BMW has touched up the full 2 Series range but you’ll be hard pressed to find exactly what has changed—and that’s perfect, because the 2 Series is one of the most handsome BMWs on the market right now.
To my mind’s eye, good BMWs have a certain balance within their range. As a one-time owner of an E46 325ci, I remember being drawn to its attractive, straightforward design. The 325ci had a dash more sportiness over the sedan, and then of course you had the relatively harsh look of the M3. But this was a balance, with me viewing my car as sitting in the middle. Each model within the E46 range just looked right for what it was.
There’s a lot of talk these days about whether or not BMW has lost its way in a mad dash for sales volume against its competitors; talk about how muted or uninteresting its product lineup has become. But I think it’s safe to exclude the 2 Series from any such present judgement.
Looking at the “facelifted” 2 Series here, I see a car that can be confident and stylish and handsome without being sporty in the 2 Series Cabriolet. It shows that BMW can still be sort of regal in its design language. The Coupe gets the sporty flare, but the design of the front bumper calls back sporty coupes of BMW past without feeling tired, and overall, the body is very clearly an improvement over the bendy-ness of the former 1 Series.
And the “new” M2 is essentially identical to what was before, but it snuggles into that classically aggressive, almost garish M-design language without going too over the top or losing the base identity of the car.
The 2 Series represents a reserved BMW that is lost with the 3 and 4 Series, where the desperation to differentiate from the last generation and compete in a tightening sales race leads to something that strikingly straddles boring and overreaching.
The base appearance of the 2 Series is the classic kidney grilles, good proportions and handsome, simple features, serving as the perfect foundation to support a traditionally balanced range of BMW coupes. Sure, this facelift pretty much only made LED headlights standard, but it’s a nice opportunity to reflect on just how kindly sweet the 2 Series is.