be replacing the entry-level 1 Series -- but aside from its smoother styling, it just looked like a variation on the same sporty theme. Once you've driven the 2 Series, though, you'll likely wonder why there isn't more fuss about this attainably priced all-star. Its engines are relentlessly capable, its interior is much nicer than that of its predecessor, and its superb handling makes it perhaps the purest driver's car in BMW's lineup.

Taking center stage for 2015 is the new 2 Series convertible, equipped with a fabric roof that powers up or down in 20 seconds at speeds up to 30 mph. If you opt for Comfort Access (BMW's version of keyless ignition and entry), you can even operate the top remotely using the key fob. Also new this year -- and a significant departure from the strictly rear-wheel-drive 1 Series -- is xDrive all-wheel drive, offered on the coupes as well as the 228i convertible. If you want AWD in your two-door BMW, the case for buying the larger, pricier 4 Series just got a lot harder to make. if you're looking for all-around excellence, it's tough to avoid the conclusion that the 2015 BMW 2 Series is the car to beat.

Exterior Highlights
Two-door coupe or convertible available in 228i and M235i trim levels

The 2015 BMW 2 Series is a two-door coupe or convertible with seating for four. There are two trim levels: 228i and M235i. The convertibles are equipped similarly to the coupes, except they feature automatic pop-up roll hoops and a power-operated fabric roof that's black by default, with two optional colors (Anthracite and Brown) enhanced by a metallic weave.

The 228i comes standard with 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, foglights, rain-sensing wipers, power-folding heated side mirrors, cruise control, automatic dual-zone climate control, leatherette (premium vinyl) upholstery, a tilt-and-telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel (with paddle shifters on automatic-transmission models), eight-way manual front seats and 60/40-split folding rear seatbacks. The standard electronics array includes Bluetooth connectivity, BMW's iDrive electronics interface with a 6.5-inch display and a 10-speaker sound system with a CD player, HD radio and a USB/iPod interface.

Aside from its more powerful six-cylinder engine, the M235i adds 18-inch wheels, summer performance tires, adaptive suspension dampers, sportier variable-ratio steering, upgraded brakes, adaptive xenon headlights with LED accent lights, a sport exhaust system, gray exterior mirror caps, an aerodynamic body kit, dark ("Shadowline") exterior trim, a rear spoiler and a sunroof. Inside, you'll find 10-way power front sport seats, driver memory functions, upgraded aluminum trim and an M Sport steering wheel. The M235i also comes standard with exterior and interior ambient lighting.

Options on the 228i include the M235i's xenon headlights and the somewhat confusing trio of the Sport Line, M Sport and Track Handling packages. The Sport Line package adds 18-inch wheels with a few different tire options, a non-adaptive sport-tuned suspension, 8-way manual front sport seats and a smattering of aesthetic upgrades (including black exterior mirror caps and red upholstery stitching).

The M Sport package is a pricier alternative to the Sport Line package that features the sport seats plus 18-inch M wheels (with similar tire options) and the M235i's adaptive suspension dampers, exterior upgrades (except the xenon headlights) and M Sport steering wheel.

The Track Handling package can be ordered either separately or in conjunction with the Sport Line or M Sport package. It adds the M235i's sportier steering and brakes, as well as -- if not already specified -- the adaptive dampersand a set of 18-inch wheels with summer tires. In other words, if you want a 228i with the M235i's suspension bits, the Track Handling package will suffice on its own. But if you want the sport seats and styling enhancements, you'll need one of the other packages, too.

A number of packages are available on both 228i and M235i. The Cold Weather package includes headlight washers, heated front seats and a heated steering wheel. The Driver Assistance package throws in front and rear parking sensors and a rearview camera. The Technology package adds a higher-resolution 8.8-inch display screen, an upgraded iDrive controller with a touchpad (allowing freehand text entry), an enhanced driver information display, a navigation system, real-time traffic, BMW Apps (including Pandora and Facebook integration) and BMW Remote Services (allowing smartphone control of remote start and climate settings, among others). The Driver Assistance Plus package requires the Driver Assistance and Technology packages and adds a lane departure warning system and a forward collision mitigation system with automatic braking and pedestrian detection.

Also offered on both models is the Premium package, which features a universal garage-door opener, auto-dimming mirrors, keyless ignition and entry, leather upholstery and satellite radio. The 228i's version additionally includes a sunroof, eight-way power front seats (with power lumbar support) and ambient lighting.

Standalone options include some of the above items plus automatic high beams, a self-parking system, Enhanced USB and Bluetooth connectivity) and a 12-speaker Harman Kardon audio system. A mechanical limited-slip differential is exclusively available on the M235i.

Driver-centric control layout, iDrive infotainment system, multiple front-seat designs to choose from, respectable trunk capacity

Inside, the 2 Series employs an understated, driver-centric control layout that will be instantly familiar to BMW fans. Materials quality is very good for an entry-level luxury vehicle, giving up little to the ostensibly fancier 4 Series. BMW's iDrive infotainment system controls one of two available displays: the base 6.5-inch version or the Technology package's crisper 8.8-inch widescreen.

In typical BMW fashion, there are multiple front-seat designs to choose from. Our preference is for the ultrasupportive sport seats, whether you get the 228i's optional manual chairs or the M235i's standard power thrones. As for rear passenger space, the 2 Series is a compact car, and adults won't fit comfortably unless they're compact themselves. That's not unusual for the segment, though, and the backseat works nicely as a parcel shelf or a place to buckle in small children.

Trunk capacity in the coupe is a respectable 13.8 cubic feet, and the rear seatbacks fold down to allow transport of longer items. In the convertible, BMW projects a 7 percent improvement over the 1 Series convertible's 8.5-cubic-foot cargo hold with the top down.

Standard safety equipment on the 2015 BMW 2 Series includes four-wheel antilock disc brakes (with brake-drying and fading-compensation features), traction and stability control and hill-start assist for manual-transmission cars. Front-seat side airbags, front knee airbags and (on the coupe) full-length side curtain airbags are also standard.

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