BMW Announces 2-for-1 Sale: Even number seems, somehow, odd…

BMW 2-Series Coupe

BMW’s new 2-Series Coupe bows in the 1st quarter of 2014.

On the heels of BMW’s new 4-Series arrival in U.S. showrooms (a showroom – presumably – near you) is the announcement of BMW’s all-new 2-Series Coupe, replacing the 1-Series 2-door in a manner similar to what transpired when the 4-Series Coupe was introduced as a replacement for the 3-Series 2-door. And while all of the above seems overly – and overtly – complex, BMW’s sales reps remain thankful (almost daily) that they don’t have to sell Infinitis. Describing Infiniti’s new lineup almost always begins with a Q&A…’Q’ for the model’s prefix and ‘A’, as in ‘you have to Ask?’…

Of course, ‘3’ goes into ‘4’ somewhat differently than ‘1’ goes into ‘2’. The new 4-Series replaces only the 2-door 3-Series and not, notably, the entire lineup; the 3-Series 4-door and wagon remain – and will presumably continue to be mainstays in BMW’s global product planning. The new 2-Series, however, essentially displaces BMW’s 1-Series, as that model was only available here as a 2-door, and had no other offshoots available in these United States. So, in with the ‘2’ and out with the ‘1’, until (reportedly) BMW reinvents an all-new ‘1’ on a front-wheel drive platform shared with the new Mini. That narrative is best left for another day.

BMW 2-Series Profile

Profile of BMW’s new 2-Series appears ship-shape.

But back, if you will, to the new ‘2’, available (sometime in the first quarter of 2014) with either a turbocharged 4-cylinder as the 228i or with a Big Six as the 235i. Regardless of the coupe’s underhood spec, the transformation from a 1-Series to the 2-Series means, of course, enlarging it. As we might have guessed and BMW all-too-readily confirms, the new car grows dimensionally when compared to its immediate predecessor. The new 2-Series is a “newly designed Coupe…with significantly larger dimensions than its predecessor, the BMW 1 Series Coupe; length increased by 2.8 inches (72 mm) to 174.5 inches (4,432 mm), width by 1.3 inches (32 mm) to 69.8 inches (1,774 mm), wheelbase by 1.3 inches (30 mm) to 105.9 inches (2,690 mm), front track width by 1.6 inches (41 mm) to 59.9 inches (1,521 mm) and rear track width by 1.7 inches  (43 mm) to 61.3 inches (1,556 mm).

Thankfully, this allows for improved interior room (0.7 inches of extra front headroom, 0.8 inches of additional rear legroom). And the new coupe’s trunk capacity increases to 13.8 cu.ft. Of course, a longer bodyshell allows the aero factor to be optimized, resulting in an oh-so-low Cd of just 0.29 for the 228i Coupe.

With all of that, we continue to wish a new model announcement could take place wherein the newest model has a footprint no larger than its predecessor, and actually weighs less;  it does happen – but not nearly enough. Chevy’s new Corvette is credited with a weight-savings strategy, but the new car must still bypass those parking stalls reserved for ‘compacts’ only. And while a new 2-Series may qualify as compact, those longish doors make actually opening them in tight spaces problematic.

Of course, with a bump in size comes a commensurate bump in both standard and available equipment. Dual-zone automatic climate control is now standard, as is iDrive. And given our prevailing penchant for not paying attention while behind the wheel, a veritable slew of driver assistance systems are optional, including adaptive headlights, parking assistant, rear view camera and a cruise control with braking function. What was once the Ultimate Driving Machine would seem to be morphing into the Ultimate Dozing Machine…and we can’t wait.

Expect to pay something in the mid-$30s for the 228i, and roughly $10K more for the 235i. Of course, this being BMW, the optional adds will add up fast. We’d expect the majority of 2-Series sales cresting $40,000, and the 235i exceeding $50K. In other words, real money.

While we haven’t seen it in the metal, the overall shape offers a ‘flow’ the 1-Series would never obtain, even if flattened by an adjacent Ford Raptor. And while 2-Series proportions have grown relative to its 1-Series predecessor, they still seem tidy when compared to the just-released 4-Series. Its sheetmetal may – to borrow an ad term – appear un4gettable, but the 4’s newly bloated outline borders on the un4tunate. While awaiting an actual drive, it may be that ‘2’ is twice as good as ‘1’. But if you like the puckishness of BMW’s current small coupe, now’s the time to grab one.