I'll admit it, I like luxury compact sport sedans. Which is understandable because what's not to like? They're fast, comfortable, and offer great handling. Even the best SUVs are ponderous and heavy by comparison. All the premium brands offer good options, but BMW has really hit the sweet spot with the 2020 228i xDrive.
BMW calls this model a Gran Coupe because of the slope of the rear roofline and the short trunk area in the back. But you still get four doors, so it's more of a coupe-like sedan. The practical result of this is that the back seat is really tight. At six feet tall, I was just barely able to get back there, so consider your needs accordingly. The larger BMW 3-Series may be a better choice if you carry adult passengers regularly. Not only is the 3-series a full three inches longer, its traditional sedan roofline offers more space for adults in the back seat.
Under the hood, the 228i is powered by BMW's 2.0-liter twin-scroll turbocharged four-cylinder engine. This powerplant provides 228 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. The 228i pairs that engine with an 8-speed automatic transmission with all-wheel-drive as the only driveline option. However, you won't miss the manual transmission. BMW's automatic is smooth and geared for performance. You have paddle shifters if you feel the need to take control, but the 228i will hit 60 MPH in six seconds flat on its own.
Inside, the 228i offers a pleasant and spacious experience for the driver and front seat passenger. The seats are well-designed and comfortable, and the cabin is modern and laid out well. The driver dash is all-digital, which makes it configurable, and the infotainment screen is mounted up high near your natural field of vision. The controller is placed down on the console. That still takes some time and attention to get used to, but once you have it down the system works well.
On the road, the 228i really shows the care that went into the car. It's quiet, fast, and delivers crisp responses. The 2-series platform is based on a front-wheel-drive design, which is new and unusual for BMW, but with the standard xDrive all-wheel-drive on the 228i, performance enthusiasts should not balk at this model. In Portland, buyers will appreciate the all-wheel-drive in every season.
Competitors to the 2-Series include the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class and the Audi A3/S3. We'd rank the BMW above the Audi and on par with the Mercedes. BMW is really at its best with small sedans, and you should experience this vehicle and the related 2-Series two-door coupe before you make any buying decisions.
2020 BMW 228i xDrive Gran Coupe
Base price: $37,500
Price as tested: $44,150
Type: Compact sedan
Engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder (228 hp, 258 lbs-ft)
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
EPA estimated mileage: 27/33
Overall length: 178.5 inches
Curb weight: 3517 pounds
Final assembly: Leipzig, Germany
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