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Published Date: 25/11/2015

Which BMW 2 series is for you

In the last couple of years BMW has returned to a standard it last used in the 1990s.

By naming its regular saloon and estate series with an odd number, and the alternate body styles with an even one rather than branding every body style with the same model name the marque is able to compartmentalise its range better without overcomplicating it.

Amongst these new options is the 2 Series – but when it comes to it, which should you buy?

BMW 2Series

The first choice is body shape. The 2 Series comes in four forms, with Coupe and Convertible bodies for the sporting amongst us, and the Active Tourer and Gran Tourer mini-MPVs. Aside from the body itself there’s an immediate difference between them, with the two-door cars being based on the rear-wheel drive 1 Series and the two Tourers a derivative of the front-wheel drive MINI.

Ultimately it’s the amount of space on offer that will sell the Tourers to you. Both give significantly more headroom than the svelte two-doors, with the Gran Tourer even having 7 seats. The Active Tourer gives 468 litres of load space, while in five-seat mode the Gran Tourer can fit 560 litres.

You’ll find that the range of engines differs slightly too. An additional 1.5 litre diesel – the 216d – is available in both, offering 74.3mpg combined, along with the 225xe PHEV, unique to the Active Tourer. This hybrid model combines a 1.5 litre, three-cylinder petrol engine with a battery pack that provides an electric-only range of 25 miles. Also unique to the Active Tourer is the 2-litre petrol 225i which, exclusively paired with BMW’s four-wheel drive xDrive system, gives the car an alarming turn of pace – 0-60mph in 6.3s!

Should space not be an issue, the 2 Series Coupe and Convertible will be more enticing prospects, bringing even more of the excellent driving manners for which BMW is famous. Where the models use similar engines – the 136hp 218i or the 190hp 220d – the two-door cars are over a second quicker to 60mph.

There is a handful of differences between the two - that xDrive four-wheel drive system isn’t available on the Convertible model at all for example – but by and large the Convertible is just a very airy version of the Coupe, right the way up the range to the impressive M235i. Of course there is also a minor weight penalty to the Convertible, which reduces acceleration and increases emissions slightly, but that’s a typical price to pay for rooflessness.

If ultimate performance is your goal, the choice has already been made for you. The BMW M2, with a 370hp six cylinder engine, comes in coupe form only!

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