There’s still some classic BMW left. While most of BMW’s range is moving towards new design languages and large crossovers, the new BMW 230i is here for the purists. It avoids the massive grilles and bigger bodies on offer by other new BMWs, combining the best of the new BMW with the classic 2 Series that drivers know and love.
And, it succeeds. The BMW 230i is a ton of fun to drive, looks awesome in both the new and old colors, and makes a serious case for itself as the compact coupe to beat. Note, there are a few different 2 Series cars in the U.S. — the coupe and the four-door. They’re pretty much unrelated. We’re reviewing the 230i, which is a coupe.
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- Classic design
- Fun drive
- Quick acceleration
- Excellent handling
2022 BMW 230i exterior
The 2022 BMW 230i proves that BMW hasn’t completely forgotten about its past. It looks like the BMWs that you’ve come to love over the past few years. But there’s still a lot about the car that’s new.
For starters, the car is built on the same platform as the 3 Series and 4 Series, and the result is that it’s a little longer than the 2021 model. It’s also quite a bit heavier, and 2.6-inches wider, which actually helps make it a little meaner.
The front of the car looks excellent. It’s got the classic BMW kidney grille, avoiding the oversized grilles used in new BMWs like the new 4 Series. I really like the look of the grille on this car — I’m still getting used to the new grille on other cars.
The car generally looks very sleek, with nicely curved lines and a long hood at the front. The added length also means there’s a slightly longer trunk, which helps make it a little more practical. On the back, you’ll get a nice subtle spoiler, with dual exhaust tips, which again, looks great.
Our car has the M Sport package, which gives it a slightly different side grille design at the front, and the sportier wheel designs. We’ve got the 19-inch M Double-Spoke wheels, which I really like. And, the care we’re reviewing is in Portimao Blue, which looks great.
The BMW 230i may be a little bigger than previous models, but generally, it looks sporty and sleek. I find that the changes to the car are good ones.
2022 BMW 230i interior
The interior of the car is much more similar to other new BMWs. That, however, is a good thing. I love the interior of new BMWs, down to the premium stitched leather and the well-designed controls. The car offers three-zone automatic climate control, so your rear-seat passengers can make their own climate decisions.
Speaking of rear passengers, there is some room at the back for them. According to BMW, there’s a little more room in the back for 2022, but frankly, this car still isn’t built to carry more than two people long distances. The rear seats are perfectly fine for shorter drives, but you won’t get a ton of legroom back there. I’m 5’11”, and was able to sit in the rear seat perfectly fine, but unable to really move much.
Back up at the front, you’ll get features like wireless charging for one person, with BMWs typical controls, like the joystick shifter, drive mode buttons, and more. There’s also a nice deep glove compartment, and the seats are heated — though not cooled.
The middle of the back seat can fold down, which is very handy. It means that you can thread through your golf clubs or skis without really impacting the seat room at the back. It’s especially handy given the fact that while the trunk does have enough room for day-to-day use, it’s not huge. The trunk has around 10 cu-ft of space.
I generally find the interior of the 230i to be comfortable and premium. That’s not surprising though.
2022 BMW 230i infotainment
At the front of the BMW 230i, the car comes standard with an 8.8-inch infotainment display and an analog instrument cluster, but you can upgrade to a 10.3-inch display and a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, which may be worth it for some drivers.
The infotainment system isn’t built on BMW’s new iDrive 8 interface — instead, the car gets the older iDrive 7. That’s not a huge issue — the car system is still relatively easy to navigate. And, it supports both Android Auto and CarPlay, both through a wireless connection. Generally, the screen is bright and crisp, and the interface was relatively responsive, thankfully.
The digital instrument cluster, I think, is a worthy upgrade. It allows drivers to tweak the information that they’ll see at any given moment, and adds things like mapping information. There’s an optional heads-up display too, which can also show your speed, upcoming bumpy roads, and more. It definitely comes in handy, but I find the heads-up display to be less enticing as an upgrade than the digital instrument cluster.
Generally, the 230i’s iDrive 7 interface is easy to get used to. It’s not going to blow any of the competition out of the water, and I would rely on CarPlay or Android Auto if possible. But it still works perfectly fine.
2022 BMW 230i safety and driver assist
The BMW 230i is a driver’s car, and as a result, it offers less in the way of smart driver-assist features than some of BMWs larger and more expensive cars. The car does offer a lane-keeping assistant, which kicked in once or twice while I had the car, and there’s obviously a basic cruise control. On top of that, you’ll get a front collision warning, and a 360-degree sensor view when parking. Unfortunately, it’s not camera-based. But if you’re looking for something with more autonomous features, it’s worth looking elsewhere.
2022 BMW 230i performance
The 2022 BMW 230i is heavier and bigger than its predecessor, but thankfully, it’s still nimble, sporty, and an absolute blast to drive.
The 230i is rear-wheel drive, with a 2.0L I4 engine, and an 8-speed automatic transmission. Unlike past years, there’s no manual option here. Upgrade to the M240i, and you’ll get the six-cylinder engine that offers a little more grunt. But, the 230i is still plenty fun for most.
I found that the car is easy to handle, and very tight around corners. The suspension is a little stiff, but still well-tuned and boasts a smooth ride that still allows you to feel close to the road.
The engine isn’t necessarily as aggressive as the M240i or some other options, but it still offers a little more oomph than you might expect. You’ll get from 0-60 in a little over 4 seconds, which is still plenty quick.
Basically, the car is sporty and fun, and while it’s not quite on par with the M240i in terms of performance, it’s more than quick enough for day-to-day driving. Plus, it strikes more of a balance between comfort and performance, which actually makes it a better option for some.
The 2022 BMW 230i is a worthy continuation of the 2 Series. It adds some modern features that improve the comfort and driving experience while retaining the basics that make it a 2 Series. Sure, you can’t get it with a manual transmission anymore, and it’s a little bigger than previous models, but the car is still sporty and fun and serves as an excellent option for those that want a sports car to drive day-to-day.
If you’re looking for an entry-level sports coupe, then look no further than the 2022 BMW 230i. The car strikes an excellent balance between sportiness and comfort, without breaking the bank.
Should I buy the 2022 BMW 230i?
Yes, but only if you’re looking for a small coupe.