2022 BMW 230i Coupe Review - Sharp In Many Ways
How a car looks is very subjective, so I avoid it in my reviews normally. However, the new 2022 BMW 230i Coupe is so sharp-looking, that it must be mentioned. The car’s cabin-rearward design is striking in profile and really stands in contrast to the pufferfish “gran coupe” option so many automakers seem to want to force upon car buyers today.
Related Story: BMW i4 M50 Review - BMW Regains The Sports Sedan High Ground
2022 BMW 230i Coupe - What Is It?
The new 230i is a two-plus-two coupe with two doors. It can seat two comfortably, and if you need to carry two more passengers in the back you make it work with a bit of gymnastics on the part of the rear seat occupants and by pulling the front seats forward past where you normally would set them.
The 230i is a rear-drive platform, meaning it was designed in the classic way. Engine up front, driven wheels in the back. Many BMW shoppers, fans, and owners feel that this is the best way for a car to be arranged. It helps with balance and makes the car handle in a way most sports car drivers prefer.
2022 BMW 230i Coupe - What Powers It? What’s Its Fuel Economy?
The BMW 230i is powered by a four-cylinder turbocharged gasoline engine with no hybrid or plug-in hybrid assist. It provides 295 lb-ft of torque at a low 1,550 RPMs and its peak horsepower rating at its redline is 255 hp. The power is transmitted to the wheels via a geared automatic transmission and paddle shifters can help you take control of the gear changes should you wish. There are multiple drive modes including Sport and Comfort.
Fuel efficiency is an estimated 29 MPG Combined according to the EPA. However, premium fuel is required (not suggested) and therefore, the 230i has an annual fuel cost of $2,500. This makes it a very expensive vehicle to fuel. BMW’s larger electric i4 eDrive40 has a $600 per year energy cost. Thus, over 15 years of ownership, the 230i will cost its owner $28,500 more in energy to run.
2022 BMW 230i Coupe - How Does It Drive?
The 230i drives fantastically on twisty back roads. Steering is super-direct, what many call "sharp," meaning that a small input results in a quick, dramatic turn of the vehicle. This BMW would make a great track-day car. The suspension is tight, but normal bumps over paved roads are more than tolerable. The car is very low to the ground, particularly in front. Not a problem, just be aware it isn’t your cabin getaway vehicle. If you live in a community with speed bumps, you've been warned.
On the highway, the ultra-direct steering means the car is a bit darty. You need to steer it at every moment to stay centered in your lane, and the car is sensitive to the crown of the road and pavement of differing layers. It will turn itself a bit if you are not attentive. However, the car is extremely smooth on the highway as well, and also quiet, despite wearing performance tires. If you like to remain fully engaged in your driving at every second, this is the car for you. One "downside" is that this car has a very low sensation of speed. 80 MPH on a lonely road feels like 50. The polar opposite of a Miata.
2022 BMW 230i Coupe - Infotainment and Interior Features
The 230i has a very simple-to-operate infotainment screen that accepts touch inputs. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are wireless, and in our testing worked perfectly. The head-up display incorporates the turns from Google Maps, keeping your eyes forward.
The sport seats up front are comfortable and adjust in important ways, including allowing you to vary the amount of side bolstering. We found the 230i to be “classic BMW” but with modern conveniences. Ideal for its mission in all possible ways.
2022 BMW 230i Coupe - What’s It Cost?
The 2022 BMW 230i theoretically starts at around $38,000. However, add in the sporty bits that make sense with this car, and also the normal creature comforts you’d expect from any premium car, and the price of our tester was $48,945 including destination, but before any added dealer costs. BMW includes maintenance for three years in the purchase price.
2022 BMW 230i Coupe - What’s Missing
A stick-shift manual transmission would seem like an option some buyers might like in this type of car. Subaru, Toyota, and Nissan all offer cars with this configuration that offer manual transmissions. There is no spare tire, and the tires on our tester were not run-flat capable.
2022 BMW 230i Coupe - Other Options
If we were considering a BMW 230i, we might cross-shop a Toyota GR86 or Subaru BRZ if our budget was tight, and the Toyota GR Supra for sure. Nissan’s new Z would be a great vehicle to compare. Mercedes-Benz may also have a model or two that is worthy of comparison. These are the under $50K rear-drive 2+2 coupes that come to mind.
2022 BMW 230i Coupe - Conclusion
If you want a premium rear-drive small coupe with a gasoline engine and automatic transmission, this is one to carefully consider. As we transition to all-electric vehicles, the window of opportunity to own such a vehicle is starting to close.
John Goreham is a long-time New England Motor Press Association member and recovering engineer. John's interest in EVs goes back to 1990 when he designed the thermal control system for an EV battery as part of an academic team. After earning his mechanical engineering degree, John completed a marketing program at Northeastern University and worked with automotive component manufacturers, in the semiconductor industry, and in biotech. In addition to Torque News, John's work has appeared in print in dozens of American news outlets and he provides reviews to many vehicle shopping sites. You can follow John on TikTok @ToknCars, on Twitter, and view his credentials at Linkedin
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Image of 2022 230i courtesy of BMW