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BMW 228i 2015 review

EXPERT RATING
7
Richard Blackburn road tests and reviews the BMW 228i with specs, fuel consumption and verdict.

Good things can and do come in small packages. BMW seems to understand the cliche better than most when it comes to building cars.

The previous generation 135i may not have been the prettiest thing to look at but it was a pearler of a pocket-rocket that made the M3 look ridiculously expensive.

The M235i coupe launched earlier this year was a variation on that clever theme.

Now there is a slightly more sedate, sensible and affordable alternative, the 228i. It sits between the ballistic M235i and entry level 220i, and may just be the sweet spot of the range.

Design

There’s nothing particularly striking about the 228i at first glance. It is well proportioned, with a sportier stance and more cohesive silhouette than the 1 Series hatch.

Inside, white leather seats lift what is a fairly dark and sombre cabin, with trademark orange instrumentation and a 6.5-inch screen sitting proud on the dash.

Accommodation in the rear seats is tight for larger adults and teens but not unbearable once front and rear occupants negotiate a settlement on respective legroom. The seats are a highlight — body hugging and firm but comfortable on longer journeys, while the small diameter, thick rimmed steering wheel gives the driving environment a sporty feel.

About town

Compact dimensions and good turning circle make it a breeze for nipping around narrow city streets and car parks but the lack of a rear camera on a circa-$65,000 car is just plain rude. A too-long options list also includes automatic emergency braking at low speeds and lane departure warning, as well as real-time traffic updates. Access to the rear is reasonably fuss-free. The speed limit device is handy for city driving, as is stop-start engine technology.

The 228i provides a much better balance between comfort and performance

On the road

If the design is uninspiring, the engineering of the 228i is the opposite. Nobody has ever doubted BMW’s ability to build cars that can scythe through corners better than the rest but the trade-off in the past was a ride that ranged from a bit firm to denture-rattling uncomfortable.

The 228i provides a much better balance between comfort and performance. It is still supremely responsive and agile through corners, with pin-sharp steering and great balance yet it is also comfortable and composed over inner-city corrugations and potholes.

The liveability factor extends to the engine and transmission combination. The smooth eight-speed transmission and punchy but refined 180kW four-cylinder turbo make for a civilised commute.

Switch to sport mode and the car comes alive, with sharper throttle response and gear shifts that keep the engine in its sweet spot for longer. BMW says it clocks the 0-100km/h sprint in just 5.7 seconds (as quick as some V8s) and uses just 6.3L/100km (less than some city runabouts).

Verdict

The 228i is let down by its price tag and lack of equipment but few can match it as a driver’s car.

It is wonderfully balanced, with precise steering and a drivetrain that can slip from comfortable cruiser to hot coupe in a heartbeat.

What it's got

Engine stop-start. Driving mode selection to sharpen gearshifts, throttle response and steering. Satnav, cruise control with auto braking, front and rear sensors.

What it hasn't

No reversing camera, blind spot monitoring, low-speed crash avoidance or auto parking. No spare (run-flats).

Ownership

Three-year, unlimited kilometre warranty is about par for the course. Service package for $1140 includes oil changes, filter replacements, spark plugs and brake fluid for 5 years/80,000km.

New model; Glass’s Guide predicts 56 per cent resale.

Pick of the range

The 228i is the 2 Series sweet spot. It is a viable performance alternative to the M235i and has enough oomph to justify the premium over the base model.

Pricing guides

$29,555
Based on 89 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$21,800
Highest Price
$42,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
M235i 3.0L, PULP, 6 SP MAN $40,900 – 52,360 2015 BMW 2 Series 2015 M235i Pricing and Specs
220i Luxury Line 2.0L, PULP, 8 SP AUTO $28,300 – 37,510 2015 BMW 2 Series 2015 220i Luxury Line Pricing and Specs
220i M-Sport 2.0L, PULP, 6 SP MAN $28,500 – 37,730 2015 BMW 2 Series 2015 220i M-Sport Pricing and Specs
228i Sport Line 2.0L, PULP, 8 SP AUTO $31,800 – 41,690 2015 BMW 2 Series 2015 228i Sport Line Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7
Pricing Guide

$21,800

Lowest price, based on 66 car listings in the last 6 months

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