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Review: 2017 BMW 230i xDrive Is Best Entry-Level Performance Coupe

This week we drive the newly-named, refreshed 2017 BMW 230i xDrive Coupe. What makes it the best entry-level performance coupe for commuters?

The newly-refreshed 2017 BMW 230i Coupe is the entry model into the sports coupe segment. For those thinking about trying BMW to see if its a brand that’s right for you, the newly-refreshed 2 Series is a great place to start. The 230i xDrive Coupe is a great entry because it’s a good blend of sporty performance, fuel-efficiency and affordability if you don’t load it up with options. Here’s what we found out.

What’s new for 2017?

The “new” 2017 BMW 230i Coupe gets a new engine with a corresponding name change for the distinct model. It’s a rebadged 228i with upgrades that now becomes the 230i.

Standard features

The 2017 BMW 230i xDrive Coupe (35,150) comes standard with 17-inch aluminum wheels, automatic headlights, fog lights, automatic wipers, automatic dual-zone climate control, eight-way manual front seats, 60/40-split folding rear seat backs and a tilt-and-telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel. The standard electronics array includes Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, BMW's iDrive electronics interface with a 6.5-inch display, and a seven-speaker sound system with a CD player, HD radio and a USB port.


This 230i tester came loaded up with options including the Premium package ($2,950) that bundles power-folding and heated outside mirrors, auto-dimming side and rearview mirrors, ambient exterior and interior lighting, keyless entry and ignition, 10-way power front sport seats, driver-seat memory functions and satellite radio.

The Track Handling package ($2,300) added 18-inch wheels, upgraded brakes, adaptive suspension and variable-ratio steering. The Cold Weather package ($700) included headlight washers, heated front seats and heated steering wheel. The Driver Assistance package ($950) adds front and rear parking sensors and a rearview camera.

Other options included Oyster Dakota Leather ($1,450), Valencia Orange exterior paint ($700), Adaptive xenon headlights ($900), and Navigation ($1,950). Total MSRP including destination: $50,070.

Interior highlights

Inside, the BMW 230i features a stylish cabin and top-notch materials that reminded us of the BMW 4 Series. For a sports coupe, the cabin is spacious if you are riding up front. You will find ample space and the 8-way power front seats including the adjustable steering wheel gave us plenty of adjustment to find the perfect driving position.


This tester came with the Oyster Dakota Leather that gave this 230i an extra level of luxury to sport front seats. We slid into the soft leather, got comfortable and couldn’t wait to see how the coupe preforms.

Before we set out, we checked out the BMW iDrive infotainment system that’s used to call up various settings on the 6.5-inch display. It responds quickly to inputs, though the control knob takes getting used to and is harder to use than similar systems from competing manufacturers.

The 230i is a compact coupe and its meant for the driver and front passenger. The cabin is well laid out and it's driver-focused making it easy to live with for a daily commuter. The rear seat is small and useful for kids not adults. The rear seat has the ability to split and fold making it useful for carrying extra cargo. The trunk offers up 13.8 cubic feet of space, about average for a compact coupe.

Engine and fuel mileage specs

The 230i is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that produces 248 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard on the coupe, and BMW's xDrive all-wheel-drive system is available as an option that came on this tester.

The all-wheel-drive 230i gets EPA/DOT fuel mile estimates of 24/33 city/highway mpg and 27 combined mpg. All 2 Series models are equipped with an automatic stop-start function, which shuts off the engine when you're stopped to save fuel. Automatic-transmission cars also have a launch control feature for full-speed launches off the line for driving enthusiasts.

Driving dynamics

When we got behind the wheel of the 230i, we realized the small sports coupe is for driving enthusiasts who want something that pegs the fun-to-drive meter. The 2.0-liter’s 248hp doesn’t sound like much, but in this smaller package, it delivers impressive acceleration lively enough to satisfy the vast majority of buyers. We thought the eight-speed automatic transmission is smooth-shifting and is a good choice for urban commuters. We had to sit in heavy traffic this week and it’s a pleasure, but the stop-start feature does get a bit annoying. BMW still offers the six-speed manual gearbox for those who like to do their own rowing.

The maneuverability of the 230i makes it an ideal city commuter. It offers up practical advantages in everyday driving, including the ability to weave through traffic and squeeze into tight parking spaces. You won’t be late for work in this performance coupe. Go to Page 2.

The 230i is a sleeper in ordinary driving, but once we took it into the mountains for some twisty curve fun, is when the coupe came alive. The steering is precise and the sport-tuned suspension grabs the pavement and leans very little in tight corners. The combination of a civilized ride quality on the road and crisp handling in the corners make this compact car everything you expect from BMW. With xDrive all-weather capability, you won’t need to leave it sitting when the weather turns bad.


For those thinking about trying BMW to see if its a brand that’s right for you, the newly-refreshed 230i is a great place to start your search. The 2017 BMW 230i xDrive Coupe is a great entry because it offers a good blend of sporty performance, fuel-efficiency and affordability. But if you start adding a long list of available options. you can drive the affordable price up considerably.

Photo credit: BMW USA