BMW has introduced a new compact 228i Gran Coupe, and it is an affordable way to get into a performance-oriented BMW. Unlike some other entry level cars, this car is designed to offer everyday usability with agility and handling that made BMW famous along with a host of technology features that new car buyers demand.

The BMW 228i xDrive model is powered by the 2.0-liter four-cylinder version of BMW’s “B” modular engine family, delivering an output of 228 hp at 5,000 rpm. Torque is transferred through the standard 8-speed Sport automatic transmission and BMW xDrive all-wheel drive system to the wheels. The 228i xDrive Gran Coupe accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 6.0 seconds and reaches an electronically limited top speed of 130 mph when the vehicle is equipped with all-season tires and 151 mph when equipped with performance tires.

The new BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe adopts technology from the BMW i3 in the form of the near-actuator wheel slip limitation (ARB) system. This control system is said to improve traction when cornering or accelerating on wet or icy conditions, and allows wheel slip to be controlled, precisely and quickly. ARB uses a slip controller positioned directly in the engine control unit rather than in the control unit for the DSC (Dynamic Stability Control) system. Reducing the signal path distance means that information is relayed three times quicker, while wheel spin is brought under control with much quicker reaction times. Near-actuator wheel-slip limitation also works closely with the DSC system to significantly reduce power understeer without the need for corrective DSC inputs.

ARB is assisted in its task by a yaw distribution system called BMW Performance Control. Standard on the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe, this feature increases agility by intelligently applying the brakes at the wheels on the inside of the turn before the wheel spin occurs. This suppresses any initial understeer and gives the car a neutral steering behavior. We did not get a chance to try the system in wet or icy conditions, but in the dry the 228i’s handling is far from an M2, which is probably the most fun BMW model available today. The 228i does very well for the average driver who does not reach the limits. Push the car hard and you will get a ton of understeer. The positive side of that is that the car is extremely safe as you approach the limits and is perfect for entry-level drivers.

The body of the Gran Coupe makes use of aluminum for the hood and trunk and high-strength steel for other body components. This material mix keeps weight down and at the same time giving body structure high levels of torsional stiffness. Standard bracing in the vehicle’s engine compartment and rear suspension area contributes to the vehicle’s rigidity. This rigidity translates into a solid structure that feels like a premium car during everyday driving over potholes and rough pavement. The suspension is able to absorb everything and provides the driver with confidence.

The 228i comes equipped with standard 17-inch wheels with 225/45R17 all-season run flat tires. Our car with the M Sport package came with 225/40-18 Bridgestone Turanza LS100 all season tires all around which were very quiet and smooth but did not provide as much grip as we hoped.

Our favorite part of the 228i was the fuel economy. This car is very efficient especially when you consider that it is not a slow, uninspiring car. Being able to run 0-60 mph in 6 seconds would mean the car was a gas guzzler in the past. The 228i puts that notion on its head because it gets a 23 mpg rating in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. We did way better than that on the freeway and were able to get over 43 mpg if we maintained 55 mph. At 65 – 70 mph, we did about 38 mpg, which we found to be superb.

The 228i Gran Coupe is a great way to enter the world of BMW ownership at an affordable price. Another standard feature is that BMW covers all of the maintenance for the first three years, which includes oil changes. At starting price of $37,700 it is about the same price as a top of the line Toyota Camry and most buyers would like to tell their friends that they own a BMW rather than a Toyota. Our car had a few options that raised the price to $48,495 but if you can keep the options low, you will have a bargain on your hands.

Specifications:

Engine:2.0-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder
Horsepower:228 @ 5,000 to 6,000 rpm
Torque:258 @ 14,50 to 4,500 rpm
Front Suspension:McPherson strut
Rear Suspension:Multilink
Transmission:Eight-speed manual automatic
Axle Ratio:2.96:1
Curb Weight:3,534 lbs.
Base MSRP:$37,700
Images courtesy of Marie Adams and BMW

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