Loyal fans of “The Ultimate Driving Machine” who have found that they’re actually not all that thrilled with the direction BMW has taken in recent years, have a chance to change their minds at last.
Those who have felt slighted, though, can now take heart with the new BMW 2 Series which in effect is the name for the 1 Series Coupe.
It’s a rear-wheel-drive, two-door coupe that’s supposed to focus on the sporty side of driving more than the 1 Series hatchback it’s based on.
BMW is launching the 2 Series with three engines: the diesel 220d (£25,865) and a two petrol version – the 220i priced at around £25,000 and the range-topping M235i which will set you back just over £34,000.
The higher spec version of the 2 Series, the M235i is just the right size for a little sports car, and it feels responsive, taut and eager, the way a BMW should.
The M235i is a killer powertrain consisting of a 320-hp turbocharged straight-six-cylinder engine mated to either an eight-speed automatic, or a six-speed manual.
Although this is not an all-out M-car from BMW’s in-house performance tuning stations, the M235i brings a sport-oriented suspension, brakes, and super sport tyres.
Though it feels civilised at low speeds, push the motor hard and it sounds terrific, with a distinctive six-cylinder howl that just gets louder as you rev the engine beyond 4000rpm. The M235i is seriously quick, too, with 0-62mph taking just 5.0 seconds (4.8 if you opt for the excellent automatic ‘box).
The beautifully finished cabin features the “M” badge here and there, while the sculpted seats provide immense support. Though the space up front is fine, the rear seats are very tight.
Smaller in size than the 3 Series, the M235i brings all the latest BMW infotainment system features, and quirks, managed by the iDrive controller and viewed on a clear but small 6.5-inch colour screen.
Standard equipment includes 18-inch alloys, climate control, xenon headlights, rear parking sensors, Bluetooth and a USB socket. You also get a DAB radio, although have to pay extra if you want a sat-nav.