It's slightly odd that a car that looks so instantly a winning proposition comes with so few direct rivals. What else is there that offers this sort of punchiness, in a coupe body that sends drive to the rear wheels? Nissan's 370Z is a bigger, heavier thing, the Toyota GT 86 and Subaru BRZ twins more delicate and without the same options the throttle pedal in the 2 Series will afford. Prices are quite reasonable, with the 218i starting at around £30,000, which is similar to the amount required for a rival Toyota GT 86 but the BMW features much greater torque fitted as standard. Trims run through SE, Sport and M Sport.
BMW wants around £45,000 for the M240i, but that still makes it one of the better performance car bargains. An M2 isn't, costing the best part of £53,000. We think an M240i is all you really need. Equipment here runs to a Nevada leather interior, both AUX-in and USB as well as a stereo that can play MP3s from CD, a multifunction steering wheel with a speed limiter mode, air conditioning, door sill finishers with M240i designation, a short-shift gear lever and a whole host of safety kit including DSC+ stability control, xenon headlights, a tyre pressure warning system and dynamic brake lights. That excellent ZF eight-speed automatic gearbox is offered as an option.