Back in the day, BMW used to make small cars that were really fun to drive. The 228i captures that spirit. The 228i is part of the 2-series, obviously, the entry-level sedan for BMW. The Gran Coupe is the four-door sedan and is new for 2020. In a departure for BMW, the 228i comes standard with front-wheel-drive—the first such model sold in the U.S.
Before this year, the 2-series was only available as a two-door coupe or convertible.
The 228i xDrive starts at $37,500. If you want more power, you can spring for the M235i xDrive which starts at $45,500. Prices can escalate quickly with packages and options.
The 228i is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 228 horsepower and 258 pound-ft of torque, paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The M235i also gets a 2.0 turbocharged four-cylinder engine but it cranks out 301 hp and 332 pound-feet.
The 228i drives, well, like a BMW. Acceleration is quick, steering is responsive. Touch the accelerator and you’re off. BMW says it can go from zero to 60 mpg in six seconds. When pressed, you’ll notice a little turbo lag but it isn’t noticeable in everyday driving situations. While purists will argue that the handling isn’t as sharp as a rear-wheel-drive Bimmer, it’s still pretty darn fun. And having BMW’s xDrive all-wheel-drive system is always nice to have here in Oregon where driving conditions can change in a heartbeat. The 228i’s relatively small size makes it easy to maneuver in busy city traffic and cramped parking spaces. The exhaust notes sound good, too, even though they are partially pumped through the audio system speakers.
EPA ratings for my tester are 23 mpg city and 33 mpg highway with a combined rating of 27. I got 28 during my week with a mix of city and highway driving.
The cabin will also feel familiar to BMW drivers. It has a driver-centric layout and materials are upscale. This is a small car so there’s not a ton of space. Larger adults may feel a little cramped in the front row, and the second row is best suited for kids or smaller adults.
The 228i comes with the same tech as other BMW models including an 8.8-inch infotainment system with touchscreen and navigation that’s angled toward the driver. Apple CarPlay is standard and Android Auto will become standard later this year.
The BMW Active Driving Assistant is standard which includes adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning and mitigation, and blind-spot monitoring.
Available features include keyless entry, Harmon/Kardon audio system, satellite radio, wireless device charging and panoramic sunroof.
The iDrive infotainment system takes getting used to. Its controls are located between the two front seats and some functions require you to go through menus and submenus. At least there are some redundant buttons and knobs for volume and other routine functions.
Trunk space is good for a small sedan with 15 cubic feet of storage. The rear seats fold so you can accommodate larger and/or bulkier items.
Fun to drive
Lots of standard and available tech
Standard Apple CarPlay
Price can escalate quickly with packages and options
Android Auto won’t be standard until later this year
Interior can be tight for larger adults
My tester starts at $37,500. Storm Bay Metallic Paint is $1,200. Mocha Perforated Dakota Leather is $1,450. The M Sport Package with M Sport Steering and rear spoiler is $4,000. The Premium Package is $3,050 and includes a heated steering wheel, keyless entry, panoramic moonroof, lumbar support, heated front seat, adaptive full LED lights, ambient lighting, head-up display, satellite radio, Connected Package Pro, and Live Cockpit Pro including Navigation. Remote engine start is $300. Destination charge is $995 bringing the grand total to $48,495.
The 228i will appeal to anyone who wants a smaller and less expensive BMW without having to sacrifice the performance and features you want and expect in a Bimmer.