Ballarat Country Cars reviews BMW's baby coupe and comes away impressed.

The BMW 220i. Picture: JUSTIN WHITELOCK

The BMW 220i. Picture: JUSTIN WHITELOCK

AT the start of the year we sampled BMW’s mighty 4-Series Coupe.

No question, it was a great car but there is a limited number of people who can afford – let alone justify – spending nearly $100,000 on a two-door.

But a BMW coupe for a bit over $50,000? Well, now you’re talking.

MORE CAR REVIEWS, VIDEOS AND PHOTOS HERE.

Just as the 4-Series is a sleeker, two-door version of the familiar 3-Series sedan, the 2-Series is based on the 1-Series hatch.

Having spent a couple of days in the BMW 220i, we believe the German carmaker has nailed it. It has virtually all the thrills of the other BMW coupe at a fraction of the price.

The BMW 220i has all the thrills in a fun-size package. Video: JUSTIN WHITELOCK

The 2-Series is obviously less practical than the five-door 1-Series hatch but it looks so much better. For those who are considering a coupe, that’s far more important anyway.

The 220i is the baby of the range, with a 2.0-litre twin-turbo petrol 135kW four and 270Nm of torque. There is a 228i with the same sized engine but with more power and torque, and the M235i with a 3.0-litre twin-turbo in-line six and plenty of other good stuff. Finally, there is a 2.0-litre diesel as well. All have eight-speed automatic transmissions.

Our test car had plenty of extra kit as well to boost the price tag, including a Comfort pack with keyless entry and heated electric seats, Visibility pack with adaptive bi-Xenon headlights and an M-Sport pack with leather upholstery, 18-inch alloys and some neat trim changes. It was still a 220i to drive however.

The cabin is even more cockpit-like than that of the 4-Series due in part to the smaller volume. On a car like this we can’t help but feel that is a good thing. We also liked the clean and relatively simple layout of dials, buttons and the iDrive control system.

People with creaking joints might find the little BMW a bit hard to climb into but, once they are, they will be pleased with the level of comfort.

On the road, the 2-Series delivers what its sports coupe looks suggest it should. It is nimble, responsive and a lot of fun. The ride isn’t harsh either, which was something of a surprise too. With its modest engine output, the 220i is not especially quick but, thanks to its lightweight (1440kg compared with 1525kg for the similarly powered 420i) can still extract a 0-100km/h acceleration time of 7.0 seconds, which isn’t something to be sneezed at either. At any rate, it corners like a sports coupe should and those looking for outright performance as well (and who can afford it) have two other petrol versions of the 2-Series to look at.

We could talk about the limited access area for the boot or the limited accommodation for rear passengers but that would be pointless.

If, like me, you are a family man (or woman) then this isn’t the car for you unless you have your family-size sedan or wagon parked next to it in the garage.

If you don't have those attachments, you will have a blast in the 2-Series.

Your local dealer is Ballarat BMW: 5339 9339

ENGINE: 2.0-litre twin turbo petrol inline four

POWER: 135kW at 5000-6250 revs

TORQUE: 270Nm at 1250-4500 revs

TRANSMISSION: eight-speed automatic

DRIVE: rear-wheel-drive

BRAKES: ventilated discs front and rear, with ABS, brake assist and stability control

FUEL: premium unleaded petrol, 6.0-l/100km (ADR 81/02)

ANCAP SAFETY RATING: not yet tested

FEATURES: brake energy regeneration, dual zone climate control, Bluetooth compatibility, satellite navigation, front and rear parking sensors, 17-inch alloy wheels.

PRICE: from $51,000 plus on-road costs

PRICE AS TESTED: $69,990 including add-on packs

OTHERS TO CONSIDER:

MAZDA MX-5 COUPE: from $47,280

VOLKSWAGEN SCIROCCO: from $47,990

AUDI TT COUPE: from $69,350

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